Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Master Of Kettle Logic

Back in 2018, Donald Trump was accused of using the n-word while on the set of The Apprentice. The president’s profanity was supposedly caught on tape.

Trump took to Twitter and launched his counter argument.

“[The producer of The Apprentice] called to say that there are NO TAPES […] where I used such a terrible and disgusting word […] as attributed by Wacky and Deranged [accuser]. I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. [The accuser] made it up.”

Trump’s logic then takes a turn for the worse.

“Look at [my accuser’s] MANY recent quotes saying such wonderful and powerful things about me—a true Champion of Civil Rights—until she got fired. [My accuser] had zero credibility with the media […] when she worked in the White House. Now that she says bad about me, they’ll talk to her. Fake News!”

Do you find the president’s response hard to follow?

That’s because his arguments don’t support his claim: he never said the n-word.

When we break down Trump’s rebuttal, we find the following points:

  • He never said the n-word. A fair point.
  • The producer of the TV show told Trump there is no evidence. If we accept Trump is innocent, how could there be any footage of the dirty word?
  • His accuser is “Wacky and Deranged” and can’t be trusted. Textbook slander.
  • His accuser once called him a “Champion of Civil Rights.” Trump apparently believes that badge makes it impossible for him to be racist.
  • His accuser made up a juicy story to finally get attention from the media. Speculation. And also wrong, because Trump’s accuser is his former aide who got plenty of media coverage.

Trump is the undisputed champion of inconsistent arguments.

Also known as kettle logic, made famous by Sigmund Freud’s kettle story.

Which can be told in five sentences.

A man was accused by his neighbour of returning a damaged kettled.

The man defends himself with three arguments.

“I returned the kettle undamaged.”
“It was already damaged when I borrowed it.”
“I never borrowed it in the first place.”

The beauty of these arguments?

If even one is true, the man is off the hook.

When someone uses kettle logic against you, you have two options.

One, show proof of the opposite. Often a tiring and time-consuming task.

Two, accept your losses and move on.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach