Demonization of those who are different ‚ÄĒ in race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or even conviction ‚ÄĒ is a common thread in Trump‚Äôs power play. He directs it at the media in a different way.
Last week, ‚Äú60 Minutes‚ÄĚ correspondent Lesley Stahl recalled an exchange she had with Trump in 2016 in which she pressed him on why he repeatedly insults journalists. His response, according to Stahl, was: ‚ÄúYou know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.‚ÄĚ
For Trump, it‚Äôs all about manipulation, and he will lie, bully and demean to that end, even if his deceit is discovered.
On Saturday, Trump falsely claimed on Twitter:
‚ÄúThe Failing @nytimes quotes ‚Äėa senior White House official,‚Äô who doesn‚Äôt exist, as saying ‚Äėeven if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.‚Äô WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.‚ÄĚ
Well, it turns out that the official not only exists, but audio surfaced of him giving the briefing in the White House itself. And while he never uses the word ‚Äúimpossible,‚ÄĚ he describes a timeline that sounds impossible.
Trump has not apologized for that lie or corrected it, and the tweet is still available on Twitter.
This is the strategy: Never apologize. Just move on, create a new moment ‚ÄĒ one that rivals or even outshines the last ‚ÄĒ and change the subject. This way, you keep your detractors playing on your court and by your rules and you never play on theirs.
In the film, the Wizard of Oz finally confesses: ‚ÄúI‚Äôm a humbug!‚ÄĚ Trump never will.