Opinion: The unreal world of Mr. Trump


I don’t know about you, but personally, I have flat run out of patience living in Donald Trump’s weird and misbegotten universe, this alternative reality with alternative facts. It’s like being trapped in some half-remembered dream that you know will make no sense upon awakening, yet that awakening never seems to come.

I want reality back. I want to stop wasting time and mental bandwidth trying to establish the absurdity of what is absurd on its face, so that those resources can be put instead into solving real problems in the real world. And the first and most necessary step toward re-establishing that footing in reality is to insist that none of this is normal, none of it.

The situation is not normal; the man behind it is not normal. It is not normal to have a president of the United States of America incapable of distinguishing fantasy from reality, who from moment to moment re-imagines the world as he would like it to be and then insists that his re-imagined world is just as real and concrete as the world where the rest of us reside.

It is not. It just flat is not.

Ted Cruz’s daddy did not kill JFK, three million illegal immigrants did not vote for Hillary Clinton, China did not invent climate change to ruin American industry, Mexico is not going to pay for that stupid wall, Barack Obama was indeed born in this country, Obama did not wiretap Trump’s campaign, former national security adviser Susan Rice is not, repeat not, a criminal, and we all have far more important things to debate and talk about than whether these delusions have any basis in fact because they do not.

The Rice thing is the latest one, of course. In the real world, in the world where the Earth is still round and Newtonian physics still apply, it is actually true that Russia and Vladimir Putin intervened on Trump’s behalf to help win him the election. It is actually true that by doing so, Putin has helped to permanently damage the reputation of the United States and to push the world closer to the chaos in which Putin and his colleagues hope to thrive. It is actually true — we know it from the lips of the FBI director himself, in open testimony — that the FBI is investigating whether members of Trump’s team actively colluded in that effort, although that allegation is still far from proven.

However, there is absolutely zero evidence to support Trump’s claim this week that Rice has acted criminally or even in any way inappropriately. It is a fabrication every bit as credible as all the others listed above, and like those previous fabrications it is designed to unmoor us from the tangible. Every intelligence expert and former high-level national security official that I’ve seen interviewed on the subject, from both Republican and Democratic administrations, has said that what Rice is alleged to have done by her enemies is in fact both perfectly legal and perfectly routine. We have no evidence whatsoever that she used legally acquired intelligence for illegal political gain or that she leaked it to the press. None.

Indeed, the man most responsible for that allegation against Rice, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, has now been removed by his fellow Republicans from the Russia investigation because his behavior and statements had destroyed his credibility. We have no such option with Trump. Our choices are to succumb to his madness or to point it out and ridicule it.

I choose the latter.



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