Another of Trump's Trademark "Complete Lies"


Daniel Dale on Twitter, with a fact check of a typically trumped-up tale from Hair Furor:

Whenever Donald comes out with something like this -- a detailed fiction made up of whole cloth -- the replies inevitably include people asking "where does he get this from?" or "does he have a source?" or questions about the specific details.

These might be read as sarcastic statements of disbelief, but in my reading, they're often good faith questions from people who aren't quite prepared to write off the statement as a complete lie. I back up this observation by the fact that a number of respondents are also questioning his mental state, trying to attribute the detailed but false story to delusion, dementia, etc.

It's not that they trust Trump to be honest. It's that they can't quite bring themselves to believe he would make the whole thing up. Those details? $2 million price tag, ten stars, the schedule change... "where is he getting this?" is the question because the assumption is that he must be getting it from somewhere.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but he gets it from the same place all B.S. comes from, which is to say... not exactly the horse's mouth, if you know what I mean, but certainly another barnyard orifice.

The idea that additional details make a story more credible is one of those pieces of folk wisdom that have kept con artists in business since time immemorial. Like a firm handshake or steady eye contact, it's something that is easy enough to fake for anyone who wants to put one over on those who fancy themselves a discerning sort.

What makes a story credible is corroborating details, details that can be investigated individually and independently of the whole. Just throwing out numbers and figures to make a story more detailed might make it sound better, but it doesn't make it any truer.

Trump's vividly detailed stories are 100% made up. He adds details because he knows they'll make the story more compelling, because he knows they grant him an unearned air of credibility. $2 million. 10 stars. Details, numbers... big numbers.

The Onion had a classic article way back in 2002 entitled "Zing! I Just Got You With Another One Of My Trademark 'Complete Lies'" that I think is worth keeping in mind when parsing Trump's stories.

 Too often I see people trying to figure out what the kernel of truth at the core of something Trump just made up is, or trying to figure out some kind of horrible double-meaning where something he said would be arguably technically true. 

Now, Trump may have proposed surrounding the country with a snake-infested moat and a wall of electrified spikes…

…but he's not a Republic serial villain, no matter how Republican or villainous he may be.

He's not being clever, he's not playing word games, he's not using half-truths. Trump's first big con on the public was bluffing his way onto the Forbes 400 list, and he did that with complete lies, knowing that his interviewers would know that he was lying but also counting on the very human tendency to assume that a story with a lot of details must have some truth behind it.

There are situations where it's worth trying to parse out exactly what Trump means by something or where he got fixated on an idea from.

But sometimes -- often -- he's just lying. 

It's not deeper than that.

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