One of the most popular words used by Donald Trump during his presidency is the word “hoax.”
Used sparingly before he was elected president - perhaps most notably in reference to climate change which he called “a total and very expensive hoax”- it was uttered 18 times in 2017, 63 times in 2018 and 345 times in 2019 according to factba.se.
Hoax is a term that that helps portray a person as a victim of injustices and is primarily used to build support for the victim. It can be an effective term in that it shifts sympathy and trustworthiness toward a victim.
Readers may recall hoax being used by Trump in reference to the coronavirus or perhaps Blasey Ford’s testimony about Brett Kavanaugh or maybe the Russian bounties for the killing of Americans in Afghanistan.
Maybe some recall it being used in association with his alleged sexual misconduct.
However, the most frequent use of the word by Trump is in association with the alleged Russian interference on his behalf in the 2016 election.
Misplaced trustworthiness in a “hoax victim” can be dangerous. The Arizona couple that ingested chloroquine after seeing it being touted by Trump as a preventative for COVID-19 resulted in both becoming deathly ill; the husband subsequently died.
It can motivate violent actions by sympathetic supporters of a “hoax victim” - particularly when the “victim” uses inflammatory rhetoric to highlight his enemies.
The Guardian newspaper lists 49 violent acts by Trump supporters from 2016 through 2019. A recent killing of protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin was allegedly conducted by a young man whose social media accounts show him to be a Trump supporter, once attending a Trump rally in the front row.
The point is that an aggrieved “victim” can grow support for himself and strengthen allegiances that can lead to serious misdeeds.
This is not to say that the president’s fans are all prone to misdeeds, (likewise for so-called leftists) but their support intensifies when they see him as a victim, which leads to them sharing his victimhood and perceived causes.
The hoax approach is a key element of weaponizing fear. In our case, the weaponized fear suffered by our aggrieved “victim” is practically boundless.
immigrants, protesting minorities, an economic catastrophe under Democratic leadership, socialism, abortions as a form of birth control, a Green New Deal, a “corrupt” media that fosters all the hoaxes, a “deep state” that undermines our victim leader and deals in pedophilia, violence in the streets of our cities, another “birther” scare, fraudulent mail-in voting and the list goes on of all the fears that we need our aggrieved president to protect us from.
Consider the Russian interference “hoax.”
The recent findings of the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee’s report not only affirm the Mueller Report that Russia interfered in our election to benefit Trump but also affirms the inspector general’s report that FBI involvement was justified.
It is still called out as a hoax.
Is it because the cooperation between the campaign and Russia was not a formal contractual one? Recall the blatant public appeal: “Russia, if you are listening, I hope you can find….”
Right away, the first Russian hack attempt of Clinton’s emails occurred.
The report affirms that this was a Russian/WikiLeaks coordinated action with Trump ally Roger Stone in the mix.
I am afraid that for those locked into a shared victimhood because of “hoaxes” perpetrated against the president have fallen into the trap of the “hoax hoax.”