Have you ever been in a situation where perhaps one of your co-workers or a manager tells you one thing, and then in another situation, says the opposite? This person does not link together the fact that saying contradictory things doesn’t really help at all. And I’m not really talking about making an honest mistake in expressing meaning; I’m talking about a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the truth. If you were faced with such a person, you might describe them as a bit of a weasel, or a snake; saying different things to different people and being shifty with the truth. This person, as you and many will realise, has displayed impropriety with the truth, and in future dealings you might say you can’t really trust them any more.
If you were a bit more positive about the whole thing, you could point to this person’s actions as the result of mental fatigue of some sort. Perhaps this person has been overworked and is showing signs of not being able to cope. Perhaps the pressure of dealing with the work situation is causing the person to make mistakes. You could point to the mental tiredness as the reason for making this sort of error – if only to put a positive spin to it.
I suppose it really depends on the error. If the contradiction dealt with one minor aspect, it might be forgiven. For example, if someone said they would go out with you for dinner, and then within twenty-four hours said they were unable to, then it would really be a small point. But if it was a major decision, involving high stakes, then this sort of “double negative” really doesn’t make a positive and would not be seen in the best light. Especially if it comes from someone “high up” in an organisation.
So when someone like Donald Trump makes contradictory statements about Russian collusion with the United States voting process, he doesn’t really do himself a lot of favours.
Perhaps the President is more style than substance, trying to demonstrate overtly than be silent mettle. He could take a page out of the book of the Italian tenor Placido Domingo, who despite having to live in the shadow of the more extrovert Luciano Pavarotti, went on to have a longer career at the New York Met. (You can read more about this post, written by Piano Teacher Harringay.) Perhaps Trump might have a longer career in politics if he learnt something from Domingo!