The Truthist v. The MAGA King

Published: May 12, 2023

By Jim Lichtman
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The truthist stands for facts.

The MAGA King could care less.

The truthist believes in the Constitution.

The MAGA King believes in himself.

The truthist appeals to those who believe in democracy.

The MAGA King appeals to a cheering minority who believes in autocracy.

Former Representative Liz Cheney’s “Great Task” leadership PAC is running an ad which shows the graphic violence of January 6 with Trump supports breaking into the Capitol shouting, “Hang Mike Pence,” warning voters that “Donald Trump is a risk America can never take again.”

When all efforts to overturn the election failed, Cheney reminds us, Donald Trump “mobilized a mob to come to Washington and march on the Capitol.”

Wednesday night, CNN held a Town Hall meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire—Donald Trump’s home away from home. Supporters could hardly stop cheering as soon as he walked on stage. Never forget that this man is the consummate performance artist.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN’s whip-smart political journalist who was banned from the White House during the Trump administration because she constantly challenged the former president at press conferences, took on the job as moderator at Wednesday night’s event. And Collins continued to pressure the former president whose default response to every question was to filibuster his way through using one absurd piece of reasoning after another.

About the 2020 election:

“That was a rigged election, and it’s a shame that we had to go through it. It’s very bad for our country.”

As Trump continues on, Collins interrupts.

“Mr. President . . . it was not a rigged election. It was not a stolen election. You and your supporters lost more than 60 court cases on the election. And it’s been nearly two-and-a-half years. Can you publicly acknowledge that you did lose the 2020 election?”

TRUMP: “If you look at True the Vote, they found millions of votes on camera, on government cameras, where they were stuffing ballot boxes.

COLLINS: Republican officials debunked those claims about fraudulent ballots.

TRUMP: Who? Who?

COLLINS: Republican officials in Georgia…


COLLINS: … and every single state. Your own election officials, Mr. President.

On the January 6 insurrection—

COLLINS: Do you have any regrets about your actions on January 6?

TRUMP: Well, you know, January 6 was . . . was the largest crowd I have ever spoken to. That was prior to the walk down to the Capitol Building. I don’t think – and I have spoken to hundreds of thousands of people. I have never spoken to a crowd as large as this. And that was because they thought the election was rigged.  . . .

Crazy Nancy Pelosi and the mayor of Washington were in charge, as you know, of security, and they did not do their job.

COLLINS: They’re not in charge of the National Guard. You’re in charge of the National Guard.

TRUMP: They are in charge. Well, I offered them National Guard. I said, we will give you soldiers. We will give you National Guard. We will give you whatever you want.

And they turned me down. And, in fact, she turned me down. . . . she turned me down in writing.

COLLINS: But your acting defense secretary, Chris Miller, at the time, he says you never gave a formal order to deploy the National Guard.

TRUMP: I offered them 10,000 soldiers. I said it could be 10,000. It could be more. But I offered them specifically 10,000 soldiers. If they would have taken 500 soldiers, you wouldn’t have had the problem. They turned it down.

And if you look at the inspector general report, he says they turned it down. They made a terrible mistake.

COLLINS: Well, Chris Miller was your acting defense secretary. He says you never gave that order.

TRUMP: So – so, if you look at – on January 5, the day before, I said: “Please support our Capitol Police and law enforcement. They are truly on the side of our country. Stay peaceful. Stay peaceful.”

This was the day before. And this was in the form of Twitter. Now I use TRUTH, TRUTH Social. I think it’s far superior, OK?

I hope everybody’s on – I hope everybody’s on TRUTH. . .. I have 90 million people waiting for me to go back. But I’m on TRUTH, and I’m staying on TRUTH.

While many criticized giving Trump a forum to repeat his lies, we need to give him that forum where journalists can remind people of the real truth.

As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said over a century ago: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”


Today, while critics assailed CNN’s town hall with Donald Trump moderated by Kaitlan Collins as a “disaster,” journalist icons reminded viewers of journalism’s purpose.

“So no more live political events, because politicians can be nasty? Because politicians can tell lies?” Ted Koppel, the former “Nightline” anchor, said in an interview. “I’m not sure that news organizations should necessarily be in the business of making ideological judgments. Is he a legitimate object of news attention? You bet.”

Former CBS news anchor, Bob Schieffer, echoed Koppel.“There’s no question he might well get the nomination. We’re in the business of telling people who’s running for what and what they stand for.”


While Kaitlan Collins professionally went about her duties, asking tough questions, she held Trump accountable at every turn with his falsehoods and what he would do, once in office again. That’s also a part of journalism.

The only aspect I would have changed would have been to split make up of the audience down the middle: half liberal; half conservative to get a more realistic impression of Trump’s words.


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