It should come as no surprise when Donald Trump makes an unsubstantiated comment. Since he took office, he has made over 20,000 false or misleading statements. Yet, it is his most recent statement about former Vice President Joe Biden that goes beyond the pale.
In his usual ranting, uncontrolled, diarrhea of the mouth style Trump stated that Biden would eliminate guns (a typical Republican claim that has never come to fruition) will abolish religion and, most outlandishly, “hurt the Bible, hurt God”.
Observers dropped their collective jaws. If anything, there are those who want to use Biden’s Catholicism against him, the same way they did to Kennedy almost 60 years earlier. So, attacking Biden on his “lack of religion” makes zero sense to many Republicans.
And while Trump has made multiple racist comments, he was quick to jump on Biden’s gaffe, which essentially claimed that all Blacks are alike. Unlike Trump, Biden apologized for his comment, but this didn’t stop Trump from Tweeting that Biden’s comment “lost the Black vote” while continuing, without evidence, to claim that he has “done more for African-Americans than anyone”.
The phrase, “has done more than…” is something Trump and his followers are more than happy to repeat yet, when pushed, are unable to provide a shred of evidence. When commenting about the coronavirus, he claims to have saved millions when in actuality the CDC states 36,000 lives could have been saved if the country had gone into lockdown earlier.
As so many states reopened ahead of CDC guidelines, there is no telling how many lives could have been saved by following CDC advice.
Does this stop him? Absolutely not! Instead, he will shift to making another unsubstantiated claim as he did in his recent Axios interview. Bringing out charts and papers that allegedly supported his claim, Trump angrily shouted “You can’t do that!” when interviewer Jonathan Swan pointed to errors in Trump’s reasoning.
A favorite tactic of Trump is to attack an opponent with a demeaning, and quite childish, nickname. He has dubbed Joe Biden “Sleepy Joe”, which somehow is supposed to denigrate his mental capacity. Trump has claimed to “know more than…” practically anyone on numerous occasions. Going back to the Axios interview, when asked to provide evidence for his claims, Trump cited unnamed books and manuals, yet was unable to provide them when the interviewer called his bluff.
Still, in ads, Trump supporters continued to question Biden’s mental fitness while Trump pushed his own mental acuity by citing a test that required him to repeat the phrase, “Person, woman, man, camera, TV” which is actually a test for dementia. Pretty sad for someone who claims to be a “stable genius” and “like really smart” and is unable to pronounce Yosemite or Thailand correctly.
As the campaign reaches its conclusion, there will no doubt be a ramping up of unsubstantiated claims. Like so many of them, his base will eat them up like so much toxic candy.
This time, let’s hope saner minds prevail.