Suitable for the social-media age, Donald Trump’s brand of demagoguery is a flurry of lies, flung like so many impulsive tweets in speeches larded with self-congratulation and personal insults — a barrage designed to overwhelm any attempt at a tidy media report packaged for the 24-hour news cycle.
The presumptive Republican nominee for president made a campaign stop in Greensboro on June 14 — his 70th birthday — and turned in a speech in less than an hour that was characteristically heavy on fearmongering, a loose regard for facts, and the real estate developer-turned reality TV star-turned politician’s peculiar, rich-guy populist schtick. Here were lies that have long been debunked like the one about the United States giving Iran $150 billion, and spontaneous creations such as the unsupported assertion that protesters outside the event were burning American flags. Most of the fibs, distortions and manipulations echoed points made in his response to the Pulse nightclub shooting during a speech in New Hampshire the day before, while anticipating his frontal attack against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton a week later in New York.
And, it must be noted, Trump is an extraordinary candidate in an extraordinary election year, and some claims that seem outlandish or dubious are actually true.
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Donald J. Trump, Special Events Center at Greensboro Coliseum Complex, June 14, 2016
This place is packed. This is beautiful. Not a lot of notice either. We just wanted to be here. You know, we won North Carolina. That put us right over the top, thank you everyone. Thank you. And we’re gonna put our country over the top. We’re gonna make America great again, believe me.
So, I walked in, and there’s this great man, great guy that I’ve been — ‘happy birthday,’ oh, don’t tell me about…. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. This is a nice crowd, I’ll tell you what. I love you folks. Thank you, folks. I love you. I have a lot of property in North Carolina, and I like that. Have a lot of employees, and we pay ’em money big league. We have healthcare. We have education. We take good care of our people, I want to tell you that.
They’re great people. Great people. You know, I walk in and — I’ve been a fan of this man for a long time. And he wanted to come over and endorse, not only me, but you because this is a movement that we have going, folks. We have a movement going. And you people may have heard of him. He’s got a lot more courage than all of us. He won 200 races — King Richard Petty. [Petty briefly appears onstage.] He’s a great guy, I’ll tell you. So I said, ‘Richard, you want to speak.’ He said, ‘No, no. I want to drive. I want to drive.’ You know, now, politicians are all talk, no action, right? Richard Petty is the exact opposite of that.
So again, North Carolina’s a special place. And, you know, we went through a weekend the likes of which we should never have to see again. And I wrote a few things down that I want to read, because we can’t let this happen anymore. We have to be so tough, we have to be so strong, we have to be so vigilant. We can’t be led by weak, ineffective people. They’re weak and they’re ineffective. And, believe me, Hillary Clinton — weak, ineffective. I don’t know if you know she has 550 percent more people she wants to come in than Obama from a certain area where we just don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know who they are, where they’re coming from. There’s no documentation.
And the governors — I just left some great governors, including your, by the way, Pat, your governor — he’s doing a fantastic job. But I just left a whole group of governors, and they say these people are being put in their communities, and they don’t even know who they are. They don’t know where they’re being put. They’re like being snuck into certain communities. And government and governors don’t even know who’s coming into their community. What a mess we have. What a mess we have.
And I just wrote some of this down. We gotta do it. Because normally I talk about jobs. Which nobody can compete with us on jobs, believe me. We’re gonna bring ’em back from all these countries that have ripped us off like nobody’s ever been ripped off before. We’re gonna bring our jobs back, and guess what? We’re not gonna let our companies leave anymore. There’s gonna be a little bit of a repercussion when they start to leave. There’s gonna be repercussions. [Crowd chants, “USA, USA.”] Right.
So… [reading from a script] the killer’s parents emigrated from Afghanistan. As the Washington Times reported, the children of Muslim immigrant parents, they’re responsible for a growing number — for whatever reason — a growing number of terrorist attacks. The killer’s Afghan father supported the Taliban, which believes in violently oppressing womings [sic] and gays. Violently. We’re not talking anything else. We’re talking violently. Once again, we’ve seen that political correctness is deadly. They don’t want to talk about the problem. And I watched President Obama today. And he was more angry at me than he was at the shooter. And many people said that. One of the folks on television said, “Boy, has Trump gotten under his skin.” But he was more angry — and a lot of people said this — the level of anger — that’s the kind of anger he should have for the shooter and these killers that shouldn’t be here.