When everything is a scandal, nothing is, except everything should be

One of the amazing things about Trump’s fatigue is what we have learned about the ability to accept an extraordinary amount of scandalous behavior and just essentially ignore it.  There’s such an insane amount of bad behavior from the Trump administration it is literally hard to keep up and have a sense of proportion (like, OMG, Scott Pruitt, for instance, that guy is worse than a 3rd world dictator!!).  Or as Paul Waldman points out that the oldest elected president ever has basically hidden his health records:

“Trump disseminated false medical records to fool the public about his health.” That is a headline you have never seen, though you should have.

If you’ve gotten tired of hearing how something President Trump did would have been a major or even career-ending scandal for any other candidate, I sympathize. But that fatigue is exactly the problem, because from the beginning of his run for president, Trump has been treated not just by different rules but by rules that indulge his most dangerous tendencies.

At the same time, we allow him to manipulate us into chasing false charges that he makes against other people. And if we don’t realize how pernicious this is, we’re going to keep making the same mistakes, especially in 2020 when Trump will have a Democratic opponent to slander…

As you may have heard by now, NBC News reported:

In February 2017, a top White House aide who was Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard, along with the top lawyer at the Trump Organization and a third man, showed up at the office of Trump’s New York doctor without notice and took all the president’s medical records.

That “New York doctor” is Trump’s former physician, Harold Bornstein, the source of the account. The “longtime personal bodyguard” is Keith Schiller, at the time a White House staffer…

In addition, Bornstein now admits that when he wrote a letter in December 2015 attesting to Trump’s good health, he was actually taking dictation from Trump himself.

Now here’s why this is important. At the time, everyone understood that was exactly what happened. The letter was not something any trained physician would write, and it was written in Trump’s distinctive sixth-grade braggadocio. It said “Mr. Trump has had a recent complete medical examination that showed only positive results,” that Trump’s blood work was “astonishingly excellent,” that “his physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” and finally, that “if elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” It could not have been more obvious that Trump was the actual author of the letter if it had been signed “Donald J. Trump, I mean Harold Bornstein.”…

As he once told his then-toady Billy Bush when Bush called him out (privately) for lying about how great the ratings for “The Apprentice” were: “People will just believe you. You just tell them, and they believe you.”

While this is something that should concern us each and every day, we need to be particularly on guard when the 2020 election begins. Trump is going to run a scorched-earth campaign against the Democratic nominee, not just of sneering ridicule but also of innuendo and outright slander. One way we can prepare for it is to stop treating the lies Trump tells — such as putting out false letters about his medical condition — as though they’re anything less than the scandal they ought to be.

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