- 21 May 20
The prevailing view in progressive circles is that Donald Trump supporters are a bunch of loonies. But what if there is more to their sense that we are all constantly being lied to by the establishment media?
All Trump supporters are thick.
That’s the consensus in the progressive circles in which I move.
We don’t know whether to be amused or appalled or outraged at the sight of them in their beards and bandoliers, waving confederate flags and shouting their support for the gun lobby and closed borders and bellowing the bizarre belief that Jeff Bezos runs the world on behalf of a demonic clique of anti-American illuminati.
How can grown-up people believe such incredible things? And what is it about the US which generates such bubble-brained bigotry?
BALL OF SMOKE
Here’s another question. How can intelligent people continue to believe that the Kremlin intervened in the 2016 US presidential election with such subtlety and force as to deprive Hillary Clinton of the victory she was democratically entitled to and throw the election to Donald Trump?
There was news footage this month of Trump supporters demonstrating in Alabama against the covid-related lock-down. They seemed a dour bunch but did engage with a TV reporter during breaks from their chants of, “You’re fake news and you know you are.”
One demonstrator offered a smile as she said – as close to verbatim as I can manage – that “We know you have to go to work to make a living, but they are forcing you to tell lies.”
Here’s my next question: what if she’s right? What would the implication be if it turned out that the emblematic tale of Russian manipulation of the US election didn’t amount to anything more than a ball of smoke?
What if, on this particular question, Donald Trump is telling the truth?
Trump has been lying about virtually every aspect of his public and private life for decades. His word isn’t worth its weight in dirt. But that doesn’t mean his enemies have truth on their side.
Which brings us to Robert Mueller.
You don’t hear much of Mueller these days. But once upon a time, he was never out of the news. Appointed in April 2017 to investigate the claims of Russia-Trump collusion, he published his report in May last year.
Throughout this period, Mueller was hailed in the liberal media – New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Irish Times, CNN etc. – as the philosopher-king who would bring the truth down from the mountain.
Great was the chagrin when he reported last May that he’d found no evidence for the collusion claims.
Perhaps this needs underlining. No evidence has been produced, by Robert Meuller or anyone else, that Trump colluded with Putin to do Hillary Clinton down. It’s not that the evidence is incomplete or unconvincing or contradicted by a different narrative. It’s just not there.
Sure, there have been no end of oddballs skulking in the shadows in Moscow, Malta, Washington, London, Kiev and other exotic locations, emerging intermittently to button-hole passing journalists with offers of tasty nuggets of inside info. But nothing that a serious person would take seriously. Nothing to hold out to the world for inspection.
The Russiagate story has been fake news. Yet it has been repeated many thousands of times in hundreds of outlets. So, why should the woman from Alabama take on trust anything else Trump’s opponents say against him?
And who is Robert Mueller anyway, apart from being the brief darling of a haughty elite?
Mueller was number two at the Department of Justice when appointed director of the CIA by George W. Bush on September 4, 2011 – seven days before the September 11 attacks. He threw himself with a will into Bush’s “war on terror.”
On February 11, 2003, just a month before the US-led invasion of Iraq, Mueller told the Senate Select Committee on Defense and Security that the CIA had established that, “Seven countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Cuba, and North Korea – remain active in the United States and continue to support terrorist groups that have targeted Americans.”
He went on: “Baghdad has failed to disarm its weapons of mass destruction, wilfully attempting to evade and deceive the international community. Our particular concern is that Saddam Hussein may supply terrorists with biological, chemical or radiological material.”
This was a key moment in the drive to justify the attack on Iraq, which continues to send shudders across the region and pumps poison into the politics of the world. Mueller’s claim to the Senate committee prompted Special Agent Coleen Rowley to write to him warning that, “The Bureau will (not) be able to stem the flood of terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on Iraq.” She begged Mueller to bring her concern to the president.
She might as well not have bothered. Bush, Meuller and the rest of their faction of the bipartisan America First brigade had fixed their eyes on war and weren’t to be dissuaded.
This might help us understand the strange phenomenon whereby tens of millions of Americans continue to believe in Trump. They, or a majority among them, may be thick, but they aren’t fools.
They know a bunch of con artists when they see them.