The first time Trump tweeted about it, it was fucked up enough: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” The fuck did that mean, “tapes,” with the suspicious quotation marks around it? Is that supposed to provide him with an out, like when he first put the quotes around “wires tapped” when he accused President Obama of spying on him?
Trump and his staff teased about whether or not there were tapes of Oval Office meetings, to the point that congressional committees with subpoena power started to get antsy about it. The Trumparazzi were coy, saying that they’d tell the public at some vague point in the future. Trump himself said that journalists would be “disappointed” with the answer, which is a way of saying, “I ain’t got any tapes,” but not really a definitive “yes” or “no.”
Now, finally, forced to say something before shit got litigious, Trump sent out another fucked up thing (in two tweets): “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.” Motherfucker, you’re the one who brought up all that shit and the idea that there might be tapes. Or, you know, “tapes.”
You can take this, as David Frum did, that Trump was forced to admit he lied and that every leader around the world will think, “Fuck this lying piece of orangutan dung.” But, see, we all knew he was a liar. The only people Donald Trump gives a fuck about are, in order of importance, 1. Donald Trump. And, as proven by the slavering love given to him last night at his pep rally of doom, the only thing that Trump’s idiot hordes give a fuck about is that their mad king continues to piss off liberals. They’ll be gasping for breath in their black lungs that don’t get covered by insurance, but, yeah, stick it to the pussies, Mr. President, hack, hack, hack.
I’m pretty sure, at this point, heads of states understand that they are dealing with a sociopath and have adjusted accordingly, mostly to our detriment. But the real fear here is not that China’s leaders will think that Trump’s not telling the truth. The real issue is that China’s leaders, congressional leaders, and most Americans have no fucking clue what the fuck Trump is going to do and whether he’s telling the truth about anything. And the real problem is that there are too many Americans who don’t give a happy monkey fuck whether or not he’s lying.
In other words, chaos is Trump’s strongest weapon, and he wields it without cease. He is deliberately sowing chaos into the politics of the nation and, indeed, the world. To put it simply, this crazy son of a bastard is completely unpredictable, something Trump himself bragged about himself during the campaign, as if it was an asset in an unstable world to be the most unstable force.
His speech to a group of some of the dumbest victims in American history last night in Iowa City is a prime example. He rambled about his victory (again), he said that Mexico would pay for the wall (his “Free Bird”), and he bizarrely asserted that he would propose legislation that is exactly the same as a law that’s been around since Bill Clinton signed it (on welfare benefits for immigrants). He lied about the Paris Accord, he lied about environmental policy, he lied about arms sales to Saudi Arabia, he lied, lied, lied.
Which gets us back to the “tapes.” Of course there are no tapes. Or recordings. Or are there and he knows that they make him look bad? Or does someone else have recordings, which Trump implies is a possibility? What the fuck is the full story? No, no, of course, there are no tape. Or are there? That’s the nature of his answer.
Again, it is wrong to read this as anything other than an attempt to keep his opponents off their game, forcing them to reply to lies, which he follows with something dunderheaded like, “Yeah, like you know.” And it keeps him just popular enough to give Republicans cover to enact the worst policies while we try to figure out what fucking world we’re living in now, a world that is so destabilized that the ground underneath our feet is ever-shifting until it collapses and swallows us and, god, please let that be soon.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on June 22, 2017, on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.