Trump's "Last night in Sweden": is he lying or confused?

Kremlinology is about determining what rational actors are doing. Trumpology is about determining what a crazy or thinks-he's-crazy-like-a-fox actor is doing.

The latest example occurred at Donald Trump's rally in Melbourne, Florida yesterday where he said, among a great many other things, this:

We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible.

Since nothing notable happened in Sweden the night before, that's left Trumpologists scratching their heads. The night before Trump's speech, Fox News discussed a documentary about crimes refugees commit in Sweden. Could Trump have confused that documentary with an actual terror attack? This has also resulted in the same old Trump opponents mocking Trump for what's now a Trump administration habit of making up terror attacks that didn't happen.

And, it's shown yet again that Trump isn't credible. But, if you're unprincipled and have more loyalty to Trump than to the U.S. - such as Breitbart News and Scott Adams - then things like this are all part of Trump playing twelfth dimensional chess. Under the "Trump is really a genius despite everything" theory, Trump knows he's lying but does it to make a point. Trump wasn't confusing a specific incident that happened on a specific day with the documentary, he did it to bring up the issue of "rapefugees". Most Trump supporters are familiar with that issue from Fox or Breitbart, so they'll know what Trump was talking about even if nothing happened the day before. Trump the Super Genius could even be trying to implant false facts in the minds of his supporters in order to scare them into continuing to support him, in the same way that hucksters hyping a 1950s vampire movie might try to scare movie patrons into thinking that there was a vampire attack in a neighboring town.

Trump's unprincipled enablers will defend that by falsely claiming that if Trump had just told the truth, it wouldn't have the same impact. "See, he's got them talking about Sweden", they'll say. In a better world, Trump would make valid, completely fact-based arguments and use that moral high ground to undercut his opponents. That would greatly help the U.S., but the Breitbart News/Scott Adams types could care less about that.

Or, this could all just be unintentional, and Trump is someone who doesn't care about getting things right. He saw part of the documentary and confused it with something that had just happened. Despite having access to more information than almost anyone else on the planet, he didn't bother to check what he was going to say. Either he's confused and doesn't care about checking his facts, or he's lying. Either one isn't good.

UPDATE: Trump has tweeted an explanation [1]:

My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.

Under the "Trump is a Super Genius" theory, bringing up a terror attack that never happened could be related to the earlier, since-proved-wrong Trump claim debunked in e.g. USA Today's "Media covered most of 78 terror attacks Trump said 'not even being reported'". Under that theory, he's continuing to drive a wedge between the media and The People. The problem with that is that eventually even Trump supporters are going to reach their limit of being lied to. And, the number of people who are prone to believe Breitbart and Fox News is as rigid as the number prone to believe Huffington Post and MSNBC. If Trump were actually smart and put the USA first, he'd concentrate on facts and seek to undercut those who actually do wrong to their base.

For instance, if Trump thinks Sweden is underreporting rapes by refugees, then he has the means to get more accurate data. If he thinks a media source isn't reporting the situation in Sweden accurately, then determine the actual situation and call out that report specifically. If Trump accused CNN of broadcasting a deceptive report and they had actually done that, then they and others would give it lots of coverage and might issue a correction. I've posted hundreds of posts about deceptive media reports; see the topics page. Trump isn't doing those of us who want better reporting any good. If all of this was intentional, then he's just playing a cheap and ultimately ineffective game.

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[1] twitter . com/realDonaldTrump/status/833435244451753984