DonkeyHotey / Flickr trump long nose caricatrue...
DonkeyHotey / Flickr

The idea that the White House might use off hours to dump, not just some possibly controversial policy change,  but attacks on whole groups of Americans, the departure of entire governmental advisory boards, or a suggestion that we might stir up a little nuclear war, has become frighteningly common place. This week, the Justice Department decided to get in on the info dump game, letting slip on Friday evening that — as everyone has known from the start — the accusations that Donald Trump leveled against Barack Obama are simply a lie.

The U.S. Justice Department said it had no evidence to support the unsubstantiated claim made in March by President Donald Trump that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.

What’s really amazing is how often the basic framework of that statement can be reused. Drop the Justice Department, cut out the part about Obama and the phrase at the end describing the particulars of this claim. What’s left is a phrase so useful, everyone should just go ahead and create a macro: “People who know the truth say there’s no evidence to support the unsubstantiated claim made by Donald Trump.” 

The frequency with which Trump fires off wild, fact-free statements is amazing. But it’s not the most amazing feature of the national discourse. The amazing thing is how quickly we’ve come to accept the idea that Trump can lie about everything from birth certificates to uranium sales to claims of wiretapping, he can just … make it up. And that’s okay.

The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division “confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described” by tweets from Trump posted on March 4, the department said in a court filing in Washington.

Trump not only lied, he convinced surrogates in Congress to support those lies. Surrogates in the media repeated those lies. Fox News made whole programs based on those lies The idea that Trump was wiretapped long ago became accepted wisdom among Trump supporters. 

Why does Trump lie about big things, about small things, about everything in between? Because lies are good for him. His supporters rush to defend his statements, and there are zero consequences. Often, Trump simply returns to repeating the same lie that’s already been thoroughly debunked. And why not? 

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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