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.
But there was a moment when the mask slipped, and slipped badly. Moffet Mofokeng from the City Press, a mild-mannered, very experienced, and very polite reporter asked simply, “Mr President, the movements in your office, can you give us an update on them?” No hostility, no malice, no agenda. Just a request for information. Zuma became a different person. He leant forward as far as the lectern would allow, “The problem with you guys”, he said, “is that you discuss matters that are not relevant to you, the discussions are confidential, we should end the matter there. Don’t go to speculation, even though that’s your right.” He stopped there. And caught himself. There was a definite pause, then that peculiar grunt he makes whenever under pressure, and he laughed. And ended with, “you’re just trying to make matters confidential not confidential.” – Stephen Grootes on President Jacob Zuma’s post-lekgotla press conferenceBACK TO TOP