Is Donald Trump frighteningly delusional, pathologically dishonest, or some combination of the two? We’ll leave the official diagnosis to the professionals, but what’s indisputable is that Trump is allergic to facts of all but the most “alternative” variety.
Trump led the “birther” movement against former president Barack Obama, and has been disseminating alternative facts faster than even the most diligent fact-checkers can debunk them ever since. Among Trump’s dubious honors as a purveyor of alternative facts, is the “lie of the year” award from Politfact in 2015 for “the campaign misstatements of Donald Trump.”
Trump’s ability to stretch reality into previously unimaginable contortions has become even more impressive since he was sworn in as president. Below are the top five alternative facts of his first 60 days as president.
5. The Biggest Inauguration
No list of alternative facts is complete without the mother of all alternative facts: the claim that Trump’s inauguration drew, as Trump press secretary Sean Spicer put it, “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.” (Similarly, Trump himself said he thought his inauguration drew “a million and a half people.”)
This “fact” was so spectacularly nonfactual it spawned the whole “alternative” fact genre, by inspiring Trump counselor and walking lie-machine Kellyanne Conway to invent the”alternative facts” phrase.
The “biggest inauguration” alternative fact presents the classic case of, who are you going to believe: your own eyes, or …. Sean Spicer in an ill-fitting suit?
4. Last Night In Sweden
This classic of the alternative fact genre made its debut during a Trump rally in Florida, when Trump referred to unspecified events that occurred “last night in Sweden,” confounding that sub-set of the world’s population that still believes Trump says things that have a firm basis in non-alternative reality.
The “last night in Sweden” alternative fact belongs to a special sub-genre: imaginary terrorist attacks ignored by the media.
Fittingly, Kellyanne Conway famously invented this sub-genre when she lamented that the media inexplicably ignored the “Bowling Green Massacre.”
3. I Never Said I’d Repeal And Replace Obamacare Immediately
But when Trumpcare failed so spectacularly it could be mistaken for a Trump casino, Trump had an alternative recollection. In Trump’s alternative past, “I never said ‘repeal it and replace it within 64 days.’ I have a long time.”
But perhaps we should cut Trump some slack on this one. After all, who knew health care could be so complicated?
2. Millions of Illegal Voters
If you thought winning the presidential election would put an end to Trump’s accusations of “large scale voter fraud,” you don’t know Donald Trump.
Trump cannot accept that he lost the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes, so he continues to insist that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” a “fact” so epically alternative that even Sean Spicer refuses to say he actually believes it.
1. Obama Wiretapped Me
One of Trump’s trademark Twitter tirades accused former president Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election. FBI director James Comey has said there is no evidence of such wiretapping, and Trump’s efforts to provide such evidence have been widely debunked.
Obama has long been one of Trump’s favorite alternative fact targets (after all, if it wasn’t for birtherism, Trump would still just be a fading reality television star with a line of bad ties), so it’s fitting that Obama is the subject of the top alternative fact of the first 60 days.
In the same tweet, Trump called Obama a “bad (or sick) guy,” an action reminiscent of when Trump accused Hillary Clinton of being on drugs during a debate.
As any armchair psychologist can tell you, the professionals have a word for that sort of thing.
Watch the ever-imaginative Kellyanne Conway invent alternative facts:
Featured image from voanews, Public Domain.