I began to write about this the other day, but a couple of other Outlandish TrumpStories (tm) got in the way. But now I can jump back into the breech.
On Monday, Kellyanne Conway, the Trump administration Explainer-in-Chief appeared on the CNN show New Day when host Chris Cuomo referenced Trump infamously having mocked the disabled reporter during a campaign rally. Ms. Conway responded, “That is not what he did and he has said that 1,000 times. Why can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”
When Cuomo pointed out that no matter how many times he denied it, even if a million times, people have seen the video repeatedly and understand quite clearly that he's ridiculing the man's disabiity. To which the Explainer-in-Chief came back with a statement even more stunningly unbelievable than her previous one --
“Why is everything taken at face value? You can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on this? And he’s telling you what was in his heart, you always want to go with what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.”
To start with, as Mr. Cuomo pointed out, it doesn't matter how many times Trump has felt caught in his own own words and actions and tried to deny what everyone saw. (And for the rrecord, no, it hasn't been 1,000 times. It's been about five. And yes, I know she was just using an expression. It's just that "five" isn't all that many, and 1,000 gives the imipression that the poor man has been hounded so unfairly.) Repeating a lie 1,000 times doesn't suddenly make the lie a truth. It just becomes The Big Lie, which became the German standard in the 1930s -- say a lie enough times until people believe it. So, sorry, Trump can deny what he did to the end of his days...but he did it. And we know he did it. And he not only knows he did it, but you can see him relishing doing it.
But it's her second quote that should go down in legend. Let's break it down.
"Why is everything taken at face value?"
Because that's how human beings do judge things. Words actually do matter. It's how we communicate. Yes, there are subtleties and ironies of expression, but we can see those and hear those and include them in our judgments at face value, as well. People grasp things like dripping sarcasm and factor it into their assessments. And sometimes if that is done improperly and the subteties slip through the cracks, that all the more explains why it's so important to be clear and allow things to be taken at face value. But far more to the point, it's all the more the reason why people take what a President of the United States says at face value. Or a President-Elect. Because his words are critical and meaningful and seriously, actually, truly matter. His words fly around the world in an instant, and are heard in lands that have different cultures and different languages and different traditions, so hidden meanings tend to be lost -- which is why it's necessary to take things at face value. "This is what the President said" is a standard. Because he's The Most Power Man in the World. And one word taken wrongly can cause a war or lead to disaster.
"You can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on this?"
Nope, sorry. We can't. He's been on the campaign trail for close to two years, and his "benefit of the doubt" chits are long-since all used up. What with demeaning Mexicans, and calling for laws against Muslims, and claiming he had evidence that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and deameaning Gold Star families, and joking about sexually assaulting woman, and calling his Democratic opponent "crooked" who should be locked up, and encouraging thugs at his rallies by offering to pay for their lawyers if arrested, and insisting that President Obama founded ISIS -- and then saying he was just being sarcastic and then saying he meant it, and saying women should have punishments for abortions, and blatantly lying about known facts, and on and on on on, Trump is SO far past the experation date for benefit of the doubt for what he supposedly oh-so-kindly "really meant" that the milk is not only curdled but turned to hard cheese. We know what he meant. Doubt doesn't even enter in to it..
"And he’s telling you what was in his heart,"
See, that's the other problem. He doesn't have to tell us what's in his heart. We know what's in his heart. Because we've seen what's in his heart. And his heart is really ugly. It demeans minorities, it encourages racsists, it sexually assults women, it encourages violence, it threatens the press, it divides people, it cheats on his wives, it relishes revenge, it views those who disagree as enemies, and -- yes -- it ridicules the disabled. That's one heck of an ugly, cruel, vindictive heart.
"You always want to go with what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart."
Yes, that's what we always want to go with. Correct. You should have figured that out by now. This is one of those times you just want to drop your jaw and say to Ms. Conway, "Are you serious???!" And then burst out laughing. Who'd have thought she could have up with a topper after all the other inanitiy. Indeed, that is always what we always will always want to go with. That's how people mostly really do communitate with one another, most especially when they speak -- with what comes out of mouths. With words. We can hear words. We can read words. We can interprete words. We can have a record of words. If Trump wants to try interpretative dance or charades, we'll have to give that a go, but it will cause so many problems. We can't see what's in a person heart, that's hidden from us and is open only to pure speculation. And most especially when someone is president or trying to be president, "speculating" what the person means is a Really Truly Horrifically Terrible Thing. We judge a person, thouogh, by the actions -- that's when we see if their words match up, or see at that point what was in their heart, because they showed us. And as I said, given what we've seen of Trump's ugly, mean-spirited, nasty heart, you really don't want people to judge him on that. Which is always why, in the end, people don't want to look at what's in his heart -- because it gives them the creeps. And in the end, yes, the starting point for human beings is indeed...we always want to go with what's come out of his mouth.
Unfortunately for Trump, that tends to be ugly, nasty, egomaniacal, misogynistic, lying, racist and hurtful. So, it's pretty bad all around.
But seriously now. The man is going to be president of the United States. And the best the person who explains him to everyone can come up with in his defense is -- you shouldn't take him at face value and shouldn't listen what comes out of his mouth????!! How pathetic is that?
What is he, six-years-old?
If it's any comfort to Kellyanne Conway, though, I hate taking him at face value and listening to what comes out of his mouth, too.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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