CNN’s Chris Cuomo interviewed Rudy Giuliani last night, and the host noted that plenty of modern presidents have faced pressure and attacks, but no modern president has “dealt with humanity the way” Donald Trump does. The former mayor, conceding the point, replied, “Maybe nobody has been as honest as him.”
Yes, because if there’s one thing Trump has demonstrated, it’s his unyielding commitment to … honesty?
It led to an interesting exchange between the host and guest.
CUOMO: If fact-counting is anything, we’ve never had anybody with the level of mendacity that he has. Not even close.
GIULIANI: It’s in the eye of the beholder.
CUOMO: No, facts are not in the eye of the beholder.
GIULIANI: Yes, they are. Nowadays they are.
In context, Giuliani was chuckling a bit when he said this, so perhaps the presidential attorney was treating this as some kind of joke.
Or maybe Trump’s lawyer was treating the whole idea of objective reality as some kind of joke. It was a little tough to tell.
These comments come less than two weeks after Giuliani appeared on ABC News, and when asked to explain his previous falsehoods, he argued, “Over time, facts develop.”
Not exactly. Stories may develop, and so may excuses, but facts are simply true independently. Our understanding of facts may change, but that’s not the same thing.
A couple of days after Trump was sworn in, and the new White House team insisted on lying about the size of his inaugural crowd, Kellyanne Conway said the president’s team preferred to offer “alternative facts.”
It fell to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd to explain to the White House aide, “Alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”
And yet, a year and a half later, there was the president’s lawyer last night, making the case that the pesky lines between facts and falsehoods are, at least “nowadays,” subjective.
The war on empiricism is disorienting, though by all appearances, that’s precisely the point of the effort.