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Trump’s Parallel Reality

Trump held a Cabinet meeting earlier today in which he told a remarkable number of whoppers:

During the Obama years, that’s all I heard about: War with North Korea.

Trump was imagining things during those eight years, because no one seriously suggested that war with North Korea was at all likely at any point during Obama’s presidency. It was only during Trump’s first year in office that fears of war with North Korea dramatically increased in large part because of the belligerent rhetoric from the president and then-National Security Advisor McMaster. Trump is trying to claim that he solved a longstanding problem, but by telling such an egregious and easily checked lie he just reminds everyone that it was his bellicosity and reckless threats that escalated tensions with North Korea in 2017. If the risk of war has receded, that is not because Trump has “solved” anything, but only because he has stopped making blood-curdling threats to annihilate another country.

Trump went on to say this later in the meeting:

Look, I’ve been given a very tough hand. Because I came up here, we had an economy that was going down. We had an Iran problem. We had a Middle East problem. Take a look at what was going on in the Middle East. It’s a lot better now. You’re a lot smoother right now than anything you heard over the last eight years [bold mine-DL].

This is all nonsense, starting with the dishonest claim about the economy. But it’s the absurd claims about the Middle East that really stand out. The U.S. continues to enable the Saudi-led war on Yemen, and that war now threatens to devastate the port of Hodeidah and put the lives of millions of civilians at risk. Things are not “a lot better now” than they were before he took office. They are measurably and demonstrably worse, especially in Yemen. The Saudi coalition is in the process of committing a massive crime against humanity with U.S. backing as Trump says this. He has managed to take the worst Obama-era policy in Yemen and make it even worse than it already was, and he has done this on purpose to cater to the preferences of despotic regimes that have flattered and curried favor with him over the last few years. Trump’s description of his parallel reality unwittingly calls to mind his most reckless and destructive actions, and it shows how oblivious he is to their consequences.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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