So this morning Donald Trump said he doesn’t know the man he appointed to be Acting Attorney General of the United States. This statement is obviously and uncontroversially false, indeed ludicrously so, but apparently that can’t be said:
President Donald Trump sought to distance himself from the Justice Department official he just named as acting attorney general in the face of mounting criticism about the legality and propriety of his appointment.
“I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Trump said of the new acting attorney general, saying he hired him because he had worked for since-dismissed Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “He was always extremely highly thought of, and he still is. But I didn’t know Matt Whitaker. He worked for Attorney General Sessions.”
The President’s comments are at odds with the relationship Trump has forged with Whitaker in recent months, even as his opinion of Sessions continued to sour. Whitaker has been at the White House dozens of times, including in meetings with Trump, and the two have spoken by phone on several occasions, including on the day that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was expected to be fired.
Whitaker was not hired as Sessions’ chief of staff by virtue of any pre-existing relationship with Sessions, but instead because White House officials believed Whitaker’s loyalties would lie at the White House and not with the beleaguered attorney general, sources said.
Emphasis added. BTW this is CNN, which at least in this regard has been better than the average national media source lately.
Playing along in any way with the gaslighter in chief — by for example being unwilling to write a story whose headline and lede simply state that Trump is lying about not knowing the man he just appointed to quash the Mueller investigation — ultimately enables the totalitarian logic of truth being whatever the Leader says it is at any given moment.
ETA: As several commenters point out, if the statement were actually true it would be utterly damning: the president appointed somebody who he didn’t even know to be the top law enforcement officer in the country? As usual with Trump, normal standards of evaluation must be suspended completely to avoid the cognitive dissonance that would ensue if people faced up to the reality that a malignant buffoon is actually president of the United States.