Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Former UK police detective Darren Stanton – known as the “human lie detector” and an acknowledged expert, according to the BBC, on body language, deception detection, influence and persuasion – was asked by the BBC to review Donald Trump’s on camera statements to assess their apparent genuineness based on objective physical characteristics: “Out of the seven channels of communication [objective criteria] that I observed, he was consistent in all - therefore I conclude he was making statements that appeared to be consistent with his belief system.” In short, when Donald Trump speaks or tweets, at that moment he seems actually to believe what he says.
Once Trump makes a statement, regardless of the consequences, he notoriously digs in and doubles down. Anything that contradicts his statements are “fake news,” even as his political appointments gently “reinterpret” his words toward an often unreachable “consistency” or dismiss the more outrageous utterances as “humor.” His adherents ignore the literal and focus on his underlying message, a convenient way of dismissing his outrageous conduct and statements. He cites alt-right conspiracy-driven bloggers as fact, if the words seem to go in his direction, and “recalls” statistics that have never existed. “When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.” Salena Zito writing for The Atlantic (9/23/16).
Others remark at the consistency of Trump’s statements. “‘He’s never taken a position that he doesn’t agree with. He’s never taken a position that he doesn’t believe in,’ said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump adviser. ‘The idea that he wasn’t going to be a results-oriented president on the platform he ran on, that he designed, was a complete misnomer.’” Washington Post, January 25th. Bravado or narcissism?
On the other hand, world leaders repeat that they have to take Trump at his word, whether in official policy statements and order… or tweets. What is policy? What is a rant? What is a joke? Really? Exactly how are world leaders supposed to interpret statements from the President of the United States?
“‘You can’t later say, ‘Oh I was just joking’ or ‘I didn’t quite mean that’ because there is some precision associated with diplomatic speak,” said Robert Smith, a professor at Savannah State University who taught a summer class on ‘The Trump Factor in American Politics.’…
“‘Everybody appreciates that presidential candidates exaggerate, say things that they may not mean, or that they will not be able to enact, but when you become to president-elect, things change completely,’ [Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and international affairs at the University of Mary Washington] said. ‘At that point, you’re going to be taken much more seriously, both by businesses in the U.S. and foreign leaders who might not have the luxury of dismissing what the president-elect of the United States has to say.’” WJLA.com (Washington, D.C. TV), 12/5/16. However, Trump the President remains very much Trump the candidate, connected to his ultra-loyal base (about a quarter of all voters) by a Twitter umbilical cord. And therein lies Donald’s true power within his party; they cannot win without his base, a minority constituency to be sure but more than enough to tilt the scales towards Republicans.
Trump sees Americans opposing his visions – Republican or Democrat – as disloyal conspirators, members of the swamp he intends to drain. His doubling down and defensive statements may indeed rise to the level of lying – much like a six-year-old trying to provide his/her parents with a rational justification for bad behavior – but as often as not, Donald J Trump’s initial statements are not intentional lies or misstatements, however inappropriate or inaccurate they might be.
Even when he contradicts or reverses himself, he means every word when he speaks. Statements against Muslims as terrorists, that Obama actually founded ISIS, his attacks on Gold Star parents, the “Chinese hoax” of global climate change, that the ACA and all of the specified treaties and trade agreements “are the worst” such programs/agreements in history, “rapists” and other criminal elements sent from and by Mexico, Russia did not meddle in our elections, knowing more than the generals on ISIS, congratulatory phone calls from Boy Scout leader and the President of Mexico, Obama administration wiretaps of his home and office, John McCain as a loser not a hero because he was a POW, that police officers should be “rougher” on those they arrest. Believe me!
Given a chance to retract these positions, on each one, Trump doubled down. Example? When asked if his Obama/ISIS statement was simply a reflection of his view of Barack Obama’s failed policies and not a statement that Obama was a literal founder of ISIS, Trump said (on CNN – 8/12/16), “"No, I meant he's the founder of ISIS… I do.”
Donald wants you to know that he “tells it like it is,” and he is dedicated to telling the American public the truth. He admonishes the mainstream media (MSM) to take him at his word, and that those who doubt his statements should simply watch his actions. “The Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don't want America to hear the real story!” May 28th Trump Tweet. He is telling us the “real story,” to take him seriously and literally. Yet his advisors are telling us not to. If we do not take him literally, exactly what do his uncensored utterances mean? Seriously. “Truthful hyperbole” or ????
I’m Peter Dekom, and it would be the height of folly for the global community not to take Donald Trump at his word.