Donald Trump has a clear modus operandi when faced with controversy: deny, deny, deny some more, lie, lie, attack the accuser or the media, attack again, then threaten, threaten some more, lie again, lie some more, misdirect the audience and then pretend it never happened. Even though Donald Trump is yet to be sworn in as president, his modus operandi for addressing controversial decisions that he makes or actions that he takes is clear. Instead of addressing controversy directly, Trump, instead, focuses on misdirecting away from the issue. He has demonstrated a clear pattern:
Deny, deny, deny some more, lie, lie, attack the accuser or the media, attack again, then threaten, threaten some more, lie again, lie some more, misdirect the audience and then pretend it never happened.
We already know that although Donald Trump promised that Mexico would be paying for the wall that he intends to build on the US-Mexico border, the reality is that it is the US taxpayers that will pay the bills. Last week a controversial intelligence dossier was released to the public. For many months, there were rumors that the dossier existed. Several news outlets and John McCain have acknowledged having the dossier for months. We also know that US intelligence agencies included a two-page summary of the information contained in the dossier in the briefings they provided Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Congress.
What we do not know is the veracity of the claims made in the document.
However, that has not stopped Donald Trump from applying his well-tested modus operandi to attack the contents of the leaked dossier.
Since the Trump modus operandi to deal with controversies requires time, I thought it important to demonstrate it to you with an actual example so that you can see how it works.
In late 2016, during the US presidential elections, Donald Trump was accused of sexual assault and harassment by thirteen women. Twelve of the women have been identified and one remains anonymous. Additionally, Trump’s former wife, Ivanka Trump had also accused him of sexual assault. For today’s exercise let us focus on the 2016 accusations.
CNN’s Erin Burnett reported extensively on the accusations levied against Trump by one of her friends. Burnett has refused to name the accuser. The twelve remaining accusers are: Kristin Anderson, Rachel Crooks, Jessica Drake, Jill Harth, Cathy Heller, Jessica Leeds, Temple Taggart McDowell, Mindy McGillivray, Cassandra Searls, Natasha Stoynoff, Karen Virginia and Summer Zervos.
It is important to note that there is not one accuser, nor two, but twelve who have come forward and put their names to the accusations.
Now let’s dissect Donald Trump modus operandi using these examples.
Deny, deny, deny some more:
- In every instance, Donald Trump, has denied the accusations.
- On October 19, 2016, during the third presidential debate, Donald Trump stated that the sexual accusations against him have “largely have been debunked.” This is not true.
- Attack the accuser or the media, attack again:
In response to the accusation levied by Rachel Crooks, Trump’s spokesperson, Jason Miller stated; “To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election.”
- Jason Miller, Trump’s spokesperson, in response to the accusation by Cathy Heller stated; “The media has gone too far in making this false accusation”.
- Donald Trump stated; “disgusting human being” in response to the accusation by Jessica Leeds
- Jessica Ditto, deputy communications director for Trump, said; “Discredited political operative Gloria Allred, in another coordinated, publicity seeking attack with the Clinton campaign, will stop at nothing to smear Mr. Trump. Give me a break. Voters are tired of these circus-like antics and reject these fictional stories and the clear efforts to benefit Hillary Clinton,” in response to the accusation by Jessica Virginia.
Then threaten, threaten some more:
- One of Donald Trump’s attorneys demanded an immediate retraction and an apology from the New York Times after the New York Times published the account of Leeds. According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, high-ranking sources in the Trump campaign told him and Dylan Byers that the Trump campaign has started drafting a lawsuit. Donald Trump has yet to file the lawsuit his campaign promised on October 2016.
- Donald Trump stated; “that each of the women accusing him of sexual misconduct are ‘liars,’ whom he intends to sue after the election.” No lawsuits have been filed.
Lie again, lie some more:
- On October 19, 2016, during the third presidential debate, Donald Trump stated that the sexual assault accusation have “largely have been debunked.” This is not true.
- On October 2016, Donald Trump’s campaign stated that a lawsuit was being drafted against the New York Times for publishing the sexual assault allegations made by Jessica Leeds and Mindy McGillivray. Donald Trump has yet to file the promised lawsuits.
Misdirect the audience:
- In response to the accusation by Jill Harth, Hope Hicks stated to CNN; “Mr. Trump denies each and every statement made by Ms. Harth. These 24-year-old allegations lack any merit or veracity, as evidenced by her repeated requests for employment, attempts to seek out Mr. Trump, and her support of Mr. Trump’s candidacy.”
And then pretend it never happened:
- Donald Trump promised in late 2016 to file lawsuits against the women that made the sexual assault charges against him publicly. After being elected, Donald Trump has not filed any lawsuits against the numerous women that alleged being sexually assaulted by him, nor has Trump provided any proof that any of the women were lying.
- It is important to note that the twelve women publicly accused Donald Trump of serious sexual assaults not only exposing him to criminal and civil liability but the accusations ridicule the future president of the United States. Yet, Trump has yet to file the numerous lawsuits he threatened nor has he take steps to debunk any of the numerous allegations against him.
- In other words, Donald Trump is pretending that the accusations were never levied against him. It is also important to note that Donald Trump is notorious for filing lawsuits as a strategic defense against threats to his livelihood. The accusations ridicule the office of the president and the persona of Donald Trump but he has not filed a single lawsuit.
Now that you know Trump’s modus operandi, keep it in mind each time you see Donald Trump respond to a controversy.