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Dan Zak explores Donald Trump’s strategic use of “whataboutism,” a rhetorical device to deflect attention from the issue at hand.
Ask him about the Mueller investigation and don’t be surprised when he says “what about Hillary’s 33,000 emails.”
“What about antifa? What about free speech? What about the guy who shot Steve Scalise? What about the mosque in Minnesota that got bombed? What about North Korea? What about murders in Chicago? What about Ivanka at the G-20? What about Vince Foster? If white pride is bad, then what about gay pride? What about the stock market? What about those 33,000 deleted emails? What about Hitler? What about the Crusades? What about the asteroid that may one day kill us all? What about Benghazi?
“What about what about what about.
“We’ve gotten very good at what-abouting.
“The president has led the way.
“His campaign may or may not have conspired with Moscow, but President Trump has routinely employed a durable old Soviet propaganda tactic. Tuesday’s bonkers news conference in New York was Trump’s latest act of “whataboutism,” the practice of short-circuiting an argument by asserting moral equivalency between two things that aren’t necessarily comparable. In this case, the president wondered whether the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville — where white supremacists clashed this weekend with counterprotesters — would lead to the teardown of others.”
Deflect, deflect, deflect.
Change the subject.
Mueller is at work every day. Whataboutism doesn’t matter to him.