Donald Trump has repeatedly declared that he won the “Michigan Man of the Year” award. He has never won this award, not least because it does not exist. David Roth has a good piece on the implications of this particular lie:
Because he only learns things when they are told to him by a man on television or a fellow rich person on a golf course, it is also usually clear where it came from. Usually. Sometimes it is mysterious—the idea that you’re supposed to Rake The Forests to prevent forest fires is the sort of thing Trump would like, because it’s fundamentally blaming a landscaper for a disaster that’s the result of larger and more complicated problems, but also no one has ever had that thought before.
How Donald Trump came to believe that he had been named Michigan Man Of The Year is, by contrast, a little easier to suss out. That Trump has made the claim at least six times over the past three years is not really that confusing, either, if only because everything that Trump says once is something that he will eventually say repeatedly. But this particular claim, which people have been puzzling over since he first made it on the campaign trail in 2016, is not quite a mystery on the order of the “why didn’t they rake the forests better” assertion, say, or even Trump’s abiding belief that one of the shortcomings of wind power is that you can’t watch television if the wind isn’t blowing…
Donald Trump believes that everything he says is made true by virtue of him having said it, and once he begins believing something he is incapable of not believing it. This is why he says things more than once. The challenge is figuring out how he says things for the first time.
So: Trump got it into his head that he had received a Michigan Man Of The Year Award, and despite some complicating factors—he didn’t, for one, and also such an award does not appear to exist—he has continued to bring it up whenever the mood strikes him. There’s a whole story around it, and as is his custom he tends to retell it with more additions of the words “very” and “sir” as the years go by. “I’ve been fighting for the car industry for years,” Trump said the first time he told the story, in Michigan and two days before the 2016 Presidential election. “I was honored five years ago. Man of the Year in Michigan. That was a great honor for me.” As Trump told and has since re-told the story, he was criticized for giving a speech in which he talked about “what Mexico and these other countries are doing to us. And especially what they’re doing to Michigan.”
At least he never claimed that he invented the internet!