SYNDICATED COLUMN: Clinton Attacks Trump’s Lies…with Lies

Hillary Clinton’s strategists have identified Donald Trump’s innumerable lies as a major weakness in his campaign for president. They’re smart. Trump does lie a lot. He often gets caught lying. Voters want their next president to be trustworthy.

What the Clintonites and their allies in the media don’t seem to understand, however, is that if your attacks on your rival’s truthfulness are themselves based on lies, your efforts are doomed to failure.

In a recent op-ed column for the New York Times, Charles M. Blow wrote that Trump “is prone to making up his own set of false facts.” (Let’s leave aside the fact that, by definition, facts are true.)

“[Trump] wildly exaggerated the number of immigrants in this country illegally and ‘inner city’ crime rates,” Blow wrote. “He said President Obama founded ISIS and that the Obama administration was actively supporting Al Qaeda in Iraq, the terrorist group that became the Islamic State.”

I like Blow and often agree with him — though, for the life of me, I will never understand why he was so hard on Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries and so willing to excuse Hillary Clinton’s dismal record on issues of concern to African-Americans and LGBTQ people. Now he appears to have embraced the two-party trap, using his platform to bash Trump. That’s his right, of course. What I find fascinating is Blow’s willingness to resort to untruth to make his case for Hillary. Is it really so difficult to focus on Trump and his well-documented lies?

Consider the above quote, for example. It’s true that Trump said that there were 30 million illegal immigrants in the United States. (The real number is closer to 11 million.) Follow Blow’s link, however, and you find that he said that in July 2015 – well over a year ago. Nowadays, he acknowledges the widely accepted 11 million figure, albeit with the caveat that government statistics shouldn’t be trusted because they are compiled by incompetents. “Our government has no idea. It could be three million. It could be 30 million,” he said recently.

Trump is right. It’s impossible to know for sure, although the range is probably narrower than his example. The point is, the Times and Charles Blow willfully misrepresented Trump’s position by dragging up an ancient quote, since corrected. It’s the kind of thing Trump does, and it’s sleazy.

Similarly, it’s a stretch to say that Trump “wildly exaggerated” inner-city crime rates. Politifact has backed away from their previous assessment that he had lied about an uptick in urban crime. It’s pretty clear that Trump was referring to the widely reported rise in crime in cities like Chicago. The media has seized upon his use of the modifier “record” in the phrase “record high”; while crime has indeed been higher historically, shootings have spiked in places like Chicago.

The Islamic State claim is particularly unworthy of a storied newspaper like the New York Times. When Donald Trump called President Obama “the founder of ISIS,” it’s obvious to everyone what he meant. He was being colloquial. He was speaking like a normal person. Obviously Obama wasn’t literally at the founding of ISIS. Trump meant that Obama’s policies – namely his financing and arming of the radical Islamic fundamentalists in Syria’s civil war, a faction of which became ISIS, and the drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq which created a vacuum of power — effectively created the group as the monster that we know it as today. Many Middle East experts agree with this assessment, as do mainstream political observers, including some who oppose Trump. Blow’s nitpicking is unbecoming, inaccurate and so transparent as to be totally ineffectual.

Another Times columnist, Frank Bruni, recently repeated the oft-cited claim that Trump treasonously “encouraged” Russian hackers to steal U.S. government records and interfere with the election when he sarcastically suggested: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Hillary Clinton State Department] emails that are missing.”

Give me a break. I’m not going to vote for The Donald. I think he’s dangerous. But everyone knows exactly what he meant. He wasn’t encouraging Russian hacking. He was making a point in a humorous way: that it’s ridiculous and frustrating that Secretary Clinton got away with deleting so many public records.

Why are Hillary’s people resorting to the exact same style of lying that they claim to criticize? I don’t know if it’s because the truth of some claim is of little concern to them compared to it possible effectiveness, or if it’s because they believe that the numerous legitimate criticisms of Trump — his breathtaking ignorance of history and politics, his glib encouragement of violence at his rallies, his inexperience in government, his authoritarian tendencies — are unlikely to get much traction.

What I do know is that, unlike Trump, they aren’t fooling anyone.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form.)


17 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Clinton Attacks Trump’s Lies…with Lies

  1. > if your attacks on your rival’s truthfulness are themselves based on lies, your efforts are doomed to failure.

    If that were true, we would never elect anybody. One could judge the most successful liar by the number of votes they garner.

    > the Obama administration was actively supporting Al Qaeda in Iraq

    That is true, (although they aren’t supporting them nearly as well as Bush did, let alone Reagan..)

  2. “What I do know is that, unlike Trump, they aren’t fooling anyone.”
    That’s a blanket statement that doesn’t really hold true, because there are a lot of fools out there — on both sides.

    Vote for Jill Stein! 🙂

  3. This is why I keep coming back. Ted’s honest even about his opponents.

    I will say that considering the track records of those experienced in government, Trump’s inexperience is a positive.

    More importantly, the violence at his rallies has been nearly all perpetrated by protesters.

    • That may be true, but by offering to pay their legal fees he has encouraged that violence, don’t you think?

      • Sure, however we are talking one off the cuff remark that he shouldn’t have made that has been absolutely beaten to death in the media versus many, many incidents of actual violence against Trump and his supporters at *their* rallies.

        Still the most amazing to me was the man who jumped the stage and got an interview with CNN as a “protestor.” Yes, I can just imagine a man jumping onto Hillary’s stage getting the same treatment…

        Where is the condemnation of these attacks from the leaders on the Left? All I hear is what boils down to “well the protesters wouldn’t be violent if Trump’s language wasn’t so offensive.”

      • @ Jack Heart –

        I’m afraid you’ll have to be more specific. To what “many, many incidents” are you referring, exactly? (Perhaps I missed something, since I live in Mexico.)

  4. A news story appeared in the Washington Post in ’14. It seems tens of thousands of Baathists (secular Muslims) were imprisoned in Camp Bucca near Basra and subjected to ‘enhanced interrogation’ from ’03 until ’08. By ’08, most inmates were jihadists, and all were offered release, money, and weapons if they’d swear on the Noble Koran to go to Syria, overthrow the evil Syrian dictator, and never leave Syria under any circumstances. Most swore, were released, and given money and weapons.

    According to the Washington Post,(as it was back in ’14) the released jihadis then became the core of the Daesh, so Bush, jr was the founder, but more prisoners were released in ’09, so Obama helped create and supported the Daesh in Syria, but bombed them in Iraq, and they retaliated by murdering 3 Americans on YouTube, after which Obama had a problem: he had to punish them in Syria for the murders, but he still wanted them to overthrow the evil Syrian dictator, so he only gave the Kurds massive US air support in Kobani, while he allowed the Daesh to take Palmyra when he could easily have prevented it.


    Ms Stein published an article in the Guardian on 6 Sept saying she and Johnson should be in the debates, when the rules are set up to limit the debates to the duopoly. The last thing the Clintonbots want is for Ms Stein to get any publicity, and they know how to make certain that does not happen.

  5. Ted,

    Americans want a “trustworthy” candidate? I question “trustworthy.” Oh, yes, I agree, but I think that when people answer “yes” in the polls to the question of “trustworthiness” they are answering “yes” incorrectly.

    I think people are supporting Trump because — even though he says things that contradict themselves — he speaks simply. And “simply” is similar to “trustworthy” in a lot of minds.

    When a politician is asked a question and gives an evasive answer, people notice. “It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is” comes to mind as the classic example of that sort of evasiveness. And it’s a turnoff because, quite simply, when you have to parse every damned thing someone says and still come away wondering what loophole you didn’t spot, you can’t support that person. You can’t extend trust to someone who answers in complex paragraphs when the reply should have been “yes” or “no” or even “Hell, I don’t remember, it was years ago.”

    Thus, the person is no longer “trustworthy.”

    HRC is simply not trustworthy.

    • The Clintonbots (about 46% of all likely voters) know that the Clintons have always told the Trvth, the whole Trvth, and nothing but the Trvth.

      The Clintonbots all know that Bill was asked, ‘Did you ever have Missionary with that woman?’ and truthfully answered ‘No, I never,’ and, after the House asked the Senate to investigate, after a lengthy investigation, a majority of the Senate ruled that Bill was innocent of perjury.

      And many Clintonbots heard the pilot say there was a LOT of gunfire when the plane landed, and he cautioned his passengers to be careful, and it’s a miracle that none of the children that greeted St Hillary were shot.

      And a poster who calls himself Baslim says the FBI was very careless in their investigation, since he was a senior security officer in the military, and he knows that it’s been proven that St Hillary followed all protocols to the letter. on her e-mails, and was NEVER the least bit careless, but was always in full compliance with every single regulation.

      And 538 says the Clintonbots will carry the election.

      • At the risk of being called a Clintonbot (them’s fightin’ words!)

        People who are aware of the legal definition know that Bill did not commit perjury. In order to qualify as perjury, the question must be material to the case.

        Whether he had consensual sex with one woman is immaterial to the question of whether he harassed an entirely different woman.

        He may have lied under oath or he may have split hairs in a lawyerly fashion, but even the rabidly partisan Senate slimepuppies couldn’t justify calling it perjury.

        If lying about your sex life is cause for dismissal, then the overwhelming majority of of males in this country would be unemployed.

        “80% of males cheat in the USA – the rest cheat in Mexico”

  6. In a related issue, I see that the Republican side has come out with the notion of a “Hillary body-double.”

    Now, I dismiss that as being pretty out there. BUT, body doubles have been used in the past, by all sides of the political spectrum. And this serves as an example of how the Dems/Libs/Progressive always drop the ball. So far, I’ve encountered three items:
    1. HRC’s “aide” asking her to look in her eye and squeeze her fingers (a test for neurological disorder).
    2. A photo of HRC and her “double” waving their/her left hand with a difference in ring finger length being pointed out between the two photos.
    3. HRC (or her double) going out without the secret service detail.

    I’ll throw in a fourth item. The claim that HRC looked 10 years younger and 30 pounds lighter in the space of a couple hours. Now, that one, I know how to refute: depending on the camera’s settings, you can make someone look thinner (or fatter). So I can simply discard that one right off. And depending on lighting, I look either like I’ve just woken up in the gutter or I look pretty good, so I can dro pthat one too.

    But have the Dems refuted the first three items? I realize there are a lot of people that will simply stamp their feet and insist that HRC’s double is a clone grown in an Area 51 vat no matter what evidence to contradict that is presented. But has anyone run into explanations for the issue?