Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

The mirth on Twit­ter after Don­ald Trump’s eighty-five-minute Sat­ur­day night speech was that the ex-Pres­i­dent had put on his pants back­wards. The Trump detrac­tors got the argu­ment back­wards: Trump’s pants were actu­al­ly on fire.

Metaphor­i­cal­ly, anyway.

The tow­er of lies, pre­sent­ed to North Car­oli­na Repub­li­cans, is designed to cre­ate an alter­na­tive real­i­ty for vot­ers on the right, and to cement in place Trump’s role as the Repub­li­can Party’s not-to-be dis­put­ed boss and 2024 nominee.

Don’t cheer. Don’t chuck­le. The man is a threat to the republic.

He con­tin­ues to under­mine faith in the elec­toral process, wild­ly claim­ing that “thou­sands” of dead peo­ple vot­ed last Novem­ber, in an elec­tion that was “the crime of the cen­tu­ry.” How come? Joe Biden and the Democ­rats used “COVID-19 and the mail-in bal­lots to steal an elec­tion,” with Trump adding: “What hap­pened to this coun­try in that last elec­tion is a disgrace.”

He cheered on efforts by Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tures to lim­it and restrict vot­ing rights, shout­ing out false­hoods about drop box­es and mail-in bal­lots. With allowances only for mail-in bal­lots for the sick, he advo­cat­ed that all Amer­i­cans be required to line up on Elec­tion Day. Restore hours-long lines in minor­i­ty precincts.

With the nation slow­ly return­ing to post-pan­dem­ic nor­mal­cy, Trump trum­pet­ed what has become the right wing’s lie of the hour.

Trump demo­nized Dr. Antho­ny Fau­ci, direc­tor of the Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases, blamed Chi­na for the nov­el coro­n­avirus and – in one line that real­ly went over – demand­ed $10 tril­lion in “repa­ra­tions.”

The dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign – waged morn­ing to mid­night on Rupert Mur­doch’s prof­it gen­er­at­ing Fox cable chan­nel – has a trio of goals.

Dis­tract pub­lic atten­tion from a vast­ly effec­tive vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign. Draw atten­tion away from the Trump regime’s lag­gard and chaot­ic response to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Dump on the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, which the Biden admin­is­tra­tion has rejoined.

As in all things Trumpy, there is self-celebration.

“Now every­body is agree­ing that I was right when I very ear­ly on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, some­times referred to as the Chi­na Virus [but only by racists]. To me it was very obvi­ous, from the begin­ning, but I was bad­ly crit­i­cized, as usu­al. Now they’re all say­ing, ‘He was right’.”

We are like­ly to see much more of this in weeks ahead.

While Amer­i­can pres­i­dents by tra­di­tion keep a low pro­file after leav­ing office – except for Ronald Reagan’s trip to Japan where the Gip­per was paid $3 mil­lion to give two speech­es – Trump is hit­ting the hus­tings with cam­paign-style speech­es. He is play­ing king­mak­er, using Saturday’s appear­ance to endorse Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Budd for North Carolina’s open Sen­ate seat.

He is rous­ing fol­low­ers to put the fear of God in Repub­li­can office hold­ers who do not do his bid­ding. A con­ven­tion of Geor­gia Repub­li­cans on Sat­ur­day booed Gov­er­nor Bri­an Kemp, who refused to over­turn Joe Biden’s Novem­ber vic­to­ry in the Peach Tree State. And he is lay­ing ground­work for a 2024 run.

Daugh­ter-in-law Lara Trump, on Sat­ur­day, said “the Don­ald” has gone two-for-two in car­ry­ing North Car­oli­na. Why not make it three-for-three, she asked.

Of course, that assumes Trump won’t be “rein­stat­ed” to the White House this August, as a result of Ari­zona Sen­ate Repub­li­cans efforts to “recount” Mari­co­pa Coun­ty bal­lots or per­haps the lat­est Geor­gia lawsuit.

In a new video for the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee, Trump declares: “We’re gonna take back the Sen­ate, take back the House and we’re gonna take back the White House – and soon­er than you think.”

Up front in the Greens­boro, North Car­oli­na, audi­ence was ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows. The New York Times has just exposed that Mead­ows repeat­ed­ly pres­sured the Jus­tice Depart­ment to inves­ti­gate con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the 2020 elec­tion, in weeks before Trump left office (and insti­gat­ed the Jan­u­ary 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol).

Jus­tice was expect­ed to “inves­ti­gate” a the­o­ry that Trump oppo­nents in Italy had deployed mil­i­tary tech­nol­o­gy and satel­lites to remote­ly tam­per with vot­ing machines in the Unit­ed States to switch Trump votes to Joe Biden.

At the same time, of course, Trump was pres­sur­ing Geor­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er, “So look, all I want to do is this. I just want to fine 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”

Trump is now out to purge Raf­fensperg­er, a Repub­li­can who is up for reelec­tion in 2022. He has endorsed Repub­li­can chal­lenger Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jody Hice.

Trump is not only prep­ping to run again, but he is run­ning from mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions, includ­ing in his old home state. The comp­trol­ler of the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion was called before a spe­cial grand jury on Fri­day, as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion by the Man­hat­tan Dis­trict Attor­ney and New York State Attor­ney General.

They are look­ing at pos­si­ble crim­i­nal manip­u­la­tion of prop­er­ty valuations.

It will be argued, of course, that Trump is hurt­ing Repub­li­cans’ prospects in 2022 with his false claims and con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, and by seek­ing to purge such Repub­li­can office­hold­ers as Sen­a­tor Lisa Murkows­ki, R‑Alaska, and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Liz Cheney, R‑Wyoming. Nor is the party’s image helped by Sen­a­tor Mitch McConnell, R‑Kentucky, blam­ing Trump for the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion, then say­ing he would vote in 2024 to put Trump back in the White House.

Still, then “45th Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States,” as Trump fash­ions him­self, has a big fol­low­ing who believe his fantasies.

Even the rel­a­tive­ly sub­dued North Car­oli­na crowd erupt­ed in cheers when he false­ly declared: “I’m not the one try­ing to under­mine Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. I’m the one who’s try­ing to save it.” They also cheered lusti­ly for restric­tions designed to stop Black, Brown, Indige­nous, and young peo­ple from voting.

Lies work when repeat­ed often enough, and not refuted.

Just remem­ber los­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates whose man­agers have declared: “The Amer­i­can peo­ple are too smart to believe some­thing like that.”

Music to the ears of Lee Atwa­ter in 1988 and Karl Rove in 2004.

Trump is back.

Expect a sum­mer full of ral­lies, camp fol­low­ers spout­ing Q‑Anon non­sense, and Trump leav­ing the stage to ova­tions that would send Hitler to bed happy.

About the author

Joel Connelly is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor who has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced "Whoops") and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “Donald Trump erects a tower of lies for the midterms and a bid to regain power in 2024”

Comments are closed.