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THE WASHINGTON POST OPINIONS

(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

If Trump supporters had any ability to apply consistency of thought, they would be sorely tested by listening to President Tell-It-Like-It-Is turn into Donald Doubletalk and go all squishy when talking about Saudi Arabia. Donald Trump has been exhibiting a bad case of the wobbles when confronted with evidence that his royal buddies may have murdered a journalist they didn’t care for.

But nobody should be surprised. In fact, Trump has practically written the playbook for them on this. Let’s make a quick review of the evidence.

— Start with a flat denial. Always a Trump go-to. Did nothing, know nothing, no story.

— Change your story. I never said what I said, maybe something happened, but I wasn’t involved, I wasn’t at fault, and it wasn’t a crime.

— Change the premise. If something happened, it was a mistake, or maybe somebody had it coming. Maybe somebody died, but we really were only interrogating a troublemaker. Sure it was worse than waterboarding, but waterboarding isn’t torture, and we’ve promised to do worse than waterboarding to enemies, and death is worse than waterboarding.

— Speaking of troublemakers, reporters who write critical stories are always making everything up. There is no real news other than praise and flattery. The press is therefore the enemy, and we’ve already said what we do to enemies.

— Assert belief in the unbelievable. Why, Vladimir Putin “strongly” denied interfering in our election. How are you going to argue when a denial is strong?

— Crazy theories. Trump got well out in front of everybody here, with his “rogue killers” theory. In this, he was actually carrying water for the Saudis, or blood. What could rogue killers even mean in this context? Anything and nothing, which is the perfect kind of crazy theory. We can only anticipate that he may soon blame it on Democratic leftists roaming the globe to murder anyone they encounter out of blind hatred of everything. And now that we have the theory out there about rogue killers, Trump can maybe join O.J. Simpson in searching for the real killer on every golf course in the land. And when he finds him, that’s when the promised punishment will be applied.

So if you are still a Trump supporter who may wonder what the downside might be with Trump’s ethical code, words and conduct, stop for a moment and think whether these align with the worst behavior of the worst governments we have always condemned. And when you put on your Make America Great Again hat, ask exactly when you felt that America was great in this particular way.