This was an odd reaction. There’s more to this story than the specific details in the president’s tweets, but the fact remains that when he was making the case for his conspiracy theory, Trump said he was personally targeted, and Nunes said the opposite. He said the surveillance was illegal, and Nunes said the opposite. He said Obama was personally involved, and Nunes said the opposite. He said the surveillance was before the election, and Nunes said the opposite. He said this was all part of a campaign-related scheme, and Nunes said the opposite.
In other words, Trump was “vindicated” to the extent that the president got literally every detail wrong.
I mention all of this because it’s emblematic of a leader who continues to struggle, in alarming ways, to separate fact from fiction. If you haven’t read Trump’s newly published interview with Time magazine’s Michael Scherer, it’s well worth your time. The questions about the president’s awareness of reality and appreciation of objective truths are only going to grow louder as a result of some of his more ridiculous comments.
He started by arguing that Hillary Clinton’s emails were on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, the Democratic primary race was “rigged against Bernie Sanders,” and that he was “totally right” about Brexit. All three of these claims are plainly and demonstrably wrong.
Trump went on to say his conspiracy theory about Barack Obama conducting illegal surveillance of him has merit because, “I have articles saying it happened.” He does not actually have articles saying it happened.
This exchange soon followed:
TRUMP: Well I think I will be proved right about that too.
TIME: The claim that Muslims celebrated on 9-11 in New Jersey…
TRUMP: Well if you look at the reporter, he wrote the story in the Washington Post.
The “newspaper,” in this instance, was the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid with which Trump has an eerily friendly relationship.
It’d take hours to go point by point, fact-checking every error of fact and judgment, but Trump’s final comments stood as especially interesting: “I inherited a mess, I inherited a mess in so many ways… I mean we have many, you can go up and down the ladder. But that’s the story. Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”…….