Many credible sources have said that Donald Trump has lost touch with reality. Even so, I won’t say it.
We all have a responsibility to be judicious with words — as Trump himself explained in January, “I was going to say ‘dummy’ Bush; I won’t say it.”
Yes, it’s true that an actual headline Friday from CBS in Sacramento was, “Donald Trump Tells California ‘There Is No Drought’ As Drought Continues.” And yes, it’s true that scientists report that 86 percent of California is still in a “moderate drought,” 61 percent in a “severe drought,” 43 percent in an “extreme drought,” and over one-fifth of the state (21 percent) is in an “exceptional drought.”
But I refuse to say Donald Trump has lost touch with reality, because that would not be politically correct.
I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2016
No, I’m not here to waste your time debunking Donald Trump with “facts” from “scientists.” That’d be like debunking pro-wrestling with facts. Or like explaining that “Reality TV Show” is an oxymoron.
It’s true that Donald Trump has advanced a dozen “fringe conspiracy theories” — about asbestos, Muslims, Ted Cruz’s dad, and climate change being a hoax invented by the Chinese — that are as surreal as any proposed by the tinfoil hat crowd. And it’s true that Trump’s big climate and energy speech last week was filled with “gibberish” as are many of his other assertions, like “China is taking our coal.”
I’m not saying Donald Trump is delusional
But all the haters and losers must admit that, unlike others, I never attacked Trump for being delusional, even though if you look up “delusion” it certainly sounds like Trump:
… an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.
And as for a potential mental disorder Trump could suffer from, while Psychology Today reported in November that “Therapists Confirm Trump’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (NPD), again, I never attacked him for that.
I would never do that! Sheesh.
In fact, I have pointed out that far from being delusional, Trump is a con man, a confidence man, “One who gains the trust, or ‘confidence’, of his victims (often called marks) in order to manipulate, steal from, or otherwise predate upon them.”
I have pointed out that Trump clearly knows he is conning everyone, that in his 1987 bestseller “The Art of The Deal,” Trump explained he makes crap up to wow people:
The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies…. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.
It’s an effective form of lying while excusing and rationalizing your lies. Also deceiving tens of millions of people to help you win the Presidency — so you can kill the world’s best and only hope of preserving a livable climate for our children and billions of people — isn’t “innocent.”
But I simply won’t go as far Politico, which just published a long essay by their senior media writer Jack Shafer on how pretty much everything Donald Trump says is antithetical to normal human discourse about objective reality. That piece, “How Donald Trump Destroyed the Interview,” asserts:
Thanks to his skills at quibbling, his talent for the nonsequitur, and his willingness to reverse himself inside a single sentence, Trump has figured out how to soften rather than sharpen public discourse every time he is interviewed, blurring it into yet another form of meaningless PR, and — if he continues — destroying a journalistic institution in the process.
Again, that’s nothing I would ever write here at Climate Progress — which I think is obvious since I would have headlined such a piece, “Donald Trump Is A Con Man And Liar Who Helps Destroys Public Discourse With Every Word He Speaks And Who Has No Business Running A Casino Let Alone the Most Powerful Nation In The World.” Also, I would write that “objective reality” isn’t really Politico’s brand; superficial click-bait about the political “horse race” is. So when Politico hones in on what’s really important about Trump’s inability or refusal to distinguish reality from delusion, they frame the story that he is destroying a time-honored journalistic tradition dating back over a century. Boo-hoo!
Or consider this. On Friday, the Washington Post pointed out that “One day after he used a teleprompter to deliver a policy speech, Donald Trump slammed politicians who use teleprompters.” It then listed Trump’s history:
— April 27: Pro. Uses a teleprompter while delivering a foreign policy speech.
— May 2: Con. “I don’t have any teleprompters…I’m up here all by myself.”
— May 20: Pro. “I’ve started to use [teleprompters] a little bit. They’re not bad. You never get yourself in trouble when you use a teleprompter.”
— May 22: Con. Attacks Clinton because she “reads off a teleprompter, you notice. She’s reading off a teleprompter, she always does.”
— May 24: Con. “We should have a law that when you run for president, you shouldn’t be allowed to use a teleprompter.”
— May 26: Pro. Uses a teleprompter while delivering an energy policy speech in North Dakota.
— May 27: Con. “Isn’t it great when you don’t use teleprompters? …we oughta have a law that if you’re running for president, you can’t use teleprompters.”
(To be continued….)
So I can fully understand how others might be convinced that the nonsense Trump spews is more than just the rants of a megalomaniacal con-man, that something else is going on with Trump’s grip on reality.
While I wouldn’t say Donald Trump is delusional, I would offer a theory for how that could have happened
So here’s a theory that would explain how Donald Trump lost touch with reality, if he has, which I’m certainly not saying.
Donald Trump hosted The Apprentice “an American reality game show” for 14 seasons from 2004 to 2014, half of which were “The Celebrity Apprentice.” At the end of each episode, Trump would say to one of the contestants “you’re fired!”
He became as famous for this tag-line as anything else he had ever done. But here’s the thing. A reality show has as much to do with reality as “Game of Thrones” does.
OK, that’s obvious, but bear with me. The show “has nothing to do with business,” and Trump doesn’t actually fire anyone, as two-time “The Celebrity Apprentice” contestant (and famed magician) Penn Gillette has explained. In a Salon tell-all, whose headline asserts “Donald Trump is a whackjob” — a politically incorrect term you’d never see me use — who “Googles himself, rages at critics and insists he’s a good businessman,” Gillette explains:
No actual business skills are tested. It’s not even a real game about fake business. I can tell you the rules of chess. I can’t tell you the rules to “The Celebrity Apprentice.” No one can tell you the rules of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” No one. Donald Trump just does what he wants, which is mostly pontificating to people who are sucking up to him…. Annie Duke, the poker genius, and “TCA” veteran, said to me, “It’s a pretend game, about pretend business, where you get pretend fired.”
You may ask why, if Gillette feels this way, he went on the show a second time, appearing on Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars. People, people, people you are missing the whole point.
Gillette is a celebrity who deceives people for a living. Or wait, is that Donald Trump?
The point is that if you spent a decade pretending to fire people on TV hundreds of times in a fake game about fake business, you’d probably lose touch with reality, too, just the way many people — but not me, to be sure — say Donald Trump has.