If there’s one thing Donald Trump loves, it’s hyperbole. Everything he’s done is, “The Greatest, The Best or The Biggest.”
Last week, he may have finally done something that truly is the Greatest of its kind. No, it is not a trade deal or infrastructure package…but at a speech on Friday, Trump made what is arguably the greatest Freudian slip in the history of American politics.
On Friday, President Trump addressed an assortment of African American activists. He trundled onstage with his usual bluster and lies, then bragged about his record on race, conveniently forgetting the housing discrimination suit that he faced in the ’70s. Partway through the speech, Trump glanced down at his teleprompter and mangled the prepared remarks. With an authoritative poke of his finger the president confidently declared, “We will defraud…” then paused, awkwardly contorting his face. “We will stop defrauding all of the people of this country…” still more squirming then, “because they have defrauded the people of this country.”
Sigmund Freud, the famed Austrian psychiatrist, posited a number of theories, one of the most enduring being the Freudian slip. That is, when one says something he does not mean to but it shows what he truly believes.
American politics is littered with Freudian slips. For example, former Vice President Joe Biden recently referred to the President as “Donald Hump.” Given Trump’s serial infidelity and professed fondness for groping, this slip of the tongue seems all too appropriate.
When opining about the evils of Obamacare, former House Speaker Paul Ryan made a hideously revealing mistake, “We will not rest until healthcare is destroyed.” Since he became House Speaker, Ryan led many (thankfully unsuccessful) efforts that would have done just that for some 20 million Americans.
President George W. Bush said this while discussing national security: “They never stop thinking of new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” Two unpaid-for wars and one financial meltdown later, he appears to have been right. Richard Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, was accused of tax evasion, denied it, and was eventually caught red-handed. He told the American people, “I’m sorry for lying to you. I promise I won’t deceive you except in matters of this sort.” Look over the Nixon years and you will see that this is probably the most honest statement Vice President Agnew made.
“Facts are stubborn things,” Founding Father John Adams once said. President Reagan meant to quote him, but blurted out, “Facts are stupid things,” which foreshadows his line during the Iran-Contra scandal, “A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and best intentions tell me that’s true, but the facts and evidence tell me it’s not.” The Great Communicator, indeed.
But Trump’s “we will defraud,” quote outdoes all of them. Here are just a few examples of this huckster defrauding the American people: He convinced many of us that he was some sort of business genius, despite his wealth and real estate empire being inherited, numerous failed business ventures and five bankruptcies.
He claimed “No one is less racist than me,” and in private declared, “Black people are too stupid to vote for me.”
Mexico is not paying for the wall.
The US is not winning the trade war with China. But it must be noted that Trump quickly added, “We will stop defrauding the country.” Maybe he’ll give us an about-face?
Fraud bless America.