Former Trump employees have warned that as objectionable as the president may sound in public, he’s even worse behind closed doors. Such was the case last Friday when Trump spoke to Republican National Committee donors at Mar-a-Lago. According to Axios, organizers were so concerned with Trump’s private comments leaking that they made attendees seal their cell phones in magnetized pouches. Though the measure may have prevented the release of audio recordings of the president’s speech, a few donors gave Axios a run-down of proceedings. They were as strange as one might expect and, yes, race was involved.
During what one donor described as a “bizarre tangent” about his seclusion in the White House over the holidays, Trump allegedly joked that Secret Service agents were wearing blackface. The donor said that Trump described looking out the curtain of the White House and seeing the agents “in the trees, on the lawn,” and that they were wearing night-vision goggles. “They’re in blackface,” Trump said, adding that “maybe they have to take them away,” because of it. The two sources who relayed the account to Axios said they assumed Trump was referencing the controversy surrounding Democratic Virginia governor Ralph Northam, who last month admitted he wore blackface in the ’80s and which everyone seems to have forgotten about.
It didn’t end there. Responding to recent comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that the GOP has been using to claim she’s anti-Semitic, Trump reportedly went ahead and slapped the label on the entire party. “The Democrats hate Jewish people,” he reportedly said bluntly before going on about how much he’s done for Israel since taking office. This of course is not true. After Trump said last week that the Democratic party has become “anti-Jewish,” the Washington Post dropped some statistics proving the claim has no bearing in reality. Not only are 32 of the 34 Jewish Americans in Congress Democrats, over 70 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and a poll released in October 2018 found that 74 percent of Jewish-American voters planned to vote for Democratic candidates in the midterms.
Saying Democrats hate Jews may have been Trump’s most irresponsible claim of the night, but it wasn’t his most ridiculous lie. According to Axios, Trump tried to convince donors that he didn’t actually call Apple CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple” last week during a meeting with American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Trump allegedly said that the stories about the gaffe were “fake news” and that he actually said “Tim Cook Apple” really fast, but no one heard the “Cook.” Working against the president’s contention here is that there’s video showing that he clearly just said “Tim Apple.”
Watch Trump call Tim Cook ‘Tim Apple’ to his face pic.twitter.com/z7jqx4btUU
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 11, 2019
On Monday morning, Trump ditched the “Tim Cook Apple” lie and made up a new one about how saying “Tim Apple” was simply “an easy way to save time & words.” The previous Saturday, Trump rambled nonsensically for over two hours at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
At a recent round table meeting of business executives, & long after formally introducing Tim Cook of Apple, I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words. The Fake News was disparagingly all over this, & it became yet another bad Trump story!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2019
Carelessly joking about blackface and tossing around claims like “Democrats hate Jewish people” is more pernicious than Trump’s inability to speak properly, but the fact that he would try to lie about something so stupid is a revealing look at the president’s pathology. Saying “Democrats hate Jewish people” is bad, but it also isn’t much more than a ham-fisted version of the types of lies Republicans tell every day — it was said to divide the nation and to pit an ethnic group against the opposition party. Brazenly lying about flubbing Tim Cook’s name, which no one actually cares about, is a terrifying reminder that Trump is almost totally disassociated from reality. His lies are not calculated ahead of time; they are part of his nature as someone who has no regard for what is actually happening in the world. No lie is too small. It doesn’t matter if there’s video evidence proving the contrary.
One would think the president of the United States harboring such a confrontational relationship with reality is a bad thing, but the donors sitting under a tent at Mar-a-Lago Friday night didn’t seem to mind. According to Axios’ sources, the “crowd roared with laughter throughout” the speech.