Donald Trump can only correct a lie with another lie.
This week, under intense scrutiny, Donald Trump finally admitted that Barack Obama was born in the United States. His slowness to admit this truth is understandable. After all, polls show that most Trump supporters enjoy believing this falsehood. Backed into a corner, though, Trump finally made a concession to documentary fact.
But Trump feels dirty whenever he has to confirm an accurate fact. It rubs him up the wrong way. His aversion to truth and his dogged commitment to “telling it like it ain’t” is such that he needed to counter acknowledged fact with yet another egregious lie. Apparently, it was Hillary Clinton who started the Birther campaign and he, Donald Trump, who finally put this lie to bed.
Trump needs to lie all the time for a variety of reasons. The race-baiting message of fear and stupidity he successfully peddles of course depends on lies. But his position as demagogue also depends on lies.
You see, if Trump were to start telling the truth, then he would start to admit “Truth” as some sort of standard. The only “Truth” that Trump respects is “Whatever fuels Trump’s gargantuan ego at any given time”. Truth is Trump and Trump is Truth. For there to be some standard of Truth that functioned independently of Trump, then Trump would be acknowledging that there is something of value in the universe that isn’t Donald Trump.
Lies, Absurdities, and Self Contradictions are central to Trump’s sense of Divinity. Only “low energy” losers adhere to some external standard of truth. Lying is central to the sense of entitlement that Trump, as a hereditary aristocrat, has lived and lied with his entire life. As a billionaire, Trump believes that words should mean whatever he wants them to mean at any given time. The idea that language operates independently of Trump is unthinkable.
Trump has successfully exploited a sense of nostalgic frustration, not just with “politics as usual” or “the political class” or some vaguely invoked “elite” but with 3000 or so years of Abrahamic religion. By worshipping Trump, his supporters are expressing a kind of race memory of those days when Zeus, Baal or Dagon did whatever the Hell they wanted without having to adhere to any kind of rule book. Those cool pagan dudes never had to worry about being consistent.
Do not expect Trump to openly avow his paganism, even though his whole “never apologise” and “never take responsibility” personality is opposed to every orthodox Christian or Jewish precept you can think of. No, Trump will not insult Jesus, partly because being a philosophically consistent Nietzschean pagan would be a version of truthfulness which the truth-allergic Trump can never digest. No, Trump will keep Jesus – keep him on the payroll. It’s not about how close to Jesus Trump is – it’s about how close to Trump – Jesus is. And if Trump says that Jesus is a cheerleader for intolerance, stupidity and petty tribal resentment – then that must be what Jesus is.
No “truth” can topple Trump – because Trump offers a kind of heady abjection to the idea of a force that rejects Rule of Law as a concept. It goes without saying, of course that “Making America Great Again” involves a rejection of constitutional checks and balances that defined American in the first place.