The Trump-World of Today: “Facts Don’t Mmatter,” “There Are No Facts"

As the prospective DJT administration approaches the point where the doodoo hits the ventilation apparatus (Inauguration Day), what the “transition team” spokespersons are saying is getting into more and more contradiction with what is probably actually happening. (“Probably,” because the smoke screen the team is producing has obscured practically everything about the process.)

It would appear that DJT is woefully unprepared for his new job. He is racing against time to learn what he needs to know about what he will be called upon to do but has never learned to do in his career—which is practically everything—and at the same time he is trying to put together a work force that will help him do whatever he does and advise him about what to do. He simultaneously wants to radically shake up the system, including the system that Republicans have been following up to now, and also recruit and cooperate with Republicans who have been following it. He is trying to be a revolutionary, of sorts, and a conservative at the same time.

To make this giant contradiction work, or at least appear to work, his spokespersons are more and more talking about a world in which facts don’t matter, or don’t even exist. The clearest statement of this metaphysical position was given by a Trump supporter and CNN commentator, Ms. Scottie Nell Hughes, the other day:

Trump supporter and CNN commentator Scottie Nell Hughes posited Thursday that, as a result of the fractured media and current political environment, there is no such thing as facts anymore.

As a call-in guest to WAMU's "The Diane Rehm Show" Thursday, Hughes was asked about the work of James Fallows, who has maintained a blog on Trump’s rise to the presidency on The Atlantic’s website

“I’m sure you’ve heard James Fallows talk about lies that Donald Trump has put out there in tweets, in things he’s said. What do you think about that?” Rehm asked. 

Hughes responded that the existence of truth itself was dubious, and that the veracity of Trump’s tweets depended upon whether the person assessing them liked Trump. 

“On one hand, I hear half the media saying that these are lies. But on the other half, there are many people that go ‘No it’s true,’" Hughes said. "And so one thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch, is that people who say ‘facts are facts,’— they’re not really facts."

“Everybody has a way—It’s kind of like looking at ratings, or looking at a glass of half-full water. Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth or not true. There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, as facts,” she added.

She brought up one of Trump’s more recent tweets, which claimed without any evidence that “millions” of illegally-cast votes handed the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. He has not provided any proof of that claim in the days since tweeting it.

“And so Mr. Trump’s tweets, amongst a certain crowd, a large part of the population, are truth," Hughes said. "When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some facts—amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up. Those that do not like Mr. Trump, they’ll say that those are lies, and there are no facts to back it up.”

And, as the Washington Post reports, this factless world is closely linked to a large number of Trump supporters and appointees through people such as retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whom he has chosen for his national security adviser, his son Michael Flynn Jr., who has actively spread “false news” claim that it was hiding a child sex slave ring linked to the Clintons, and groups like “Citizens4Trump,” who are claiming that the man arrested for shooting up a restaurant in Washington, D.C. believing that this sex slave ring was real was in fact an actor hired to discredit false news generators. These generators include Alex Jones, head of the web site “Infowars,” whom Trump has praised for his “amazing reputation." 

As the Post article reveals, these deliberately constructed imitations of real news are building still more conspiracy theories on top of the first ones. This Trump World of bottomless illusions and delusions seems certain to spread during the Trump administration to come. What can be done to combat this is not at all clear, because people who believe their own set of “facts” will not accept any information that contradicts their beliefs. They are sealed inside their own cozy world, which now threatens the lives of anyone eating at a random pizza restaurant.

qedd© Jon Johanning 2011