Journalists do not hold Donald Trump to the same standard as other candidates. When he makes grand, sweeping, and ridiculously unsupportable statements, they let it go — apparently thinking that the silly nature of the statements is self-evident. Maybe they are — to educated, intelligent, and informed people. But those aren’t the people still making up their minds about who should be President.
This idea that we apply a different standard to Trump is likely to be a running theme here. Today, let me start the discussion by showing you this video:
“Nobody knows banking better than I do.” “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.” “Nobody knows health care better than Donald Trump.” “I think I know more about foreign policy than anybody running.” Etc. etc. etc.
All but about two of you think these statements are obvious piffle. Why bother demonstrating they’re false, when anyone can see that right off the bat? you think.
That’s a mistake.
If another candidate made any of these statements, journalists would call them on it, and hard. You know more about foreign policy . . . than anyone running? Then answer this specific question, and that one. For example: you can’t name terrorists who are well known to thousands of counterterror experts, sir — and to several of the other candidates on the stage. It’s not a gotcha question if you said you know more than anybody else.
Trump said in The Art of the Deal that he uses “truthful hyperbole” — calling it “an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.” Except the “truthful” part is a lie. Hyperbole is a hyperbole. Exaggeration is exaggeration. It’s why Trump claims, over and over, that he is worth more than $10 billion when he clearly isn’t. John Fund:
Trump became president of his father’s real-estate organization in 1974. His share of his father’s empire as one of five siblings was $40 million. As the National Journal has pointed out, If someone were to invest $40 million in a S&P 500 index in 1974, reinvest all dividends, and have to pay capital gains he’d wind up with about $3.4 billion in 2015. Trump claims to be worth over $10 billion but has admitted in a 2007 deposition he frequently exaggerates his wealth. Bloomberg currently puts it at $2.9 billion, while Forbes puts it at $4 billion. So Trump’s actual wealth probably is about as much as he would have accumulated if he had taken his dad’s money and put it into an index fund.
Trump isn’t a successful businessman. He’s a rich kid who got a bunch of money from Daddy. He could have done nothing at all — no “deals,” no bankruptcies, no nothing — and gotten as much money or more as he has today.
Yet he lies about it. He continually claims to be worth over $10 billion, and nobody ever squarely calls him on it. They would, if he were anyone else. Again: I think they assume people know better. But people don’t.
The Trump phenomenon would be over tomorrow if, in a debate, moderators spent 30 minutes asking each candidate how they would do any number of things, and then pointed out each time the candidate failed to say how they would do it. Trump never says how he would do anything. But journalists let it go. I think they’re scared to attack him because of the jihad he would unleash, as he did with Megyn Kelly.
Candidates can’t it around and wait for journalists to do this. They have to attack Trump themselves. But the candidates (with the exception of Ted Cruz, who is attacking Trump these days) do the same as the journalists. They attack each other and sit around assuming Trump is going to blow himself up. Not happening. I think they’re scared to attack him too. Except for Cruz.
Nate Silver says:
Republicans have tried everything to stop Trump but this one weird trick.https://t.co/W3PHTS4bGy
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 10, 2016
The “one weird trick” is to treat him as the front-runner and attack him.
The attacks work, when you actually bother to try them — because the truth hurts Trump. He is all about making vague promises to chump suckers. He is a liar. He exaggerates habitually.
Any other candidate who did this would be savaged. It’s time to start savaging Donald Trump.