One of Donald Trump’s more exasperating habits is his embrace of lie inflation. That doesn’t refer to lies about inflation, but rather, refers to the former president telling a regular lie, and then inflating the falsehood in ways that make it worse.
While in office, he did this all the time, on matters large and small. Trump would lie about his approval rating, for example, and then compound the lie by adding outlandish and made-up details.
The practice came to mind again this week. The Republican’s initial lie came several days ago, when he insisted that there’s new evidence that he’d been “spied on” by Hillary Clinton’s operatives. This wasn’t true.
But thanks to the lie-inflation model, that was merely the first step. Yesterday, Trump built on the preliminary lie, issuing a new statement that claimed Clinton broke into the White House and his apartment. That’s utterly bonkers, though it’s consistent with his equally nutty habit of expanding lies in outlandish ways.
But that’s not all the former president did yesterday. He also issued this doozy:
“Much of the now-uncovered espionage campaign of the Democrats breaking into the White House and my New York City apartment, took place after the 2016 Election as yet another way to undermine the upcoming 2020 Election. This spying into the Oval Office continued for a long period of time and further served to undermine and discredit the 2020 Election, along with massive ballot harvesting, phantom voters, and so many other things that made the Election a sham. The voting numbers were big and determinative!”
Obviously, there were no factual claims in this statement. There was no espionage campaign; no one broke into the White House; no one broke into his apartment; there was no Democratic spying in the Oval Office; the non-existent espionage didn’t continue for a long time; the 2020 presidential election wasn’t a “sham”; and on and on.
What amazed me about this bizarre hysteria, however, is Trump’s eagerness to take lie inflation to a new level: He took two lies — his absurd claims about Team Clinton spying on him and his dangerous nonsense about his 2020 defeat — and tried to combine them.
Yes, according to the former president, the 2020 race was “undermined” by “spying” that didn’t happen in reality, which in turn helps “discredit” the election he lost.
It wreaks of desperation.