We know that nearly 3,000 Americans died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. We know that, because the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University did a scientific study based on actual mortality data and death certificates.
These facts are not the story that Donald Trump would like to tell. Trump would prefer that the Puerto Rico disaster response be a success story, with himself as the paper-towel-tossing hero. So he is now literally claiming that the Democrats made up the number out of whole cloth, to make Trump look bad.
This is a technique called the big lie. And it works, particularly among people who have been told to disbelieve what they read in the press. And, as usual, Republican leaders are complicit in the Dear Leader’s lies.
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
This could be written about Donald Trump today, couldn’t it? But it wasn’t. It was written during World War II, by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, as part of their psychological profile of Hitler.