We learn from Thomas Friedman that Trump has re-tweeted a QAnon-linked post that reported that Bin Laden’s killing was faked by the Obama administration, which may have actually killed a bunch of SEALs. Another post re-tweeted by the POTUS held that the Obamians secretly transported Bin Laden from Iran to Pakistan for a “trophy kill.”
Now, when you re-tweet something, even without comment, you are saying at the least: this deserves to be taken seriously; it’s credible. So, we must conclude that Trump either (1) actually believes that this nonsense is to be taken seriously, in which case he’s nuts, or (2) Trump knows full well that it’s nonsense and his tweets represent pure malevolence. (Is there a third possibility that I’m missing?)
I personally lean to the second possibility: I do think that Trump is nuts, but not that nuts.
Longtime readers may recognize this post as yet another installment in my longstanding exploration of the question: is Trump delusional, or is he just a bald-faced liar? My initial answer to the question was that while some of Trump’s falsehoods may indeed be the product of a remarkable capacity for self-delusion, others are certainly deliberate, knowing lies. Later, with help from an insightful commenter, I came to the conclusion that in any case, the truth simply doesn’t matter to Trump. When he speaks, he is performing, and the truth or falsity of what he says is irrelevant. So, he doesn’t necessarily know that he’s lying; truthfulness is just not something he thinks about.
Of course, the current age of disinformation isn’t entirely of Trump’s making. But the words of the President of the United States count for a lot. How different if Trump had accompanied his re-tweets with the comment “This is the kind of ridiculous garbage we need to beware of.” (Of course, I’m dreaming.) Some day, hopefully soon, we will have a POTUS who doesn’t actively serve as a megaphone for the crackpot right.