White House insiders: Trump ordered Sean Spicer to lie about crowd sizes because he was "demoralized"

My fear too. Trump and his team have clearly studied the arts of mass manipulation. There does seem to have been a pattern, for instance, of Trump firing off “outrageous” tweets that get all the attention right when other, more substantial outrages were happening, outrages that thus get more or less ignored.

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The two aren’t really mutually exclusive: Republicans(and mostly establishment ones who don’t owe their positions to Trump) have a pretty solid position in Congress; and VP Pence is a chillingly solid lawful-ish evil party man; so Trump would have to be quite actively sabotaging his own people to prevent things from going fairly well for him when it comes to the orderly rubber stamping of matters in those areas.

In areas where all the ducks aren’t in a row, though, he can’t seem to resist losing his shit; regardless of the pointlessness(Being president doesn’t require winning the popular vote, having the largest inaugural crowd, or getting the press to say nice things about you; but he keeps hammering on them as though they were actually important issues). I suspect that the just-get-things-done-as-fast-as-possible crowd appreciates the fact that the distraction keeps him out of their hair; and provides something for the chattering classes to chatter about; so it’s quite true that his unhinged style doesn’t seem to be slowing them down; but it’s still pretty unhinged.

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On Teh Twits, too:

https://twitter.com/track_trump

“Demoralized?”

Oh silly, Donny; you’d have to have some morals in the first place for that to even be possible!

But if the feeling that was meant to be expressed is that Donny-boy feels reviled and unloved

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Yes, it does seem a bit too clever that he’d be intentionally performing the circus to provide cover; everything we know about him suggests that he is genuinely this incredibly shallow. But even if it is unintentional, the garbage he is serving up to the media continues to make the story about the MAN and not the fucking crazy shit that his team is doing/plan to do. The media just can’t help themselves, but they need to try and tamp that shit down. This isn’t a gameshow and we need to stop covering it like one.

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I think that Trump’s unpopularity would actually be a real boon to someone who very publicly broke with him and was willing to tell stories of how unhinged he was. Obviously that would be burning some bridges, but it would be forging others.

I think we probably underestimate how many people use words functionally in the first place. If you spend time around little kids, you’ll hear them say all kinds of things that flatly aren’t true but that clearly are meant to achieve a certain result, and I don’t think people change that much from childhood. Instead, you see an increase in sophistication in picking the right words to get the right effect.

Formulating a coherent idea (as opposed to desired outcome) and then choosing words to try to communicate that idea is something that, I think, we learn through education because education requires us to have this skill to function properly. There are no performative words to give someone the ability to do calculus; at some point you need to actually be able to explain a the concepts in the abstract. (I’m not demeaning people who have poor educations, just pointing out that they are obviously going to lack certain tools. I was recently in a position where I couldn’t fix my cabinet door because I didn’t have a drill - that doesn’t say anything about my quality or value as a person.)

Education was a big predictor of support for Trump, so you would expect a larger proportion of people with lower education in Trump’s group. People with poor education are probably more likely to use language in a functional rather than a meaning-based way. But a person who doesn’t tend to rely on meaning-based language is also not going to think that other people do either, just like a person who is bad at chess is going never going to understand the strategy of a grand master even after they lose to them.

So I wonder, what did they think that second question was really asking? If I participate in a study like that, I assume the goal is to have me answer every question very plainly. I usually guess that psychology studies are trying to trick me in some way, but they want to figure out my genuine response to their trick. I know what they are doing and why. A Trump supporter faced with, “Which is Trump’s inauguration?” followed by “Which has more people?” may not take that situation into account. They interpret the questions the way you would interpret them if your schoolyard rival asked them - that is, the second question isn’t asking which photo they think has more people, it’s rubbing it in that Obama had a bigger crowd.

Because of this, I’m not sure the interpretation of the responses is correct. Some of those people may have been well aware which picture had more people, but have said something untrue not to show loyalty, but instead to throw a wrench into the works of someone who they perceived as making fun of them. And in a way, they are actually reading the situation right. Right now I’m sure there are people making fun of them (even though they are making fun of them for giving the answer the gave). One way or another this study was going to be used as fuel for insults.

I think Trump speaks functionally rather than meaningfully pretty much all the time. He doesn’t lie, he says what he thinks will achieve a result without even considering what the truth is. He may have a poor grasp of meaningful communication and it’s possible he never even told Spicer to lie - he just told Spicer to utter the words he wanted uttered (of course, for Spicer, they were lies).

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If we’re getting reports from “‘nearly a dozen’ White House staffers”, then it seems to me we may have less to fear from Trump’s war on truth and attempts at muzzling than we might expect…

… or, alternatively, this is a reality television star’s clever attempt to further distract people from other more horrible things he might be doing, for what better distraction is there than juicy insider gossip?

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This, a hundred times over. Without the help of the GOP’s special brand of sycophant, trump wouldn’t be able to enter the fucken building. He wouldn’t know what documents to sign or write or threaten to sign or write because he doesn’t know jack shit about governance. If Spicer had even the smallest granule of integrity he would’ve refused. And by the same token, if the GOP had the slightest integrity/honor they would’ve been raising hell about any number of trump’s “investigatables”, and yet all we hear is a clapping claque eager to flush America’s political norms down the drain for their own personal profit.

You might even say this is Late Stage Capitalism.

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I had a slightly related thought. Turmp seems nearly incapable of trust, so what does it tell us that he trusts his family so unquestioningly? If I was going to guess, I’d guess he’s a domestic tyrant who’s spent their whole lives making sure they’re afraid of him even when he’s not in the room (whatever else may be true).

I agree, but I would say that kind of hazing is an abusive personal relationship. Hopefully the sex element is missing, but in a cult of personality, the minions’ feelings for the leader are a pathological version of love, just like what an abused spouse feels. When you surrender to someone else’s version of reality, they become your only connection to the world you’ve chosen to live in, and you see them as part of you, and can’t imagine how you could exist without them. Not all abusive relationships are physically violent, but that twisted version of love is what stops abuse victims leaving.

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Related GIF is related:

(See also both he and his shitheel son monitoring their wives’ ballots on election day.)

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This is a little funny and a little terrifying, but I remember that I was surprised to see him wearing a normal business suit at the inauguration, rather than one of those white military suits with the sash and medals and LOTS AND LOTS OF GOLD PIPING.

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The thing is that things like this get said to abused people all the time. Like Anita Hill. Why did she follow Clarence Thomas around? Career. Honestly, she could have probably had a good career without him. But she thought she needed him.

This guy Spicer is in the top job in the public relations world. I bet he has dreamed of this for a long time. So, it would be a blow and maybe at this moment in time, he can’t imagine a way out. We can see he has options, but can he?

Kellyanne Conway - she’s done a lot but she seems really twisted up inside.

Ann Landers always said you can’t be taken advantage of without your consent. It’s not to demonize people who are abused, but, a lot of times, the trick to ending it is to stop consenting to it. It’s not always a clearcut route out. For these people to end their relationship with Trump will mean a huge personal loss - not just a loss of money or status, but a loss of their belief in this person they have invested so much into. I have spoken with people who have been in these relationships and even years afterward they are deeply personally affected by these experiences and often still feel an enormous loss.

I still don’t like them, but I have empathy for the situation they are in.

I’m sad for the minions around Trump because they have to endure him, but when I look at the people like Newt Gingrinch and Pence who really are in control of their own situation but who pawn this dick onto the public, I only have contempt.

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…Although politicians seem to pay way too much attention to the stock market as a measure of how the economy is doing…

But of course the point of the post was the loyalty is more important than the truth. Just remember, “giving up your credibility and self respect” is the new “putting your investments into a blind trust.”

But they are important to Trump in the way that actual policy isn’t. People think that his tantrums are to distract us, but feeding him tantrum causing material is probably as much about distracting HIM.

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Current fantasy narrative: Leaked reports that Trump is cognitively impaired, and unable to perform without family members and aids. (This is almost certainly true; the fantasy part is the leak.)

A split between appointees and campaign stooges / family could be a very, very good thing . . . see section 4:

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Yes I know.

Why not fake the leak . . . and let the fucker deny it?

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You are 100% correct. At this point they’re all enablers and should not be forgiven or forgotten when, eventually, they begin to distance themselves.

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My take is that all of the principled, morally decent people have already jumped ship. Conway, Spicer, et al. are the ones who are left. Being so personally repulsive that you drive away all the decent folk is an effective way to identify those you can control completely with offers of money and power.

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I mean, Spicer has some personal vendetta against an ice cream company so who knows with that guy?

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I have been wondering about this too. He is really old.

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