“Horrible but fascinating, and hard not to stare at over and over.” That’s my analogy between Donald Trump running for president and closely inspecting one’s own badly infected big toe. My blog is usually about things other than politics, as steady readers will certainly know, but in 2016 I keep coming back to The Donald because he’s mesmerizing. I promise to stop, at least for awhile, and in the future write about other topics, but right now I can’t stop marveling at the impossibility that this madness is really going on.
There is no way anything as outrageous as the Donald Trump campaign could be this close to the presidency of the United States, with the man at its top so outrageously unqualified for the office—that scenario surely is fiction, or a joke, or a skit on Saturday Night Live, or a ridiculous dream. Like huge numbers of people the world over, I find myself guiltily rubbernecking at this traffic wreck in progress, not quite believing it’s real.
You keep hearing speculation that Trump has never really meant to actually become president, that one afternoon he’ll simply pull his chips from the table and announce that he’s tired of running and has decided instead to build a golf course on the moon or something else more interesting than the tedium of politics. But so far, no. Instead The Donald keeps rambling on, making spontaneous disconnected statements as the moment seizes him, sounding, as one commentator wrote, like someone making a “drunken wedding toast.”
|DOONESBURY [click to enlarge]|
When things are revealed about Trump’s past that would sink any other candidate immediately, it means nothing to his followers and fans. Donald Trump is not, as he endlessly proclaims, one of the most astute businessmen on the planet, and no one who looks carefully into his record thinks so. Major books have been written exposing Trump’s shady business dealings [see Wayne Barrett, “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall,”; Timothy L. O’Brien, “Trump Nation,” (which led to the author being sued by Trump for libel and winning the lawsuit); David Cay Johnston, “Temples of Chance” exploring Trump’s casino days and concluding that in 1990 Trump was in debt to the tune of nearly three hundred million dollars, leading to the first of the (so far) six bankruptcies filed by Trump companies. His record is replete with major failure after major failure, all of which he escapes from nicely by taking the corporations into bankruptcy while he retains big bucks paid to him as a salary/bonus/commission for heading up the financial disaster.
One major business tactic, employed in building Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City and at other projects, is to sign contracts with the various companies doing subcontracting work, let them perform, and then send them checks for half the amount owed them. When they protest, Trump’s usual excuse is not that their performance was substandard, but that he’s losing money on the project and they’ll just have to take their share of the hit. When the subcontractor protests Trump’s lawyer frankly explain that, yeah, the contractor might well win if he goes to court, but in the meantime the enormous Trump legal machine will make it so expensive and so long a process that the contractor still won’t make any money from the lawsuit, so he might as well take the partial payment and shut up. [For a more complete discussion see the AP news release of June 29, 2016 at http://dailycommercialnews.com/Projects/News/2016/7/253-contractors-burned-by-Trumps-Taj-Mahal-build-1017134W/; and for a very sad interview on point see the video in http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/7/22/1551158/-Judge-orders-Trump-to-pay-nearly-300-000-in-attorney-fees-for-stiffing-painting-contractor?detail=facebook]
I previously wrote a long blog post detailing Trump’s fraud in creating, profiting by, and legal problems arising from his promotion of Trump University, which duped thousands of the people who loved him into handing over their savings but giving them nothing in return [see “Trump University: A Fraudster for President”? March 10, 2016;http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/03/trump-university-fraudster-for-president.html]. If he becomes the next President of the United States, it is highly likely that, while in office, he’ll be found guilty of swindling these poor people and facing massive damages in one or more of the three class actions currently seeking that very relief. What an example of a U.S. President that will be for the world!
A major recent revelation is—shocking but somehow predictable—that Trump did not write the major bestseller “The Art of the Deal” which has made him millions since 1987 when it was first published. Here is the cover of the book:
Note that the author of the book is described as “Donald Trump with Tony Schwartz.” It turns out this is false. Recently Mr. Schwartz gave an interview to The New Yorker in which he repents ever meeting Donald Trump and agreeing to write the book that made Trump even more famous and both of them rich [see http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/donald-trumps-ghostwriter-tells-all?src=longreads]. Schwartz says (and Random House, the publisher confirms) that Trump didn’t write a single word of the book. Schwartz wrote it alone after spending 18 months with Trump, working hard to get him to participate at all. Here are some Schwartz’s quotes from the interview:
“I put lipstick on a pig. . . . I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.”
“He has no attention span . . . like a kindergartner who can’t sit still in a classroom . . . . If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time.”
“More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true. . . . He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.”
“I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
Statements like that of course sent Trump rocketing into the stratosphere. Immediately after the interview was published in The New Yorker Schwartz received a blistering letter from Trump’s lawyer, who demanded a retraction and threatened a lawsuit for defamation. That’s in keeping with Trump’s usual tactic: he sues fast, refuses to settle, and drags things out to raise the other side’s attorney’s fees until they give up. Tony Schwartz’s lawyer immediately replied that Schwartz had no intention of making a retraction, so go ahead and sue. Schwartz has pledged to give all profits he makes from “The Art of the Deal” from now on to charity, and he’s working hard to defeat Trump’s election as president. [For more details on this legal battle see http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/donald-trump-threatens-the-ghostwriter-of-the-art-of-the-deal].
On August 2nd, President Obama, astounded at Trump’s ineptness, declared on television that Donald Trump is "woefully unprepared" and "unfit to serve as president." Comparing Trump to Obama’s past election opponents, the president said "Mitt Romney and John McCain were wrong on certain policy issues, but I never thought that they couldn't do the job." He is very disturbed by the possibility that Trump might be the next occupant of the Oval Office. We all should be.
|Governor John Kasich|
There is some evidence that when Donald Trump was trying to persuade former rival John Kasich to become his vice presidential running mate he offered to let Kasich, behind the scenes, actually run the government both on the domestic and international levels, while Trump himself remained Head of State for all ceremonial occasions. It’s both hard to believe that offer was made, but at the very same time no one would bet big money Trump didn’t actually propose it. John Kasich not only turned Trump down, he has refused to endorse him for president, and wouldn’t even attend the Republican Convention held in Ohio where Kasich is the current governor.
I finish the post where it started. The whole Trump campaign is very much like a badly infected big toe: scary yet fascinating, both real and unreal at the same instant. Everyone should be clear about making sure this bizarre man is not elected president. I don’t care how much you dislike Hillary Clinton. Okay, she might either be a very good president or a poor one, but she’s not unqualified for the office, and she’s a sane and thoughtful person with an impressive record of public service. If you can’t vote for her because you can’t stand the woman or don’t trust her, stay home. Time Magazine quoted BriAna Golphin, an Ohioan, who summed up the attitude all voters should have about Trump’s candidacy when she said, “It could be Kermit the Frog and Donald Trump, I’d pick Kermit the Frog.”
I'm with BriAna. Kermit would at least work to make intelligent decisions.
I'm with BriAna. Kermit would at least work to make intelligent decisions.
“A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html
“Trump University: A Fraudster for President”? March 10, 2016; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/03/trump-university-fraudster-for-president.html]
“Why Hillary Will Stomp Trump In November,” June 30, 2016; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/06/why-hillary-will-stomp-donald-in.html
“Trump’s VP Choice: Introducing Sarah Palin . . . Mike Pence!” July 18, 2016; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/07/trumps-vp-choice-introducing-sarah.html