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For Trump, people who disagree with him literally don't count

Trump too often seems to see events unfold through a lens that filters out information that makes him uncomfortable.
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump during a campaign rally at Drake University, in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 30, 2020.Charlie Neibergall / AP

In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail and boasted, among other things, about how much women voters support and agree with him. "You know I got 52% with women," the president bragged at a rally. "Everyone said this couldn't happen -- 52%."

It was a line he repeated over and over again, as Trump took great pride in the fact that in the 2016 elections, most American women voted for him. Except that wasn't even close to being true: the GOP ticket received 52% of white women voters, but 42% of women overall.

To hear Trump tell it, non-white women, in a rather literal sense, simply didn't count.

This general approach -- Trump choosing not to count those with whom he disagrees -- comes up with unsettling frequency. Take last night, for example, when the president held a campaign rally in New Hampshire, and reflected on the vote breakdown in the Senate on his articles of impeachment.

"In the Senate, other than Romney, we got 52 to nothing. 52 to nothing. That's something. And in one case, we got 53 to nothing, but I don't even count that, to be honest."

In reality, on the first article of impeachment, 48 senators voted "guilty," while 52 voted "not guilty." On the second article, 47 voted "guilty," while 53 voted "not guilty."

Except, Trump chooses not to count the votes he doesn't like. He seems to see events unfold through a lens that filters out information that makes him uncomfortable -- which in turn transforms a 52-48 vote into a 52-0 vote.

The day after the Senate trial, during a bizarre, hour-long presidential harangue, the Republican did the same thing when describing the impeachment vote in the House: "It was 197 to nothing.... We had 197 to nothing." Trump used similar phrasing at a campaign rally in Michigan.

Except, as we've discussed, the vote on the first article of impeachment was 230 to 197, while the vote on the second article was 229 to 198. Though in Trump's mind, it was a shutout in the other direction -- because the votes from the Democrats and Congress' lone independent, in a rather literal sense, didn't count.

As MSNBC's Chris Hayes noted last night, "It's amazing the degree to which the president has internalized his role as President of the Republican Party, rather than the country."