Let’s talk a little bit about the way Donald Trump handles being proven wrong.
When it comes to being wrong, Mark Twain once warned readers “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” And Trump, who may or may not suffer from a pathological narcissistic personality disorder, thinks he knows for sure a lot of things that just ain’t so.
This week Trump reaffirmed his false belief that “3 to 5 million” people voted illegally in the 2016 election. He attributes these illegal votes to why he lost the popular vote. Conveniently, his popular vote loss by 3 million is precisely the number of votes he thinks were fraudulent. Like his birtherism previously, Trump has offered zero proof to back up this conspiracy theory.
In an sitdown with ABC News, Trump was pressed on this issue. He finally came up with a Pew study done in 2014, in which he said the research found widespread voter fraud taking place. Reporter David Muir had done his homework. No, the Pew study did not say that and the person who wrote that story in 2014, Jesse Richman, had specifically debunked Trump’s claims mere days before.
“Trump and others have been misreading our research and exaggerating our results to make claims we don’t think our research supports,” Richman says. “I’m not sure why they continue to do it, but there’s not much I can do about that aside from set the record straight.”
Believing something that turns out to be untrue is never a comfortable situation to be in. It’s human to resist admitting wrongness. But for most people, the idea of being flatly, blatently wrong is even more uncomfortable. Nobody wants to believe bullshit. Nobody, that is, except for Trump.
In the face of Muir’s real-time debunking of his nonsense, Trump reacted with sheer, unhinged insanity. Suddenly, the researcher at Pew that he had just staked his claim on was “groveling” and a fraud. It was not Trump that was wrong, it was everybody else.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 25, 2017
It’s not just painful to watch this unfold, it’s deeply disturbing. The President of the United States has perhaps the most unique job in the world. He needs to be able to confront reality with a sense of objectivity. Trump approaches it as one giant ego trip. He craves being right and can’t handle being wrong. When faced with facts that prove his assumptions were misplaced, he dismisses the facts and continues believing the things he knows that just ain’t so.
Featured image via Twitter