Donald Trump had another normal one on Friday night. He gave an NRA rally speech that was chock-full of lies, gaffes, bizarre asides, wild, unsupported exaggerations, and enough flop sweat to drown a Shetland pony. In other words, par for the course that he habitually cheats on.
Of course, whenever President Joe Biden stammers, flubs a word, or stumbles on his way up to Air Force One, the media descends on him like a flock of flying monkeys who’ve just finished ransacking a Boone’s Farm truck. Case in point: The histrionic reactions to the recent special counsel report/hit job in which Trump appointee Robert Hur tried his darndest to Jim Comey the 2024 election.
But Trump? Effervescently weird is his baseline, so he tends to get a pass. He could bite the head off a bat … or a batboy … or Nikki Haley, for that matter … and The Washington Post would slot the story somewhere between the Sudoku puzzle and “Marmaduke.” Assuming Marmaduke didn’t eat one of Hillary’s emails, that is—in which case they’d print the comic on the front page, above the fold.
Now, Trump will say whatever he thinks the people he’s talking to want to hear at any given moment, and so while speaking to an NRA crowd, he disgorged the kind of lie that should boost his standing with gun violence aficionados but will almost certainly be poison in the general election.
Promising that, if elected, “no one will lay a finger on your firearms,” Trump claimed that the years he served as “president” were the salad days for the gun rights movement: “During my four years nothing happened. And there was great pressure on me having to do with guns. We did nothing. We didn’t yield.”
Say, is it okay to use an opposing candidate’s statement in an attack ad if you know that statement is a lie? Because what he said is both demonstrably false and liable to make suburban mothers spontaneously swallow their tongues.
POLITICO remembers it differently.
While in the White House, Trump supported loosening gun restrictions for hunting and fishing on public lands. He declared gun stores, shooting ranges and weapons manufacturers “essential services” during the pandemic. And he appointed more than 200 federal judges with conservative records on Second Amendment rights.
But Trump and the NRA were at times at odds. Trump encouraged states to pass Extreme Risk Protection Orders, or Red Flag laws, which allow people to seek a court order to prevent a potentially dangerous person from purchasing or having a gun. And the Trump administration banned bump stocks, a firearm attachment that enables semi-automatic weapons to function like machine guns. The devices have been used in some of the worst mass shootings.
What do you know? Another baldfaced lie, along with an implicit promise to make the most murderous nation in the developed world just a wee bit more murder-y. Yawn. Say, did you hear that Biden fell off his bike last year?
Of course, Trump is so awful in so many and varied ways, it’s just white noise for the most part. When Biden says something kind of weird or flubs a line, it’s news, because Biden is a normal, relatable human, and when normal, relatable humans do something that doesn’t quite align with our expectations, we take notice.
When he brazenly lies more than 30,000 times, stands accused of sexual misconduct by 26 different women, pronounces Thailand as “Thighland,” touts disinfectant injections as a potential COVID-19 cure, claims windmills kill whales, continually brags about passing a preschool-level dementia test that’s typically administered only to people who are suspected of having dementia, says you need voter ID to buy bread, calls liberals “vermin,” or refers to the defendants who violently stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 as “hostages,” it’s just Trump being Trump.
And Trump can’t help being Trump any more than dingos can be blamed for dragging babies out of tents.
Anyone can see how frustrating it must be for members of the Biden-Harris reelection campaign—and Biden supporters writ large
Our guy gets hammered relentlessly for even the most minor slip-ups. And when a Republican special prosecutor who clearly has an ax to grind turns his report into a Trump campaign ad, the media is all too eager to pile on. Meanwhile, nearly every day #45 swan dives off the deep end into a heaving vat of Ayahuasca-spiked Yoo-hoo—and the press just plows ahead with its mutually agreed-upon narrative that Biden is too old, feeble, and confused to be president.
The Biden campaign has had enough, and last night it blasted out a rapid response to Trump’s campaign speech/toad venom hallucination.
For the nontweeters:
White House Hits Back at Trump With 28 misstatements he made last night alone. Is this fair?
According to the Biden Campaign Trump misstated all of the following during his speech in Harrisburg, Pa:
1) Trump falsely said he won the Virgin Islands caucus “100%.”
2) Trump falsely said he won PA twice.
3) Trump falsely said Biden wants an open border.
4) Trump falsely said terrorists were taken into this country by the millions.
5) Trump falsely said we had the safest borders under his presidency.
6) Trump falsely said Biden will confiscate guns and take away the right to self-defense.
7) Trump falsely said no one died in Afghanistan during his presidency.
8) Trump falsely claims “nothing happens” to people who commit assault or murder.
9) Trump falsely said he worked with the FBI and said that Biden made recovering the documents very difficult.
10) Trump falsely claimed he was “covered by the Presidential Records Act” when he destroyed documents.
11) Trump falsely says Catholics are being persecuted.
12) Trump falsely said electric cars don’t work in cold weather.
13) Trump falsely said “We never had a country that was doing so well as it was during the Trump four years,” but he left office with fewer jobs than he entered.
14) Trump falsely claimed he got Mexico to send 28,000 soldiers to the border.
15) Trump falsely said Mexico took 32% of our car industry.
16) Trump falsely said everyone coming to the country is a man between 18 and 25.
17) Trump falsely says there were no terror attacks during his administration.
18) Trump falsely said Biden tried to ram through an “open border bill.”
19) Trump falsely said if the bill was passed unions would be out of business.
20) Trump falsely said Democrats cheat in elections.
21) Trump falsely said Democrats cheated in the 2020 election.
22) Trump falsely said President Biden can close the border and the bill is a hoax.
23) Trump falsely said we don’t have free speech.
24) Trump falsely said we don’t have a free and fair press.
25) Trump falsely said he did better in PA in 2020 than 2016.
26) Trump falsely said they’ll change the name of PA if he’s not elected.
27) Trump falsely said we’re a failing nation and a nation in decline.
28) Falsely said Biden is going to empower America’s enemies, unleash misery throughout your state and throughout our country, bedlam and chaos at home and abroad.
The Campaign stated the following as well:
“Every single time Donald Trump opens his mouth, he’s confused, deranged, lying, or worse. Tonight, he lied more than two dozen times, slurred his words, confused basic facts, and placated the gun lobby weeks after telling parents to ‘get over it’ after their kids were gunned down at school.”
Here’s #26, which is likely a reference to a retracted proposal to remove a William Penn statue in Philadelphia.
So while Trump calls the media the “enemy of the people,” engages in regular media antagonism, and continually threatens to chill free speech by “opening up our libel laws,” the media too often seems reluctant to return the favor—even as a dangerously unfit man cruises to the GOP presidential nomination.
So maybe, just maybe, the political press could do a bit more due diligence on this—or at the very least open their eyes:
Maybe Biden should just intentionally spew barmy nonsense 24/7. It appears to work for Trump. And we all know what a stable genius he is.