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Why Does Donald Attack & Lie About Science, Facts, Cleantech, & Investigators?

Let’s start off with a few things everyone can agree on (I think). Donald Trump frequently attacks investigators — at the FBI, in Robert Mueller’s special Department of Justice investigation team, and in the media.

Let’s start off with a few things everyone can agree on (I think). Donald Trump frequently attacks investigators — at the FBI, in Robert Mueller’s special Department of Justice investigation team, and in the media. He has also routinely disagreed with confirmed climate science and has repeatedly claimed it’s a Chinese climate hoax (which, basically, doesn’t make any sense at all and is confusing since there’s no way thousands of climate scientists and editors at scientific journals around the world are engaging in a Chinese conspiracy).

Trump has also concluded somehow that asbestos is not harmful (it is deadly), Obama was not born in the United States (he was), and 3–5 million people voted illegally in 2016, mostly for Hillary Clinton (which is a funny coincidence since Clinton had ~3 million more votes than Trump nationally).

Chart by the New York Times, via Pensito Review

Overall, Trump apparently lies many times a day and has made several thousand false or misleading claims publicly as president of the United States. For years — decades, actually — he has personally promoted or recommended lying for various purposes, and his whole reputation as a successful businessman is built on several decades of lies — lies about how many millions of dollars his father gave him, lies about his personal worth, lies about how he’s using his money, and lies about how many times his businesses went bankrupt.

I think one of the best comments on Donald Trump’s modus operandi comes from Billy Bush in the following clip.

The specific line starts at 4:39 into the video. Billy Bush tells a story about one particular show in which Trump said falsely for the umpteenth time that “The Apprentice” was the #1 rated show on television. Billy Bush had heard this repeatedly from Trump even though he knew it wasn’t true and he had gotten a bit tired of it. He noted to Trump that the show hadn’t been #1 for something like 5 years — not in any category and not in any demographic. Trump made up some ridiculous stat on camera to defend the statement, but then off camera told Billy Bush something like, “Billy, look, look — you just tell them, and they believe it. That’s it. You just tell them, and they believe it.”

That’s the story of Donald Trump — and one of those instances where he admits that he outright lies, constantly. It’s not just that he’s uninformed or can’t figure out nuanced, complex situations — even if both of those things are often true. It’s not that his memory failed him on that topic (and many others). No, he actually decides to lie on countless occasions because it makes him look better.

Getting back to the topic of this story, the title asks why Trump attacks and lies about science, facts, cleantech, and investigators. There can be multiple explanations for each of these and for all of them. Let’s dive into them one by one.

Chart via Tesla

The scientific findings Trump often lies about are specifically facts that inconvenience him in some way. Trump has friends and supporters in the fossil fuel industries who benefit in the short term from his attacks on climate science (no one really benefits in the long term), and he appears to have no notable connections to people in cleantech industries. Additionally, being forced to make his buildings more efficient and safer (for example, free of asbestos) costs more up front. Even if that benefits his tenants and thus his reputation in the long term, Trump is all about the low upfront costs (paying as little as possible or even nothing) and has long been focused on superficial appearance rather than deep quality (his buildings are known for this — cheap materials underneath fancy surfaces). Furthermore, environmental regulations have surely interfered with some of his projects for years, so he has likely developed a bias against anything “green.”

Additionally, it appears that Trump just doesn’t like the looks of wind turbines and has long had the hunch that if they can be seen from his properties, his property values will go down (something that has not proven true of his properties or other real estate generally). Given that wind power is a top solution to global warming and air pollution, he is against the conclusive science on these topics and is generally opposed to any actions to clean our air, clean our water, improve our collective health, and stop global warming.

How about facts in general? Why is Trump so opposed to established facts of various kinds. One theory is that he is simply spoiled and wants everything his way, even when facts are opposed to his preferences or personal benefit. Thus, whenever it benefits him, he just claims that clear facts are not true — it’s as simple as that. Another theory is that he obsessively “gaslights” in order to try to confuse people enough that they don’t disagree with absurd claims he makes from time to time (or several times a day). He may lie obsessively out of a desire to degrade the value of words, wear out fact checkers, and create a “two sides” battle that makes people who are on his side on some issues distrustful of fact checkers on all issues. Another possibility is that he just doesn’t know much but has the habit of pretending to know a lot so that people think highly of him. In other words, he makes loud false claims despite being ignorant. To be fair, many people have come to believe that he is a smart, decisive person because of this style of communication, ignoring that he is often wrong if not outright lying for devious reasons and frequently makes poor decisions because of his eagerness to make a decision before learning about the issues.

Donald Trump tweets from 2012 about wind power.

I already covered cleantech matters above and in 2016, but let’s go through a quick summary. Trump has made incorrect claims about solar and wind power on many occasions, seemingly because he sees environmental standards as a threat to his business, sees regulations as something he doesn’t want to deal with, sees air pollution and global warming as abstract concepts he doesn’t want to think about, and sees wind turbines as supposedly ugly machines on the horizon of some of his golf resorts and hotels — which he presumes (incorrectly) will decrease the value of his properties.

The last one is the easiest, so it is also the most stunning to me that more people don’t see what is going on. Anytime Trump thinks someone has some dirt on him — or may have some dirt on him — he attacks their credibility and overall reputation. “Fake news” was actually first used to describe genuine fake news that was used during the 2016 election, mostly to help get Trump elected. For example, there were posts pushed on Facebook and blogs claiming that The Pope endorsed Trump (he very clearly did not), that Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a pizza shop (she obviously was not), that Clinton was in poor health from a serious illness (she was not), and more subtle and general things like fake black activist groups trying to drum up African-American support for Trump. There were also graphic attempts, such as videos posted with the title “Leaked Hillary Clinton’s Hotel Sex Tape with Black Guy” and “This is How Hillary gets black votes.”

Donald Trump later stole the term “fake news” and used it to attack honest, legitimate media reports as well as investigations into Trump and his campaign team (despite several campaign members, including one-time Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, eventually pleading guilty to or being convicted of crimes). When you’ve done something wrong, when people around you have done something wrong, and when you have a good sense that someone is onto these crimes and immoral behavior, your best bet for keeping public opinion on your side is to attack the investigators and messengers. “Get out of jail free” 101.

It’s absolutely shocking to me that people don’t see Trump’s attacks on standup public servants, national heroes, the FBI, former FBI directors, the CIA, former CIA directors, independent award-winning journalists, and essentially all critics as just lame attempts to protect his image in the face of clearly inappropriate, horrible, and even illegal behavior.

That goes for everything on this list, though. On one topic or another, Donald Trump ignores science and facts in order to try to get what he wants. Much of the time, the lies hurt America and Americans — for example, lies about health care, the economy, and science are going to cost us immense, immeasurable harm. Yet many people consider the lies inconsequential — or just don’t understand that he’s lying so much about such critical matters.

Millions of people have bought into Donald Trump’s bluffery, puffery, and self-praise. It is specifically why they have supported him through thick and thin. They bought the fake portrait of him as a highly successful and smart businessman, a portrait that was pushed out through a reality TV show — not a documentary, but fake reality. It is highly ironic that a fake success story and decades of cheating have led people to trust a career con man and distrust genuine journalists and investigators.

Sad.

Maybe that will change with the midterm elections. If it is going to change, though, we need you and at least one +1 to get to the polls and vote for science, facts, sanity, and cleantech.

 
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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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