All politicians naturally try to put the best face on their performances. Not all of them try to get everything posted in the “win” column regardless of results.
President Donald Trump seeks now to convince the faithful that he “won” by bluffing about nonexistent recordings in a mysterious tweet. This supposedly happened when he coyly warned freshly fired FBI Director James Comey that he’d better hope there were no “tapes” of their one-on-one conversations.
Comey, of course, delivered potentially damaging Senate testimony about the probe of ex-security adviser Mike Flynn and famously said “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
But Trump suggests his little feint got Comey to tell the truth about having assured him then that he was not under investigation — which may not be so anymore.
That kind of rationale is one way to claim victory. Another is to declare it at the beginning or in the middle of the game or change the score.
During last year’s campaign, the GOP candidate vowed to rescue workers at the Carrier plant in Indiana. After the election he proclaimed victory in a deal with United Technologies, the parent company, and the state of Indiana.
Last week Carrier announced the layoffs of 600 employees. Those jobs are going to Mexico. Trump’s ballyhooed deal arguably helped keep hundreds of other jobs in Indiana for the time being in exchange for taxpayer subsidies. But his numbers proved inflated, as union leaders said at the time.
On June 7, he crowed to a crowd: “Next week we’re opening a big coal mine. You know about that. One in Pennsylvania.
“It’s actually a new mine. That hadn’t happened in a long time, folks. But we’re putting the people and we’re putting the miners back to work.”
Victory had already been achieved before he took office, however, raising questions of who to credit and for what. That is, plans by the Corsa Corporation for the mine were finalized last August and presented to investors in October.
Another premature declaration of victory: His Rose Garden ceremony for the House approval of Obamacare repeal-and-replacement legislation he supported — only to denounce it as “mean” while Senate Republicans were rewriting it.
During the campaign Trump declared: “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.”
Things get a little complicated when you start delving into who’s winning what.