Trump’s Tells

Good poker players always look for their opponent’s tell. That is the thing the other player does when they are bluffing. Most politicians also have a tell. That is what they do or say when they are lying or grossly exaggerating, (is there a difference between the two in politics?). Donald Trump has several tells. Today I want to concentrate on just two of them. Let’s explore.

The first is when he says either “Trust me” or “Believe me”. There is an old adage that says: “Never trust a man who says ‘Trust me’.” That is sage advice! “Believe me” (which Trump uses more often) is simply a derivation of “Trust me.” Trump always uses one of those two phrases in conjunction with telling a lie or promising something that he can’t deliver.

As far as politicians of national prominence go, the reliance on those two phrases seems to be almost unique to Trump. I guess the rest are more polished.

The next tell is widely used by the right and a derivation of it goes back at least to the early days of right wing talk radio. I am speaking of the “Many people” line. When caught in a lie or wanting to justify a statement they know is false Trump and others on the right will say something along the lines of “Many people say”, “Common sense tells us” or “We all know”.

I want to know who these many people are. Do they have names? Are they knowledgeable? Are they credible? In the early days of right wing mythology people like Rush Limbaugh would echo falsehoods under the cover of the phrase “It has been reported”. That is like “Other people say.” Someone like Matt Drudge would print a falsehood, others would reprint or broadcast it and by the time Rush got on the air he simply reported other people’s falsehoods. This is not new. Al Franken outlined it in his 2003 book, Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.

Common sense is not a substitute for critical thinking. My reply to “We all know” is I don’t know or believe that and I’m part of “we”.

This is one of my shorter posts because it doesn’t take much before Trump reveals that he is lying. Watch for these tells the next time you hear him speak.

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