Trump’s electoral fiction floats free of verifiable reality. It is defended not so much by facts as by claims that someone else has made some claims. The sensibility is that something must be wrong because I feel it to be wrong, and I know others feel the same way. When political leaders such as Ted Cruz or Jim Jordan spoke like this, what they meant was: You believe my lies, which compels me to repeat them. Social media provides an infinity of apparent evidence for any conviction, especially one seemingly held by a president.
Despite all these considerations, Mbeki’s stance on AIDS prevailed for only a time. The overwhelming evidence that emerged that AIDS was devastating communities, coupled with increasingly incontrovertible evidence that ARVs were restoring health and saving lives, the relentless courage of Mbeki’s media critics on AIDS, the TAC and its allies in COSATU, coupled – crucially – with former President Nelson Mandela’s influential intervention all precipitated inner-circle conditions that made it possible to prevail upon Mbeki to permit publicly-funded ARV treatment to be made
available. Unfavourable international focus on President Mbeki’s stance also assisted in breaking the denialist grip on AIDS policy. – Judge Edwin Cameron and Nathan Geffen in The deadly hand of denial: Governance and politically-instigated AIDS denialism in South Africa