Instead of working for the public, Trump officials are scrambling to 'reverse-engineer' policies and contort reality to keep up with his lies.
Many people were left scratching their heads recently when Trump completely fabricated the existence of an upcoming tax cut, and then pledged to deliver on the imaginary policy before the midterm elections.
Even Trump's allies on Capitol Hill and within his own administration had no idea what he was talking about when he told reporters over the weekend that he was working on passing a new tax cut for middle-class Americans.
No such plan was in the works, and carrying it out would require passing legislation — but Congress isn't even session right now and will not return until after the Nov. 6 election.
"Yet Washington's bureaucratic machinery whirred into action nonetheless — working to produce a policy that could be seen as supporting Trump’s whim," The Washington Post reported.
In what has apparently become a routine practice, congressional Republicans and White House officials soon found themselves scrambling to come up with a way to make Trump's lie seem real — and to deceive the American public about the whole thing.
One of the proposals being considered to stand in for an actual tax cut is a "symbolic nonbinding 'resolution' designed to signal to voters ahead of the elections that if Republicans hold their congressional majorities they might pass a future 10 percent tax cut for the middle class," according to the Post.
Trump's allies in Congress have said they will work with the White House and Treasury Department to "develop" the symbolic, non-binding piece of paper as part of a plan to cover for Trump's habitual lying — by lying to voters.
As the Post noted, this is far from the first time that Republicans and officials working for the administration have ended up "reverse-engineer[ing]" policies after Trump publicly committed to a policy that did not yet exist. Nor is it the first time they have manufactured evidence to prop up Trump's lies and conspiracy theories.
At the Pentagon, officials had to spring into action to plan a military parade when Trump announced his intent to hold one. Later, when Trump publicly floated the idea of a Space Force, the Pentagon had to create one.
At the Commerce Department, officials had to hurriedly develop a plan for auto tariffs after Trump threatened to impose them on the auto industry.
At the Defense Department, Secretary James Mattis and other top military brass were forced to figure out how to react when Trump abruptly announced a new ban on transgender service members.
Going even further back, Trump kicked off his presidency with a series of lies, including the false claim that widespread voter fraud was the reason he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. A formal committee was convened to investigate the matter, but it was disbanded amid a slew of legal trouble after only two meetings.
Trump also insisted that his inaugural crowd sizes were the biggest ever, and reportedly made it clear to government agencies that they were expected to play along. It was later revealed that the White House had ordered his inaugural photos to be edited to make the crowd look larger.
And just this week, the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Vice President Mike Pence all jumped to Trump's defense to prop up his lie about "unknown Middle Easterners" traveling with a so-called "caravan" of migrants from Central America. Only hours later, Trump admitted to reporters that he had no evidence for his claims, saying, "There's no proof of anything."
Trump keeps lying because he knows he can get away with it, and he gets away with it in large part because he is surrounded by a network of enablers spanning the White House, both chambers of Congress, and nearly every major government agency.
After Trump announced Monday at a rally for Ted Cruz that he would be enacting his fake tax cut by "next week," his enablers got to work once again trying to figure out how to cover for his latest lie.
According to CNN, aides in the House scrambled "to figure out if they could, or even needed to, draft something that would address what the President was promising," while Republican officials in the Senate said they contacted their House colleagues for guidance "only to find out there wasn't any -- nobody was sure what exactly the President was referencing."
Perhaps that's because Trump himself isn't sure.
With midterms approaching, Trump is alternating between blurting out things he thinks voters want to hear, lying about his own accomplishments, and launching into unhinged fits of falsehoods. And thanks to his enablers, your tax dollars are paying to prop it all up.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.