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WASHINGTON – Something remarkable happened, according to Donald Trump, when Donald Trump arrived at his campaign rally in Evansville, Indiana last week.
Nine “miners” greeted him backstage. They were “tough guys,” “seriously tough cookies,” men he wouldn’t want to fight. But eight of the nine were crying.
“Crying out of happiness,” Trump said. “Because they’re back.”
Eight days later, on Friday, the U.S. president spoke at a campaign fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota. Another moving moment, in his telling, occurred when he was walking into the room.
“A strong man came up to me, tough kind of a guy, and said: ‘I want to thank you, Mr. President, for saving our country.’ And he had tears coming down his eyes,” Trump said. “This wasn’t just a statement, because he had tears coming down. Unless he was a real wise guy. But he had tears coming down his eyes.”
Trump flew from North Dakota to South Dakota. There, he repeated the story from eight days prior in Indiana, almost word for word, about how he had encountered nine men, eight of whom were crying.
But there was something odd about this version. This time the nine men were “steelworkers,” not miners, and the encounter happened “at the opening of one of the big plants for United States Steel,” not backstage at the Indiana rally.
Trump tells a lot of stories about his private interactions with people. Many of these stories are widely seen as dubious, and some of them have been shown to be lies, but most of them are carefully constructed so that they are difficult to conclusively prove fictional. So although Trump is a serial liar, we can’t say for sure that he is making all of these stories up.
We can say that he is making some of them up. About the others, we can say that a curious number of people sure seem to be bursting into grateful tears in Trump’s presence.
The crying characters in Trump’s stories tend to share three characteristics: they are male, they are “tough” or “strong,” and they do not have names.
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