Trump Continues To Cite Anonymous VIP Sources
What’s a way that you can spread misinformation while also giving it validity? You claim that information came from important sources and that you will name those sources when you see fit. It’s a tactic President Trump has used several times.
In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Trump claimed that Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign was run by “People that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows.” When Ingraham said that this sounded like a conspiracy theory, “Dark shadows, what is that?” Trump responded, “People that you haven’t heard of, they’re people that are on the streets, people that are controlling the streets.”
Trump also said that “we had someone get on a plane from a certain city, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that.” When Ingraham asked for a source, Trump responded, “I’ll tell you sometime, it’s under investigation right now.”
He continued that “there were like seven people in the plane [with] this person, and then a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage.”
He claimed that protests outside the White House were funded by “some very stupid rich people that have no idea if their thing ever succeeded, which it won’t,” he continued, “they will be thrown to the wolves like you’ve never seen.” He did not name any sources or identify the “very stupid rich people.”
When asked later about his source for the “thugs” on a plane story, Trump said, “I could tell you that I can probably refer you to the person and they could do it,” he told reporters. “I would like to ask that person if it was OK. The person on the plane said there were about six people like that person or more or less and what happened is the entire plane filled up with the looters, the anarchists, rioters, people looking for trouble. The person felt very uncomfortable on the plane. It is a person you know. I’ll see whether or not I can get that person to speak to you.” If asked about the source again, he can now just say that the person didn’t want their name to be given out.
The disclosure of very important information from a very important person, with a comment that the source will be revealed later, is a common Trump tactic. Cut to the chase: The source or people he alludes to are never revealed. He can then spread unverified stories without giving any sources. By the time he is confronted about it, it’s too late — the unverified story has gotten out. The more outlandish it is, the more it’s discussed.
Trump referred to an anonymous source in March 2020. He said that life-saving medical equipment in New York hospitals “going out the back door.” When asked for the source of this information, Trump replied that this information was “what was told to me by a tremendous power in the business.” Trump still has not named this “tremendous power.”
Stoking fear through misinformation and then refusing to name the source until later or when they deem it’s “appropriate,” is a form of gaslighting. If Trump says an event is under investigation, as he when he claimed there were “thugs” on a plane, he has wrapped his statement in a cloak of immunity. If Trump is pressed on naming a source, he may avoid the question or continue to say it is under investigation. He now also has an excuse that the person that told him about the “thugs” on a plane doesn’t want to be named.
Keep a lookout for stories from Trump where he names an anonymous but “very important” source. It’s a tell that he is fabricating a story and gaslighting the public.