The “false equivalence” stuff between the two parties has never been more inappropriate than it is this year. I don’t just mean Trump vs. Hillary. It’s about Republican vs. Democrat. It’s about what the far right believes vs. what every other decent human believes. So, when you say something as profoundly stupid as “Hillary Clinton is practically a Republican” or “Hillary Clinton is too far right to be a good Democrat,” you sound extra stupid saying it this year.
See, here’s the thing; Donald Trump could never be nominated or elected as a Democrat anywhere, not even in a red state, and there is no way he could ever get the Democratic nomination for president. It’s not possible. That’s because politicians must push certain buttons in a Republican primary that would disqualify them from ever winning a Democratic primary. That is because the two parties have, quite literally, never been more different, and I mean ever. Trump really isn’t much of an outlier with the crap he is spouting, he just tends to shout his garbage more loudly and more crassly. Whereas other Republicans use dog whistles, Trump uses a bullhorn and The Who’s amplifier setup.
That’s not to say that Trump is not exceptional in some ways. He represents himself as everything Republican, but there’s more of it. And there is no question, Trump has more skeletons in his proverbial closet than the Clintons ever dreamed of. As I pointed out the other day, despite journalists’ insistence that there are many things we don’t know about the Clintons, the fact is, there are virtually no actual Clinton scandals out there. On the other hand, what the press knows and routinely ignores about Trump would take several book volumes to document. This blog will attempt to document these as much as possible without writing a book or boring you too much, but everyone should know the basics.
What is Donald Trump, you ask? Well…
Trump is a Bigot
Whenever someone asks me if I think Donald Trump is racist, I always flash back to the “All in the Family” episode where Archie Bunker meets Sammy Davis, Jr. Basically, Lionel Jefferson assures Davis that Archie would never burn a cross on someone’s lawn, but Davis suggests that he might stop to toast some marshmallows.
That’s Trump. It’s one of the few areas in which Trump still uses dog whistles. He is aware that he can’t be openly hostile to African Americans these days, but the dog whistles he sends to the white supremacist movements are frightening. I have no doubt that, if a Black man was to be lynched tomorrow, Trump wouldn’t approve of it openly, but he would probably still ask the murderer to vote for him quickly; you know, before he became a felon.
Trump has quite a history of discrimination against African-Americans. In 1973, the real estate company Trump owned with his father was taken to court for a pattern of discrimination against Blacks and other minorities when it came to property rentals in Brooklyn and Queens. Managers were told outright not to rent to non-whites. And lest you think the case was just an accusation and was never proven, think again. The Department of Justice sent in two undercover “testers,” one black woman and one white woman, to a Trump building in 1972. Except for race, the two women were essentially identical, but the black woman was told there was nothing available, while the white woman was given her choice of two available condos. DOJ investigators discovered that Trump employees marked minority applicants with special codes and routinely steered minorities away from buildings that were mostly white. Stupidly, Trump fought the accusations, claiming he didn’t want “the government” telling him who he could rent to. (Again, while he’s louder than most Republicans, this is GOP orthodoxy.) That cost him, though and he and his father were forced to settle and promise to comply with the Fair Housing Act. They even had to attend training, so they couldn’t plead ignorance the next time.
You may think Trump has learned his lesson in recent years, but there is little evidence of that. A couple years ago, on the Celebrity Apprentice, Trump attacked former “Cosby Show” actress Keshia Knight Pulliam because she didn’t solicit Bill Cosby for funds for one of the stupid contests for that show. This was just after the Cosby rape allegations had started coming to light and she didn’t feel comfortable approaching Cosby, which was understandable. Also, Trump is a birther and there is little more racist than implying that the first black president isn’t qualified because he wasn’t born here.
Trump’s bigotry consists of a lot more than prejudice against black people. He has a strong sense of “other”- ness. The one thing he has made clear since he announced is run for president is that he has zero tolerance for undocumented immigrants, even though he is possibly married to one. His “zero tolerance” approach is reserved only for brown-skinned immigrants; mostly, he only sees the Latinos as a problem, despite the fact that only slightly more than half of all undocumented immigrants are from Mexico and points south. A great many of them are from Canada, Europe and Australia, but he never talks about them.
Trump has absolutely no respect for Latinos. It’s not just the racist comments he made in his announcement speech, where he suggested that Mexico was sending us all of its rapists and criminals (a meme that is straight out of the ignorant redneck white supremacist handbook, by the way) to the United States and that he was going to build a big, beautiful wall and make Mexico pay for it. There is so much more. For example, look at what he did to Jorge Ramos of Univision, an American Spanish-language television network. Trump was holding a press conference, and Ramos was trying to ask a question, just like every other reporter, and Trump threw Ramos out of the place.
Of course, whereas his ignorant loyal followers love it when he talks about undocumented immigrants taking “good American jobs,” (another one from the handbook), there are signs he’s all talk. Everyone with a brain knows that the problem isn’t the immigrants coming here illegally, but the employers who hire them because they’re trying to operate on the cheap. Trump seems to have no problem with hiring them himself. At Trump’s resort at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump hired 200 Polish workers who were here illegally to demolish one of the buildings that was in the way of another gaudy Trump Tower. In recent years, Mar-a-Lago has thrown out the applications of hundreds of Floridians who applied to work there in favor of applying for 1,100 temporary visas for immigrant workers, mostly from Europe. In addition to that, Trump Model Management and Trump Management Group LLC have brought in 250 fashion models on temporary visas. We know this because Melania was one of them. It’s also interesting to wonder how many of his closest followers are aware that Trump also traded visas to the Chinese in return for heavy investments in Trump projects. Most of those people really did take jobs that Americans wanted.
Trump is a misogynist
As noted, Trump’s dressing-down of Keshia Knight Pulliam for not wanting to exploit her relationship with Bill Cosby is a superb example of how Trump views women. So is his treatment of Megan Kelly, Fox News host. He has repeatedly called her a “lightweight” and bullied her repeatedly on Twitter, calling her a “bimbo” repeatedly. And when she asked hm questions he didn’t like at one if the Republican Klown Kar debates, he suggested that she was asking him those types of questions because she was “bleeding out of her whatever.”
He has a history of doing this. He obviously sees women as objects who are here for amusement. Even when he likes a woman, he talks about her in terms of her looks because that is how he values women. His attacks on Rosie O’Donnell have become the stuff of legend. He’s called her a “pig” and he makes it clear that he can’t talk about her without insulting her looks. He has also referred to Arianna Huffington as a “dog” and he has referred to Sarah Jessica Parker as the “least sexiest woman alive.” (sic) Not only do his constant attacks on women indicate an inflated sense of self, but it reveals a mentality that shows an inability to see women any other way but in physical terms.
He is obviously afraid of strong women. Most of the women he attacks are generally women who stand up for themselves and demonstrate a high level of strength and ability. If you look at the progression of his wives, he obviously has a need for a trophy wife, as well as a feeling of power. Trump demonstrates a strong need to believe that women are the “weaker sex” and he allows strong women in his organizations only if they defer to his power and authority. For example, when “The Apprentice” started sinking in the ratings in 2006, the first thing Trump did was fire Carolyn Kepcher and replace her with his daughter Ivanka. He’ll give all kinds of excuses for the decision, but it’s hard to deny that the real problem was that the public liked her on the show too much and it was cutting into his popularity.
That is the least of Trump’s misogyny, though. Earlier this year, a Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski allegedly assaulted Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Again, this is Breitbart, which is about as pro-Trump as it gets. First, Lewandowski and Trump both accused Fields of making up the story. When the Trump-lovers at Breitbart took Trump’s side, Fields and several staff members took a hike. At no time has Trump ever shown empathy for Fields and he and his campaign staff have repeatedly smeared her. And she’s on his side.
One of the worst aspects of Trump’s misogyny is the decision on the part of most journalists to ignore it. They are obsessed with Hillary Clinton’s emails to the point that it’s all they can talk about, even though she is actually running against an alleged rapist. Sure, he hasn’t been proven to be a rapist in court, but then, she’s been completely cleared on the emails issue, too. On the other hand, the press is largely glossing over the fact that trump is the subject of a lawsuit in which he is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl about 20 years ago. If that’s not enough, the lawsuit also names one of Trump’s dearest friends, Jeffrey Epstein, who Trump has openly referred to as a “terrific guy,” even though Epstein has been convicted of human trafficking.
Yes, that’s right. On the one hand, we have a Democratic nominee for President who has been investigated and cleared for daring to send emails through a private server and may have spoken to a few people who gave money to her husband’s foundation and the press can’t stop talking about those. On the other hand, there is a lawsuit against the Republican nominee for president that may force him to pay out millions for raping a teenager and who has a close friend who has been involved in human trafficking and the press pays almost no attention.
The fact that Trump is known as a “womanizer” seems to have cause many in the press to give a big shrug to these accusations, but one thing has nothing to do with the other. There are many “womanizers” out there, and while you can argue that such behavior isn’t acceptable for a presidential candidate, it’s not rape. Rape is a violent crime and an accusation of such a crime should be a lot more concerning than a candidate’s email practices unless the candidate in question was sending child pornography. This isn’t even the only accusation of rape against the Republican candidate for President. There have been three. Now, I would argue that this is probably the first presidential candidate in history who has had to fight off three rape allegations. Why is this not a story, journalists?
In a deposition during divorce proceedings with Ivana back in the 1990s, she described Trump as becoming enraged at one point and then holding her arms back and pulling her hair as he raped her. Note that, in the deposition, which is a statement made under oath, she called it a “rape,” specifically. (Source) The incident was detailed in a book written by journalist Harry Hurt III and published in 1993, Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump. However, Trump’s lawyers forced the publisher to include a statement by Ivana Trump, in which she retracted her use of the word “rape.” Instead, she said she should have said “violated.” (Source) Now, keep in mind, the statement in the deposition was made under oath in a court of law, while the statement to accompany the book was not.
The other allegation of rape came in a lawsuit filed in 1997. In the lawsuit, Jill Harth said that she and her domestic partner were working on a business deal with Trump and the big orange one was constantly leering at her and had groped her numerous times in addition to an “attempted rape.” According to the lawsuit, Trump took her into one of his kids’ bedrooms at Mar-a-Lago, where he threw her against the wall, touched her all over and lifted up her dress. In a recent interview, Harth claimed that she had to push him away and that she had to shout, “What are you doing? Stop it,” in a bid to get someone’s attention. Harth also claims that Trump contacted her numerous times to encourage her to change her story and to deny that it ever happened. (Source)
All rape is horrible, but the latest accusations are the most disgusting imaginable. The woman who filed suit in New York in June 2016 alleges that Trump raped her in 1994, when she was just 13. I will admit that anyone can file a claim and allegations are not proof, but shouldn’t that be the job of the press? Don’t these accusations at least deserve a look, journalists? The complaint alleges that she attended numerous parties with Trump and his friend Jeffrey Epstein, who is a convicted human trafficker and who has been referred to in the media for years as “the billionaire pedophile.” Again, Trump refers to Epstein as a “terrific guy.” The lawsuit alleges that Trump tied the girl to a bed, then raped her in what is described as a “savage sexual attack.” In a statement, the woman says that Trump threatened her immediately after the rape and told her that she and her family could be harmed or killed if she told anyone. (Source) There are also statements from a witness; someone who claims she was in charge of procuring women for Trump and Epstein for these parties and who says they were both aware of the actual ages of the girls, including the 13-year-old he raped. She also says she witnessed the physical abuse in the aftermath of the rapes. Again, while it’s true that accusations are not proof, why aren’t journalists looking into this more deeply than an email issue that has been thoroughly investigated and on which Hillary Clinton has been cleared? At the very least, someone in the press should be following this. If their investigation clears him, fine, but shouldn’t we know whether or not a presidential candidate is a rapist?
Trump is a Scam Artist
Not only is Donald Trump selling snake oil to the Republican faithful and his biggest supporters, he has many years of scamming people for much of his wealth, not that we know how much he actually has. Even his claims of being a billionaire are kind of a scam. It’s probably why he refuses to release his tax returns; no one who knows about this stuff thinks he’s worth $10 billion, but it feeds into the narrative he wants to present, in which he is a master businessman and will be able to save the country with his incredible business acumen. Never mind that businessmen almost never make great presidents or even politicians; to Trump’s faithful minions, logic and reality don’t really matter. Trump’s candidacy is the ultimate scam, but it’s certainly not his first.
The most obvious scam everyone knows about and the press largely ignores is the Trump University scam. The “school” was marketed as a way to teach its “students” how to become real estate moguls like its namesake. Of course, but it was not a school. In fact, a lawsuit was filed by the New York State Education Department against Trump University for operating without a license. The response, of course, wasn’t to shut down the scam, but to change the name to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. He was still fleecing people by promising the same things, but he did so with a different name. Trump claimed he “hand-picked” the instructors, but many of them had no background in real estate and some were convicted felons. Trump also made sure students had access to the student loan system to pay for their “education,” although there never was a curriculum. The “school” ran for six years and conned thousands into spending way too much money on a scheme that was only designed to make Trump money. Many of them figured this out, so they filed a huge lawsuit about this, which Trump has been trying hard to delay throughout the campaign. That means, if, God forbid, he wins, we will have a president who could end up having to pay tens of millions of dollars because someone was able to prove fraud and rape. And some of you will swear to me this is a “lesser of two evils” election.
Consider what all of this means. If Trump wins, we could end up with a president who would have to pay tens of millions of dollars because someone was able to prove both fraud and rape against him. And some unicorn progressives still swear to me this is a “lesser of two evils” election.
That’s just the tip of the scam iceberg, anyway. At one point, Trump started an investment company called the American Communications Network (ACN). ACN only sold only one product; a videophone that was only compatible with other ACN videophones. The business model for ACN was supposedly multi-level marketing, but many have described it as a pyramid scheme. Investors could buy into the telecommunications company for $500. They would sell a phone, then recruit the buyer into the fold to sell more and each person in the chain would get a small commission on every sale made downline. Over the nine-year history of this scam, investors lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Trump made millions. At one point, regulators in Australia and Canada flagged the company, although the courts there determined that it wasn’t a pyramid scheme. However, regulators in Montana determined that it was exactly that and they sent a cease-and-desist order. A court ruled that it was the investors who were at fault and ACN kindly agreed to offer additional training. And lest you think this is a long-ago Trump scam, it was 2015 when the company cut off orders, laid off 70 percent of its staff and filed a liquidation bankruptcy.
Don’t mistake that pyramid-like operation with The Trump Network, which Trump ran alongside the ACN debacle. Between 2009-2011, The Trump Network actually collected urine samples from customers and used junk science to sell them “customized” vitamins. Again, one “investor” would buy vitamins and then become sellers and then recruit other sellers and everyone would earn a commission downline. Not surprisingly, the company’s recruiters lost a lot of money this way and when the company was sold in 2012, Trump reaped all of the benefits.
This type of thing is typical of Trump. While he’s been able to con everyone into believing he’s a great businessman, but it’s largely a joke. Trump Steaks were basically the same steaks you’d buy from your local Safeway, except with Trump’s name. Well, except for that time when he shipped some “Trump Steaks” that were still wrapped in “Bush Brothers Provisions” packaging. Then there’s Trump Magazine, a quarterly magazine that only produced a few issues and folded in 2009. In March, he tossed a few copies into the audience at a campaign speech, but those weren’t actually his magazine, which was obvious because every actual copy of Trump Magazine had a Trump family member on the cover.
Another scammy aspect of Trump’s business approach comes with his later career in real estate. See, Trump doesn’t actually own or develop much real estate these days. Instead, he licenses the Trump name to other real estate developers, who then essentially con condo buyers into thinking they’re buying into an actual Trump property. For those of you who think the rich are automatically smarter than we are, soak that in for a moment. The developers lure investors with the Trump name, making them think they’re partnering with the famous businessman, instead of putting their money into a nondescript property; even one that is possibly being built by someone with a shady record. In many cases, these investors don’t find out that Trump doesn’t actually have anything to do with the project until they lose their investment when the development fails and they try to sue him. Investors lose money, the people who put down deposits on condos lose money and Trump makes millions by selling his name and essentially shielding developers who may be attempting to scam buyers and investors. And in case you think failures of Trump-branded properties is rare, think again. Among many others, people have tried to sue Trump over developments that have failed in Canada and Mexico, as well as Florida and Hawaii, among others.
Put simply, this type of thing is only slightly less odious than the Trump University scam. People are coaxed into buying shares in condo developments that they believe will be backed by the Trump “fortune.” They believe they are putting their money in with the guy he played on “The Apprentice” and Trump was fine with that. Trump is a grifter of the highest order.
Trump is Bad at Business
Trump is not someone anyone should want to do business with. The most obvious indication that he sucks at business is the fact that Trump has filed for bankruptcy four times. At the very least, this record alone should call into question the ability of Trump to handle the country’s finances. How would he handle a debt crisis? Given that bankruptcy is essentially a legal attempt to avoid paying creditors, how would federal contractors know they will be paid for their contracts? Given that the Dow dropped 400 points Friday because of a fear of a half point increase in Federal Reserve interest rates, such uncertainty on the part of federal contractors could make the Bush Recession look like a slight blip.
Trump’s bankruptcies also say a lot about him. The first one, in 1991, came after he borrowed $65 million against his real estate investments. Nine months after that his infamous Taj Mahal Casino left him about $4 billion in debt, so the company filed for bankruptcy. The second bankruptcy, in 1992, came when he was personally leveraged to just about $1 billion. The third came in 2004, when Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts filed for bankruptcy. For that one, Trump had to pay $72 million out of pocket. However, just five years later, the same company, which had been rechristened Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., filed for bankruptcy again.
All of these bankruptcies call into question a lot of things. It half explains his decision to not release his tax returns, but it also calls into serious question his exaggerated claims of personal wealth in excess of $8 billion. How does someone with that much wealth gain that with so many bankruptcies and business failures? According to Forbes magazine, Trump is worth $125 million, which seems more likely.
What are his business successes, exactly? Except for early real estate ventures and his current scam of licensing the Trump name, most of his businesses have failed miserably. He still pimps “The Art of the Deal,” his one best-selling novel, but he didn’t even write that, nor did he do most of what was written about. And his business failures have been spectacular.
Take his purchase of the New Jersey Generals in 1983. The Generals were part of the United States Football League, which had enjoyed some success in its first season in the spring of 1982, although that attention had waned somewhat by the end of its first season. That’s when Trump decided to buy in, getting the Generals for $9 million. Unfortunately, due to league overspending, the USFL lost $30 million in 1983. The USFL had always played its games in the spring so as to avoid competition with the NFL, but Trump tried to encourage the league to schedule games in the fall, opposite the NFL, despite the fact that no TV contracts were available at the time. Before long, the USFL folded. Led by Trump lawyers, the league filed a $1.69 billion antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. They won. They received an acknowledgement from the court that the NFL was a monopoly. And the court awarded the league $3 in damages. No, that’s not a misprint; they didn’t win $3 million or $3 billion, they won THREE DOLLARS.
Seriously, what is it about Trump that would lead anyone to believe he was some kind of business mastermind, except that his name is unavoidable? Most of his businesses have been flops. Take “Trump; The Game,” a board game he’s released twice, in 1989-1990 an again in 2005. It didn’t sell worth a crap the first time and when Trump tried to justify its re-release by noting the ratings for The Apprentice, it still didn’t sell worth a crap. Anyone remember Trump Airlines, also known as Trump Shuttle? He took out $380 million in loans from 22 small banks in 1988 to buy up one of the profitable parts of the then-failing Eastern Airlines. Trump invested in all sorts of flashy-but-untested technology and used his “luxury” taste in the décor of the planes, which one can imagine if you look at the inside of his condo. However, Trump Shuttle’s prices were too high, it never got high scores from passengers and it never turned a profit. Trump defaulted on the loans, as well.
Maybe he makes money because he does a lot and doesn’t actually pay for it. That is part of his business legacy, after all. When he was building the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in 1990, for example, he famously spent $1 million every week for his own personal expenses/extravagances, but Trump screwed contractors at the site out of more than $60 million. That means, while he was blowing $1 million a week on himself, the people who were depending on the contracts he signed to put food on their tables got exactly nothing. One glass contractor, Atlantic Plate Glass, tried to collect the $1.5 million Trump owed them for the glass work on the hotel, but Trump forced them to accept approximately 20 cents on the dollar compared to the original agreement.
That Trump tradition has been a constant thread throughout his business career and it is one that has continued through his presidential campaign. The USA Freedom Kids, three pre-teen girls who performed at a Trump rally on January 13, in Pensacola, Florida, have filed suit against the Trump campaign because it stiffed them for $2,500. And within the last few days, word has come down that a number of Trump staffers have quit the campaign because he didn’t pay them for August. Keep in mind, according to FEC filings, Trump collected $90 million in August and $80 million in July. In what way is Trump a good businessman?
It’s entirely possible that one reason he’s had to rely on licensing his name is because contractors are unwilling to work for him and more and more banks are unwilling to lend him money. Isn’t that a possibility? He’s failed on so many levels. In 2006, Trump once again tried to enter the travel space with a website called GoTrump.com. This was a search engine powered by Travelocity, that was ostensibly geared to customers seeking deals on luxury travel. The site featured recommendations that supposedly came from Trump himself, but most doubt that Trump ever bothered. After all, think about it; how would he know? He flies everywhere on his own jets and rarely sleeps anywhere but New York and Mar-a-Lago, according to Trump himself. How many people who are looking for luxury accommodations and private jet rentals are really looking for cheap travel in the first place? How much could he possibly make from any kickbacks he might get for referrals? It’s a vanity site; there’s no way it would ever make money, even if it hadn’t shuttered a year later.
Also in 2006, at the peak of the mortgage bubble, Trump started Trump Mortgage, at a time when a lot of people were making money on suspicious mortgages, but the worst part of this thing was that he hired someone he described as “a top Wall Street professional.” Of course, the guy had, at best, mediocre banking credentials and Trump Mortgage was out of business a year later, before the mortgage meltdown happened. That may be why he started Trump Vodka, which was supposed to be a “super premium” vodka. Though its motto was “success distilled,” the company’s poor sales led it to close in a few years.
I know this is a long piece, but this is really the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Trump. With a record like this on the part of the Republican candidate for president, why is anyone even talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails, or her health? This man is not fit to run a bakery, let alone a country. Where is the press on this stuff?