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 his reluctance, Mr. Trump reveals himself over and over, in the stories he tells, in his wide-ranging answers to questions and at times in casual, seemingly throwaway lines. Who does he look up to? “I don’t have heroes,” Mr. Trump said. Does he examine history to better understand the present? “I don’t like talking about the past,” he said, later adding, “It’s all about the present and the future.” Who earns his respect? “For the most part,” he said, “you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect.”BACK TO TOP