Donald Trump spoke at a far-right event last weekend and denounced the Democratic accusations at the heart of the presidential impeachment inquiry. In fact, the Republican described his perception of the Democrats' tactics.
"[T]hey're of the opinion, you know, just keep saying it, saying it, saying it, and maybe someday they'll believe it," Trump said.
It was a curious failure of self-awareness for the president. He was, after all, describing one of his most commonly used tactics and attributing it to his critics. And therein lies the rub: as the walls close in on Trump, projection remains his go-to move.
A few days later, the president hosted a White House meeting with congressional leaders, which was derailed by what some participants described as Trump's "meltdown." After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Americans should "pray for his health," the Republican responded in his patented I'm-rubber-you're-glue sort of way, published a tweet accusing Pelosi of being mentally ill, and added, "Pray for her, she is a very sick person!"
Since he heard the Speaker accuse him of a "meltdown," Trump also accused Pelosi of having had a "meltdown."
All of which led to the Republican's campaign rally last night in Texas, held just a few hours after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged the White House's quid-pro-quo scheme with Ukraine. Trump responded by accusing Joe Biden of trying to execute a quid-pro-quo scheme in Ukraine.
Trump said that the former vice president was in charge of Ukraine policy for the Obama administration and sought the firing of the then-Ukrainian prosecutor general while his son, Hunter "was paid massive sums of money [to] buy a Ukrainian energy company."
"Now that's what you call quid pro quo," Trump said.
No, in reality, it's not. Biden, with bipartisan and international backing, urged Ukraine to dismiss an inept prosecutor who wasn't investigating the Ukrainian company in question. It bears literally no resemblance to a quid pro quo.
But the fact that the president is pushing the fraudulent line anyway brings a simple truth into focus: Trump genuinely seems to believe he can "no puppet" his way through his impeachment crisis.