Calling out Donald Trump for hypocrisy may seem like a needlessly redundant exercise, but occasionally there are episodes of sanctimony that are so pernicious they simply can’t be ignored. And one of those episodes is playing out now on Trump’s Twitter feed as he feebly lashes out at one of his congressional critics that he fears most.
Several days ago the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, was awarded four “Pinocchios” by the Washington Post fact checker, Glenn Kessler. It was a controversial call that may be holding Schiff to an overly strict standard.
The issue concerned Schiff’s answer to a question from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on whether he or his staff had “contact” with the Trump whistleblower prior to the filing of a complaint. Schiff said that there was no contact but, in fact, the whistleblower did speak with a Committee staffer, who merely advised him to file his complaint with the Intelligence community Inspector General. No details of the complaint were disclosed, and there was no other coordination of any kind. So is it really considered “contact” if all they did was to tell someone the proper channels to go through?
Despite these facts, Trump and his surrogates in right-wing media immediately seized on this issue to falsely accuse Schiff of some sort of deviancy. Trump even accused Schiff of treason and impotently demanded that he resign. Of course all that shows is that Trump is an ignoramus who is completely clueless about both treason and the limits of presidential authority. However, in his excitement to express his hostility in that infantile manner he is known for, Trump posted a tweet with a doctored version of the song “I Got No Strings” from Walt Disney’s animated classic “Pinocchio.”
LYIN’ SHIFTY SCHIFF! pic.twitter.com/vSZgFz9fIS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2019
The substance of this video is typically littered with lies and dishonest White House talking points. The truth, as noted above, illustrates that, while Schiff may not have been sufficiently clear, he did not lie or intend to mislead. Trump, on the other hand, is a notorious liar. In fact, the Washington Post has documented more than 12,000 lies by Trump since his inauguration. Converted to “Pinocchios” that’s about 48,000, compared to only four for Schiff.
Making matters worse, Trump’s tweet is a blatant violation of intellectual property laws. The video and the music it contains is owned by Disney and is being used without permission. The theft of intellectual property is an issue that Trump has spoken about on numerous occasions, primarily to criticize China. This occurred most recently just six weeks ago:
Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years. They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won’t let that happen! We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
There’s a lot of idiocy in that tweet, but for the time being let’s focus on the copyright theft. Because that’s something Trump does with frequency. Other recent examples include:
- A Trump tweet was taken down for stealing the work of Nickelback.
- He was censured for misappropriating music from the score of Warner Bros. “The Dark Knight Rises.”
- Aerosmith demanded he stop playing “Livin’ on the Edge” at his rallies.
- Pharrell sent him a legal notice to quit using his hit “Happy.”
- R.E.M. sent a cease and desist letter to prohibit his use the song “Everybody Hurts.”
Twitter removed a Trump campaign video that used a Queen song at the request of the band.
So while Trump is adamant that China not be permitted to engage in the theft of intellectual property, he thinks it’s entirely fine for him to do so – repeatedly. He’s a recidivist thief. And it’s wholly in character for him to believe that he can do whatever he wants, even if he’s chastised others for doing the same thing. That’s a textbook trait of malignant narcissists.
In addition to those incidents itemized above, Stephen Colbert actually made two demands that Trump stop stealing his work. One was about a year ago when he put Trump on notice for cribbing his famous monologue about trusting one’s gut more than one’s brain. What’s sad is that Colbert’s original piece was a joke, but Trump was serious. The other one was just this week when Colbert castigated Trump for stealing his idea to dig a moat at the border and stock it with alligators (video below). Once again, Colbert was kidding, Trump, incredibly, was not. Which means that Trump is not just a thief, he’s a raving lunatic. And in his pathetic and dishonest attempt to flame Rep. Schiff, he winds up burning himself.
UPDATE: Trump has upped the ante is now accusing both Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and others of treason. More proof that his dementia is accelerating rapidly.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) October 3, 2019