The Korea Herald


[Martin Schram] Truth shatters a Big Lie

By Korea Herald

Published : Aug. 1, 2023 - 05:31

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For more than two years, Donald Trump’s most patriotic MAGA true believers have been accepting with unshakable trust what they were sure was rock-solid evidence that their leader really won reelection.

They genuinely believe they’ve seen all the proof they need that the 2020 election was stolen from them. They have seen the videos on the websites they trust most, showing votes being stolen, changed, thrown away, whatever. They are sure they have seen proof. That’s why they are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!

So no wonder that the few of Trump’s most faithful who still bother to watch the lamestream news were stunned this week when breaking news shook their rock-solid MAGA world.

Rudy Giuliani -- “America’s mayor” who moved on up to being former President Trump’s mouthpiece -- had conceded in a US District Court filing in Washington that his statements they had trusted -- about how he had video proof that Georgia’s votes were stolen from Trump -- were false, after all.

You will remember this was one of the most riveting and controversial cases we saw during the House Jan. 6 Committee hearings. It featured Giuliani and Trump making accusatory statements and derogatory assertions alleging misconduct by two volunteer Georgia poll workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss. Now Giuliani has conceded that his statements were false. He conceded that in a statement filed Tuesday night, responding to a defamation lawsuit the two women filed against him. Giuliani also conceded his statements were defamatory in nature -- but he is contending that, as Trump’s lawyer, he still had the First Amendment right to make those statements.

At this point, we need to also explain something that, in a more perfect world, should never be necessary or relevant: Freeman and her grown daughter are both Black women. Unfortunately when you check out the words Giuliani and Trump use in talking about the mother and daughter, you’ll see their racial identity seems infuriatingly relevant.

In his deposition to the House committee, Giuliani chose to use words and phrases that are defamatory and derogatory. It was as if he had just caught them in the act of volunteering-while-Black. Here’s how Giuliani described what he saw them do in a video that obviously was severely edited (maybe also: doctored): He said Freeman and Moss were “quite surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine. And they are still walking around Georgia lying. They should have been questioned already. Their places of work, their houses should have been searched.” (Freeman later testified they weren’t passing around USB sticks. So what was it we saw her give her daughter? “A ginger mint,” she said.)

Then President Trump defamed Freeman big-time in his infamous Jan. 2, 2021, phone call when he asked Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to help him “find” 11,800 more votes (enough to swing Georgia to Trump). He said it showed her mishandling vote: “She’s a vote scammer, a professional vote scammer and hustler.”

You’ll probably remember Freeman tearfully telling the hearing: “There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?” And her daughter, Moss, testifying she’d received “a lot of threats wishing death upon me … telling me that I’ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like ‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920 … a lot of them were racist. A lot of them were just hateful.”

Time out: Now that you’ve heard how Giuliani and Trump chose to talk about Freeman and Moss, try to imagine the vocabulary those two men might have been moved to use if they had been watching two very different Georgia women volunteering to process Fulton County’s votes. Picture in your mind’s eye that they’d just seen Mayberry’s Aunt Bea give something small to her daughter, played by, say, Mary Tyler Moore. As you’re picturing that white-on-white scenario, do you think Giuliani would have suggested Aunt Bea just gave Mary Tyler Moore heroin or cocaine? Or their workplaces and houses should have been searched? And can you conjure Trump ever calling Aunt Bea a “scammer and hustler?“

Neither can I. And, for that matter, I can’t imagine such talk being acceptable to any of the rock-solid, strong-for-Trump citizens I’ve talked with who live in the heartland. They believed those videos were proof of vote-stealing -- because Giuliani, Trump and others told them it was.

Now Giuliani has conceded that what he told them about that Georgia video was a Big Lie. What always made them mad as hell was when they believed their government lied to their face. This week’s news was the last thing they ever expected to get from their own MAGA world.

Martin Schram

Martin Schram, an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service, is a veteran Washington journalist, author and TV documentary executive. -- Ed.

(Tribune Content Agency)