Donald Trump declared
weeks ago that he intends to "set the all-time record" for attendance at a presidential inaugural. By all appearances, that's extremely unlikely to happen.But the president-elect spoke at a pre-inauguration event last night, where Trump made this
"I also want to tell you, you know, so many people are talking about what's going on and now they've just announced we're going to have record crowds coming."
As a rule, whenever Donald Trump uses the word "they," look out. In this case "they've" announced "record crowds" are coming to the Republican's inauguration, but there's been no such announcement. "They" don't appear to exist outside of Trump's imagination.But relying on "them" will enable Trump to claim a record without regard for actual attendance data. What we're witnessing is a preemptive falsehood: the president-elect is laying the groundwork for an untrue claim about his inauguration that Trump seems very likely to make soon after he takes the oath of office.Indeed, he's already told related falsehoods, such as, "All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It's hard to find a great dress for this inauguration." This wasn't remotely true
, but Trump made the claim anyway.And speaking of false claims, CNN reported
that two senior Trump transition officials said yesterday that the president-elect wrote his own draft of his inaugural address.
Last month, Trump told guests at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, as well as presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, that he planned to write the speech himself, but we've now been told that Trump has actually followed through.The decision is a departure from how Trump tackled speeches during the campaign, when he either delivered off-the-cuff remarks or relied on text prepared by his senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller.
Look, if a politician and his/her team are going to make bold claims, they have to be at least somewhat plausible. In this case, Donald Trump didn't write his own books. He has literally no background in speechwriting. He's never demonstrated any real interest in, or appreciation for, the written word. His communication skills are ... how do I put this gently ... outside the norm.Is Team Trump seriously going to expect people to believe Trump put pen to paper and drafted an inaugural address for himself? Perhaps in between poorly written tweets about "Saturday Night Live" sketches?C'mon. Bogus claims must at least have the ring of truth or they're just fodder for comedians.