Thursday, September 27, 2018

Crying Performance

It's a tell.

Promptly after completion of Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing pertaining to the charge of attempted rape leveled at Brett Kavanaugh, Jonathan Chait recognized

The charges are credible, and his accusers are willing to put themselves at risk, with no apparent gain to bring them to the public. Kavanaugh has said too many things that strain credulity for all them to be plausibly true. He almost certainly lied about having had access to files stolen by Senate Republicans back when he was handling judicial nominations in the Bush administration. His explanation that the “Renate Alumni” was not a sexual reference is difficult to square with a fellow Renate Alumnus’s poem ( “You need a date / and it’s getting late / so don’t hesitate / to call Renate”) portraying her as a cheap date. His insistence “boof” and “devil’s triangle” from his yearbook were references to flatulence and a drinking game drew incredulous responses from people his age who have heard these terms. His claim that the “Beach Week Ralph Club” was a reference to a weak stomach seems highly unlikely.

Additionally, Kavanaugh still won't support a proposal for an FBI investigation, even after Senator Durbin took him apart on the matter. But there is an additional, subjective reason to believe that Kavanaugh is lying about an interaction with Christine Blasey. It is  captured by a tweet from Tim O'Brien and a response to it, below.
Amazing, it is; also, as phony as a three dollar bill. There are two reasons to find Kavanaugh's reversal in mood incredible, one of which is that President Trump, promptly after completion of the hearing, praised the nominee's performance:
And yet, as a New York Daily News reporter reminded us between Kavanaugh's opening statement and his testimony

 "I don’t believe in crying," Trump told his biographer, Tim O’Brien, in the 2005 “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald. "It's just not my thing. I have nothing against it when someone cries, but when I see a man cry I view it as a weakness. I don't like seeing men cry. I’ll give you an example. I never met John Gotti, I know nothing about John Gotti, but he went through years of trials. He sat with a stone face. He said, ‘F--k you.’”

In January 2016, during an overly friendly late show appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Trump said he hasn’t cried since he was a baby.

"Yes, when I was 1, I cried,” he said when Fallon asked about his emotions.

Trump has also slapped Sen. Chuck Schumer with the nicknames “Cryin’ Chuck” and “Fake Tears Chuck Schumer” after the Senate Minority Leader teared up during a speech about the travel ban.

"I'm going to ask him: Who is his acting coach?" the President said during a meeting with small business leaders in Jan. 2017. "I know him very well. I don't see him as a crier. If he is, he is a different man."

On Twitter, Trump has also used “crying” as an insult to Glenn Beck several times, as well as Omarosa and Joe Biden.

“Wacky @glennbeck who always seems to be crying (worse than Boehner) speaks badly of me only because I refuse to do his show--a real nut job!” he tweeted in October 2015.

Trump doesn't like it when a man cries. Yet, he evidently approved of it in Kavanaugh's case.

He did so because like Trump himself, it was insincere, a performance and con. We know it also because of Renee Richards' observation. When one erupts in righteous (or not-so-righteous) anger, as I have periodically done, the mood is of, well, anger. It is not sadness, and it is not followed by tears.  When the nominee switched from anger to weeping to anger, it was a tell.

Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes, Brett Kavanaugh inferred. Presumably, we'll find out the answer within the next few days in the U.S. Senate.

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