October 6, 2022

Trump told diplomats a bizarre fake story about how CNN built and tore down a $2 million stage

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Another day, another incredibly bizarre lie from the President of the United States.


CNN‘s Daniel Dale has reported via Twitter that Trump recently hit U.S. diplomats with a whopper during a closed-door meeting in New York. The president claimed that CNN (one of his recurring favorite “fake news” targets) built a “beautiful studio” for the North Carolina 9th special election which they planned to keep up for weeks if the Democratic candidate won. When the Republican emerged victorious CNN tore the entire thing—which Trump alleged cost around $2 million—down that same night. The story is a complete fabrication.

As Dale explained, CNN never built such a set in the first place. It’s an incredibly weird thing to make up, even by Trumpian standards, and was presumably yet another hamfisted effort by our serially mendacious president to smear CNN as an apparatus of the Democratic Party. This is the kind of right-wing, fever dream, paranoid fantasy that used to be relegated to internet backwaters like InfoWars but which has become mainstream with the president’s help.

There are two Americas now. One lives in reality, in a world of verifiable facts and truths. The other, the MAGA movement, lives in a fantasy world where reality is dictated by whatever happens to dribble out of the president’s mouth. It doesn’t matter how obviously false and self-serving a claim is, if Trump says it there’s a disturbingly large chunk of the electorate who will believe it.

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As Dale pointed out, Bloomberg has gotten ahold of the transcript of the president’s weird invented story. In it, it’s revealed that Trump said that CNN is losing its “ass” because the company is “building studios all over the place,” another claim for which he offered no evidence.  He also rambled on and on about “stars” in a perplexing fashion that once again raises the possibility that he is in the later stages of cognitive decline. Reading his scattered, false statements one can’t help worry for the future of the country. The most powerful man in the world is deeply unwell.

In the grand scheme of things, this Trump lie is fairly benign compared to some of his more pernicious claims but it is deeply, deeply weird. How fundamentally unhinged does one have to be for a story like this to land as sane, let alone smart.

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Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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