Donald Trump has lied over 14,000 times since taking office. Some of those lies are about the economy, some of them about his political opponents, and a surprising number involve Trump claiming credit for programs actually signed into law by Barack Obama. Trump’s been joined in his lies by members of his White House team, from Kellyanne Conway to Mick Mulvaney to Mike Pompeo, delivering a fat untruth with a sneer seems to be the primary qualification to join Team Trump.
But it’s a tweet posted by Mike Pence on Friday that may be the best illustration of the lies originating from this White House. Because it’s not just a lie, it’s multiple lies. Incredibly lazy lies. Lies so sloppy, with so little attention to history, reason, or anything else, that Pence should be forced to wear them eternally stapled to his massive white forehead.
In defense of assassinating Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Pence went through a long list of Soleimani’s supposed crimes. Among them “Assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.”
The list of reasons why this tweet is ridiculous is far longer than the original tweet. First of all, on the most straightforward point, there were 19 hijackers on 9/11. Not 12. A spokesperson for Pence has since launched a defense for this in saying that Pence was talking about a “subset” of the hijackers who traveled to Afghanistan through Iran. That statement also clarifies how Soleimani “assisted” these hijackers. He “allowed them to land” in Iran. A quick check of the records shows that Soleimani also allowed 4 million other people to land in Iran in 2001 alone. He was apparently a very busy fellow.
As many, many people have pointed out since Pence’s tweet, 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. They didn’t just touch down in Saudi Arabia to change planes on the way to Kabul, they lived there—which would seem to make a lot of Saudi officials more bomb-worthy than Soleimani if that were the real basis of Trump’s action. More importantly, not only were the large majority of the hijackers Saudi, all of them were Sunni. So was all of al-Qaeda. The whole organization is composed of Salafist jihadists, a subset of radical Sunnis who regard Shiite Muslims as heretics worthy of death.
Attempting to tie the Sunni forces of al-Qaeda to the Shiite government of Iran may just signal that Mike Pence is astoundingly ignorant. But it certainly shows the disdain the whole Trump White House holds for the intelligence of the American public. And it’s not the only way they’re demonstrating their contempt.
Here’s the schedule for the top Defense Department officials on Friday.
- Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense: No public or media events.
- David Norqust, Deputy Sec. of Defense: No public or media events.
- Mark Miley, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff: No public or media events.
- John Hyten, Vice chair Joint Chiefs of Staff: No public or media events.
In the wake of an event that takes the nation to the brink of war, the Defense Department had nothing to say. The generals left it guys like Pence to distribute lies.
Pence isn’t even pretending to have secret intelligence that supports the death of Soleimani. Completely missing from his list of reasons is any detail about the supposed “imminent threat” that the general represented to Americans.
The reason for that is clear enough: The intelligence that Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and others have been claiming supported the assassination of a foreign official, was just as absurd as Pence’s tweet.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.