White House epistemology

Nice opening paragraph:

The White House Monday attempted to defend President Trump’s unfounded claim that former president Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower near the end of the presidential campaign, sending out a series of administration officials — both on and off camera — to reiterate the assertion without providing supporting evidence.

Heh heh – to reiterate the assertion without providing supporting evidence. That’s elegant. Yes, Trumpisters, that is correct: mere repetition does not make a claim true. Donnie’s saying it in the first place didn’t make it true, and neither did endless re-saying it.

On Monday, senior administration officials contorted themselves trying to defend the president’s claims, which seemed to emanate largely in response to a rant on conservative talk radio and in an article on Breitbart News, the conservative website that Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, used to lead.

Speaking to reporters from the White House briefing room without cameras present, White House press secretary Sean Spicer referred reporters to his weekend statement calling on the House and Senate intelligence committees to investigate the wiretapping charges as part of their broader probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He refused to add clarity or context to Trump’s Twitter missives, saying neither the president nor the White House would comment further until the congressional investigations are completed.

“I’m just going to let the tweet speak for itself,” Spicer said. “I think the president speaks very candidly.”

Sigh. He may well speak candidly, but that’s not the issue. The tweet does speak for itself: it’s crazed malevolent bullshit. Neither of those observations makes it true.

An unfortunate deputy press secretary had to do most of the contorting, and it sounds painful.

Sanders admitted that she had not discussed the matter with the president, and she lacked answers to a series of questions. When asked Monday by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos if the president accepted that Comey had refuted his tweets, Sanders responded: “You know, I don’t think he does.”

Like Spicer, Sanders claimed Trump’s accusations are supported by media reports, even though a list of such articles provided by the White House contained no such evidence. She also attempted to recast the president’s words with a softer tone.

“Look, the president firmly believes that the Obama administration may have tapped into the phones at Trump Tower,” Sanders said on the “Today Show” on NBC Monday. “This is something that we should look into. We’d like to know for sure.”

He firmly believes that it may have – that covers all the bases.

“Look,” Sanders said on the Today Show, “I haven’t had the chance to have the conversation directly with the president, and he’s at a much higher classification than I am, so he may have access to documents that I don’t know about, but I do know that we take this very seriously.”

Hahahaha oh god offering one’s own passionate conviction as evidence for the truth of external facts. It doesn’t matter how seriously anyone takes Trump’s deranged lie; their serious-taking doesn’t make it true that Obama bugged Trump’s phones.

They’re trying so hard to lash down the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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