For many people, a fundamental concern with Hillary Clinton becoming the next president is that we will be giving a tremendous amount of power to a person who has failed to demonstrate the integrity necessary for the job. The poor judgment, at the very least, involved in her decision to use a private email server while serving as Secretary of State has been the most recent, publicized, and probably disturbing example of her questionable ethical choices.
For Hillary Clinton, there is a documented pattern of behavior that extends far back in her public life, at least to her husband’s time as governor of Arkansas. There has been a range of behaviors over the years that have raised questions about her integrity. She and her husband were accused of being involved in some questionable financial investments through which they might have used both his access to the governor’s office and her connections gained through her employment in a prominent law firm to gain access to loans and insider information on real estate that would not have been available to the average citizen. There are reasons to think that she and her husband might have lied to investigators and taken other actions to obstruct the investigation into potentially criminal activities. This pattern continued into Bill Clinton’s presidency, during which their behavior continued to generate controversy, with scandals related both their role in managing the executive branch as well as covering up Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs and potentially illegal sexual indiscretions. Since leaving the White House, Hillary Clinton, while mostly keeping a low profile while in the Senate, has continued to generate controversy both in her role as Secretary of State and through her association with special interest groups that have paid her exorbitant speaking fees, presumably to gain access to the Clintons when she returns to the oval office as president next January.
The Clintons and their supporters have argued that many, if not almost all of these supposed scandals were really just “a vast right-wing conspiracy” motivated by partisan animosity and the “politics of personal destruction.” Yet the fact remains that the investigations have all too often revealed unsavory details with regard to the ethical judgments made by both Bill and Hillary Clinton in their professional lives. In Hillary Clinton’s defense, many of the most egregious offenses were perpetrated by Bill Clinton and many of those ethical lapses were more personal than professional, but the cumulative effect of these episodes over the course of their public life has made it difficult for even their most ardent supporters to argue that they are completely innocent of all of the many errors of judgment of which they have been accused. Even if, as is likely the case, Hillary Clinton does not deserve some of the substantial tarnish to her reputation that has resulted from the seemingly endless cycle of accusation and investigation, she also assuredly has earned some of it through the decisions that she has made both with regard to the content of her choices as well as the way that she has chosen to address many of these controversies in public. It is simply not reasonable for her to contend that the considerable public skepticism regarding her integrity can simply be explained by partisan attacks and animosity. Some of this mistrust, and perhaps much of it, is warranted based simply based on her documented behavior.
Enter “the Donald.”
Yet, it is exactly at this point at which the decision of many to support Donald Trump is the most confounding to someone who is familiar with the very public lives that each person has led. A person that is truly concerned about Clinton’s lack of integrity would have to be even more concerned about Trump’s because, by almost any reasonable measure, he has a much greater problem of dishonesty and lack of transparency then she does. Whatever concerns one might have over Bill Clinton’s personal behavior, and there are legitimate reasons for concern, one would have to be even more concerned with Donald Trump’s even more egregious behavior. And remember, we are comparing Trump and Hillary Clinton, not Bill, and she has been accused only of enabling Bill, attacking his accusers, and helping cover up his bad behavior. Trump, on the other hand, has done all of these things, in addition, to actually being the person who perpetrated the sexual assaults. It hardly requires advanced training in ethics to evaluate the relative moral culpability here.
Whatever your position on Hillary Clinton’s integrity might be, whatever it is that you believe she has done, whatever evidence you believe may exist to support your claims, the evidence against Trump is far more compelling. If you don’t understand this, it is not because it is a debatable point. You must simply be unaware of the overwhelming amount of publicly available evidence documenting Trump’s corrupt business practices, pathological dishonesty, and perverse personal life. Some, but hardly all, of the considerable evidence to support this conclusion, is presented below.
Casting a vote for Donald Trump based on a belief that Hillary Clinton is corrupt or dishonest is irresponsible citizenship of the worst sort. It is an act of profound ignorance, either willful or self-delusional, to vote for Donald Trump based on concerns over Hillary Clinton’s integrity. Casting a ballot for Donald Trump is an overt act in which a person would be promoting behavior that is objectively wrong in order to punish behavior that is objectively less bad. If you find Hillary Clinton to be too reprehensible to support, you might have legitimate cause for that evaluation. Personally, I would not fault you for refusing to vote for her. But casting a ballot instead for Donald Trump undermines the credibility of whatever principles you claim to be upholding to the point that it is clear that a person who would do so does not actually have these principles and is simply voting out of spite, anger, ignorance, or an inability to process information. It is not possible to cast a ballot for Trump over Hillary on moral or ethical grounds because the evidence of Trump’s corrupt and unethical behavior is so overwhelming that such an act is unreasonable on its face.
The Honesty Issue: Trump Lies ALL THE TIME and Far More Often than Hillary Clinton
There is a widespread perception among the public that Hillary Clinton is dishonest. There is probably not much point in either refuting or rehashing this claim because it would be very difficult to make a case otherwise. She has lived a long public life and the public record of her dishonesty is compelling. She has lied in public about things that she has done or said. She has lied about actions she has taken and the reasons that she took them. She has acted throughout her public life in a way that suggests that either she should not be held accountable, doesn’t believe she will be, or simply believes that people are not intelligent enough to reason through the truth of a situation.
Nevertheless, even if you agree with the statements made above- and I realize that many would object- it cannot be a reasonable basis on which to cast a ballot for Donald Trump. Because the evidence of Trump’s dishonesty is even more compelling and more troubling in almost every conceivable way.
This is a FACT. It is an objectively true statement that can be demonstrated with evidence. You might not believe it. I am not sure why not. But the people who make this claim document it with evidence. The people who claim otherwise just say “uh-uh. People don’t like Hillary because they don’t trust her and don’t believe her. But they will turn to Donald Trump, who is less honest and trustworthy.
When the media attempts to check on the truthfulness of Trump’s public statements, they consistently find that he is incredibly dishonest, certainly the least honest politician running for the presidency this year. When called out for his lying, he does not back down but just repeats the same lies over and over.
I would never argue that Clinton is a thoroughly honest person. She has lied at length about her email server. She has lied about her stances on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. You can make a convincing case that she is inauthentic. But on a daily basis, she is, believe it or not, predominantly factual. The two general election debates, for which I fact-checked both Trump and Clinton, have shown how much more accurate she is than her opponent: Clinton made four false claims at the first debate to Trump’s 34, five false claims at the second debate to Trump’s 33.
Politifact has kept a running tally of the statements that it has fact-checked over the course of each candidate’s campaign. Check out these numbers if you believe that Trump is trustworthy and Clinton is not.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t usually say things that are completely false and typically tells the truth. Donald Trump usually lies and rarely tells the truth. It is not even a close call.
Trump lies about things that can be easily demonstrated to be false and he lies about saying things that he just said in front of millions of people. In addition to denying that he said that he was smart for not paying federal income tax, he also denied that he claimed that global warming was a Chinese hoax despite the fact that he has repeatedly made this claim. His own staff are left having to engage in inexplicably bizarre and supremely comical attempts to avoid directly acknowledging what is plainly apparent: Trump is practically incapable of telling the truth.
Perhaps no example illustrates this point more clearly than the so-called birther controversy. Barack Obama was clearly born in the United States. It is a fact that is as easy to prove as the fact that Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney or George W. Bush or Donald Trump or almost anyone else born in the United States was born in the United States. Donald Trump should have known this and most likely did. But he kept repeating the claim that Obama was not or that he had not released his birth certificate or other falsehoods. Not until it appeared that it had the potential to affect his chances of winning the election in November did he, sort of, back off this claim. But in the process of doing so, he made a host of new dishonest statements.
Why Don’t People Believe That Trump is Lying?
Part of the problem is that Trump’s supporters, while partially supporting him due to Hillary’s lack of integrity, don’t seem to care- or perhaps even know- that he is lying. He does not seem to care because he just uses it as a talking point to beat up on his accusers. Meanwhile, the public has become increasingly immune to fact checkers to the point that some will assume that the lying politician- and not the reporter attempting to hold the politician accountable- is the one who is telling the truth. Trump ends up being the beneficiary of the fact that the public assumes everyone is lying all the time anyway.
In 2000, James Kuklinski and other political scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign established an important distinction: American citizens with incorrect information can be divided into two groups, the misinformed and the uninformed. The difference between the two is stark. Uninformed citizens don’t have any information at all, while those who are misinformed have information that conflicts with the best evidence and expert opinion. As Kuklinski and his colleagues established, in the U.S., the most misinformed citizens tend to be the most confident in their views and are also the strongest partisans.
Correcting people who are misinformed often times make them even more convinced that they are correct. This appears to be especially true for Trump supporters. The more that they are given the factual information that contradicts his claims, the more likely they are to support him.
Part of the reason for this is that Trump supporters are typically less educated than those who do not support him. Indeed the divide between those with college degrees and those without is expected to be the widest in any recent presidential election, with the divide between college-educated whites and non-college educated whites emerging as the single most important division in this election. Oddly, college-educated whites is a group that has typically voted for Republican presidential candidates, particularly in the years in which they won. However, this group has shifted decidedly toward Hillary Clinton this year. One reason that Trump is supported by the less educated is that he speaks to them. Daily newspapers are typically written at a 5th-grade reading level. Trump’s speeches are usually given at a 4th-grade reading level. Trump’s supporters are also prone to believe some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories. There are many possible reasons why Trump’s supporters are less well educated than those who oppose him. But for whatever reason, it is clear that fact-checking has limited value in persuading Trump voters because they are least likely to be either educated or informed enough to process the fact-checking.
How Could Anyone Believe that Donald Trump is More Honest than Hillary Clinton?
Yet despite the considerable evidence that Trump routinely lies in his public statements both with regard to his own personal and professional life, as well as his willingness to routinely misrepresent basic facts about the world in which we live, many still argue that he is more honest than Hillary Clinton or that his dishonesty matters less.
The arguments for Trump and against Hillary come in all shape and sizes. Some contend that, as a private businessman, Trump should not be held to the same standards as an elected or public official since private citizens are not accountable to voters. Others say that Trump has been held accountable by investors, customers, and donors for his behavior because actors in the private sector are held accountable in ways that public officials are not. Some argue that it really doesn’t matter if he is honest because we need someone with Trump’s take-no-prisoners approach to his professional and personal life to shake up our paralyzed political system. Some even claim that Trump’s lying is not as ethically challenged as Hillary Clinton’s because he doesn’t know any better, his lies are so outrageous that nobody will believe him, and that he just lies instinctively rather than being deliberate and calculating about it.
Enough people seem to believe one or more of these arguments that we are actually having to debate the point despite the considerable evidence that Trump is one of the most dishonest and corrupt individuals to disgrace the stage of American public life in decades. He has publicly demonstrated levels of unethical behavior that would shame even the most shameless politicians- even the Clintons. He is arguably the least transparent and most dishonest figure to gain widespread public support in modern American politics. Indeed, if we were to rank him in the pantheon of the political figures that we associate with a lack of integrity, he stacks up as probably the worst of them all. To vote for Trump based on concerns about Hillary’s integrity requires mental gymnastics so strained that if you could somehow transform these twists, turns, leaps, and flips into actual gymnastics, you would have easily outscored Simone Biles at the Olympics.
Some might claim that Trump still isn’t as bad simply because they don’t believe that he actually lies or engages in corrupt behavior to the same extent as Hillary Clinton. However, to draw this conclusion, a person would have to consistently make assumptions about Hillary Clinton and believe things about her that are at best speculative, while also believing that easily demonstrable claims about Trump are not true even when there is considerable evidence to demonstrate otherwise. One would have to willfully assume the worst case scenario about Clinton and the best case scenario about Trump just to get the two to moral equivalency. This is the very definition of “wishful thinking.”
The reality is that Donald Trump has lived a life that is so corrupt, dishonest, and irresponsible that it is truly shocking that anyone would think that he should be the leader of anything, and beyond shocking that anyone would think that he should be the president of the United States.
Let’s reexamine some of the arguments for why Trump is not as dishonest as Hillary in a different light. The pro-Trump argument contends that Trump lies so often and so outrageously that his lies are not calculating in the way that Clinton’s more subtle and nuanced lies are. So she is more culpable because her lies are too close to the truth to be excused whereas Trump’s lies are so far from the truth that they can somehow be forgiven. The argument for Trump implies that Trump’s lies are so much a part of his personality that they could not really be calculated to further his ambitions but are rather just something that he does but cannot help. Therefore, he does not have the same “consciousness of guilt” as Hillary. The argument also implies that Trump is less culpable simply because he does not always appear to even be aware that he is lying whereas Hillary Clinton is obviously intelligent enough to know better, making her lies more morally repugnant as a result.
Let’s say that we were to accept these assumptions and implications. This would mean that Trump consistently characterizes the world and himself in ways that are far from reality, further from the reality than the world that Hillary Clinton describes. It would mean that Trump is pathologically incapable of telling the truth whereas Hillary Clinton has the ability within her, suggesting that she could learn to be more honest if given the opportunity. Finally, it implies that she has a level of knowledge and understanding of the world that makes her capable of acting rationally within it whereas Trump does not. I am not actually sure that you could make a better argument for favoring Hillary Clinton over Trump if you tried.
Trump’s Personal Life is Pretty Bizarre
In terms of his morality in his personal life, Donald Trump certainly cannot claim to represent, stand for, or have lived a life that in a way resembles “traditional family values.” A comparison to a modern exemplar of personal immorality, Bill Clinton, is revealing. Bill Clinton, while being forced to admit publicly to marital infidelity on more than one occasion, and having been accused of sexual indiscretions including sexual harassment and rape, has also demonstrated the decency- out of respect for his family, his wife, and his office- to attempt to keep his personal shortcomings out of the public eye. He demonstrates some degree of shame when being asked about these questions publicly. He has not bragged about his sexual conquests or discussed the personal details of his marital infidelities or sought to bring attention to them in any way. While it is easy to contend that his actual behavior has shown great disrespect for his wife and his family, it is not because he has sought out public attention for them.
Donald Trump, much to the contrary, has always wanted you to know exactly how creepy he can be. He has always invited the public into his marriages and wants everyone to know that he can do whatever he wants sexually. He brags about his sexual exploits, allegedly once calling conservative commentator Tucker Carlson after Carlson criticized Trump’s hair. According to Carlson, Trump left him a voicemail in which he said, “It’s true you have better hair than I do, but I get more pussy than you do.” He discussed the size of the is penis during a presidential primary debate.
He has been married three times and has publicly discussed his sexual relationships with all three women in the media. His divorce to Ivana Trump was granted based on his “cruel and unusual treatment “of her. She even claimed at one point that he had been physically and violently aggressive against her. Of course, she is legally barred from discussing the details in public per the settlement in which the Donald agreed to buy her silence.
He has managed to keep at least on his affairs, with a former playmate, Karen McDougal, in 2006-2007 while married to his current wife, out of the press. It certainly is not a coincidence that the Donald has worked for The National Enquirer and was endorsed by the paperback in March. I suppose Melania would obviously be reluctant to comment publicly even if she knew or file for divorce since she apparently worked in the country without a visa, making her an illegal immigrant.
Well into his 50s, when he was older than Barack Obama is now, he was getting in public disputes with a reporter about stealing the reporter’s girlfriend, at one point contending, “Any girl you have, I can take from you,” as if a woman were just a possession that could be swapped around between competing males. Despite his constant claims to being healthy and strong, he dodged the draft in his youth due to supposed “infirmities.”
Yet, never fear, according to The Donald, sex was his “personal Vietnam” in the 1980s. There is no question that Trump loves and is really quite obsessed with discussing sex in public. He has a particular fascination with sex tapes and talking about them in public. This wasn’t a one-time aside or joke. It is a talking point.
Donald has done a nice job of sharing his values with his children.He talks about how hot his daughter is and how much he would like to date her. He even told Howard Stern that it was appropriate to refer to his own daughter as a “piece of ass.” He believes that if his daughter were to be sexually harassed at work, she should just find another career, again almost explicitly condoning sexual harassment in the workplace, which given his own behavior is quite understandable. At another point on the Howard Stern show, the two of them laugh as Ivanka calls him a sexual predator.
“If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce. Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position,” Trump says.
“You can’t be negotiating billion-dollar deals if you can’t handle, you know,”
“I know plenty of people, I’ve had conversations like that with plenty of people where people use language off color. They’re talking two guys amongst themselves, they’re talking. I’ve seen it time and time again.
I think most American people just say, ‘You know what, I’ve probably said those kinds of things myself.’ We’re not happy that he said it, for sure, I get that.
But I think it means that he’s a human being, that he’s a regular person like everyone else. I think that’s what endeared him to the American public.”
Of course, this rationalization is ridiculous on a number of levels. You could start with the idea that people support Trump because he is a regular person. I am a regular person. Trump is supposedly a fabulously successful businessman. If people wanted a regular person who knew a lot about the government, they could vote for me. And as a regular person, I feel quite comfortable asserting that most American would not say that they just reach out and grab the genitals of other people and get away with it because they are celebrities. Seriously, this is the defense for the behavior that one of his children volunteered. These people really do make the Clintons look the champions of family values.
You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. But you don’t have to. The Donald did it for you.
Donald Trump Treats People- Especially Women- Very Poorly
Donald Trump is just disrespectful to other people. He is disrespectful to individual people that he encounters in politics and he is disrespectful toward entire groups of people. He is boorish and a bully. These characteristics are very difficult to deny. Indeed, some of his supporters actually claim that this is part of his appeal. Why it would cause others to support him, I do not understand. But the point is that even his supporters would not deny that he is disrespectful. That is just part of his “he tells it like it is” appeal. Of course, it hardly matters to his supporters that he is almost pathologically dishonest. Yet this makes his disrespect even more concerning. It is not just that he “is willing to say the thing that nobody else will say” even if it is disrespectful. It is that he is saying things that are not accurate and not fair toward other people and then simply dismissing criticisms with the “this is just my opinion” argument that somehow excuses his behavior. Or he denies that he said the thing that he is on videotape saying.
One of the oddest moments from the presidential debate on September 26th against Hillary Clinton was when Trump complained about the negative ads that Clinton was running against him, saying that she was attacking him. Yet the ads he was complaining about were just clips of him talking. It is almost as if he realizes that he is boorish and disrespectful but just does not want to be confronted with it.
Trump has a long history of demonstrating ethnic, racial, and religious prejudice against a variety of groups, particularly blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims. Some have suggested that this was never an issue raised about Donald Trump before he ran for president. However, His company, Trump Management, was sued by Richard Nixon’s Department of Justice for racial discrimination toward blacks in the early 1970s, which was actually the first time that Donald Trump had made headlines in the national media.
‘The recent record may be more familiar: Trump’s suggestions that President Obama was born in Kenya; his insinuations that Obama was admitted to Ivy League schools only because of affirmative action; his denunciations of Mexican immigrants as, “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists”; his calls for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States; his dismissal of an American-born judge of Mexican ancestry as a Mexican who cannot fairly hear his case; his reluctance to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan in a television interview; his retweet of a graphic suggesting that 81 percent of white murder victims are killed by blacks (the actual figure is about 15 percent); and so on.’
One area in which Trump seems to enjoy disrespecting others is in mocking people with disabilities. Staffers from Celebrity Apprentice report that Trump routinely called Marlee Matlin, a deaf actress that appeared on the show, “retarded.” Last November, Trump famously mocked a reporter with a speech disability by mimicking with flailing arms.
But the issue which is most concerning to many, and probably should be, right now is his egregious behavior toward women. To say that Trump is shameless is perhaps the understatement of the year. Bringing the women that have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault to the second presidential debate on Sunday, October 5th was certainly a bold act, particularly because Trump must have been aware that there were, literally as it turns out, a dozen or more women who could- and now have- made similar accusations against Trump. I suppose this might have been an effort to “get ahead of the story” but it appears to have simply accelerated these women’s decisions to come out and reveal his behavior toward him, something which they had previously been reluctant or unwilling to do.
Here is a short and certainly not complete list of the women accusing Trump of having assaulted them. Almost daily, there is a new groping allegation against Trump. More than one Celebrity Apprentice contestant has claimed to have been assaulted by Trump. And another journalist has accused Trump of groping her.
Trump response to this flurry of claims of sexual assault. Of course, he denied it. What else could he do? But that isn’t enough for “The Donald.” He also wants you to know that all of these women are unattractive as if that proves that they are liars.
Mr. Trump referred to one woman, Jessica Leeds, who said Mr. Trump groped her on an airplane in the 1980s, as “that horrible woman,” saying Ms. Leeds would not have drawn his interest. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice,” Mr. Trump said of Ms. Leeds, now 74.
He was similarly dismissive of Natasha Stoynoff, a former writer for People magazine who accused Mr. Trump of making sexual advances during an interview. “Check out her Facebook page, you’ll understand,” Mr. Trump said.
“I don’t necessarily agree with his victims, his victims are terrible,” Trump said. “He is really a victim himself. But he put himself in that position.”
“The whole group, Paula Jones, Lewinsky, it’s just a really unattractive group. I’m not just talking about physical,” he said.
“Would it be any different if it were a supermodel crowd?” Cavuto then asked.
“I think at least it would be more pleasant to watch,” Trump replied.
Trump suggested that the behavior was so outlandish that it is unreasonable to think that he actually would have done it.
Here’s how Trump described the story in Greensboro: “One came out recently where I was sitting alone in some club. I really don’t sit alone that much, honestly, folks, I don’t think I sit alone. I was sitting alone by myself like this. And then I went”—and here he made a noise and lunged with his right arm—”to somebody.” He gave an incredulous look.
Yet his description of what he is accused of doing matches very well with the 2005 video of him saying that he regularly did exactly that and always got away with it. Don’t take the accusers word for it. Take his.
Part of his denial also included an apparent threat toward President Obama suggesting that allegations could be made against him as well. Trump also suggested that the allegations against him were so unfounded that “they could say it about anybody,” including President Barack Obama.
Of course, this comment raises two important points. First, people could have been making these claims against Obama for a long time, but they haven’t. Nobody made these claims against Mitt Romney or John McCain or George W. Bush or John Kerry or George H.W. Bush either. They could have but they didn’t. More importantly, it illustrates vividly Trump’s entire attitude toward “the truth”:
Reality is whatever Trump says it is and it doesn’t matter if he is lying. Anybody who claims a reality that conflicts with his must be lying or could be lying or who cares what’s a lie or what isn’t after all; the whole thing is a game and he is winning. If he is not winning, it is because others are cheating.
It is fair to call Trump a misogynist. Perhaps our culture has become too accepting of labeling people with broad strokes because of isolated events. However, in the case of Trump, the pattern of behavior has taken place over a long period of his life and been so consistent and so overwhelming that it is very difficult to deny. He clearly has a double standard about women that they are to be judged by their looks and not by their brains. His comments about his own wife and ex-wife make that clear.
At one point, he compared both Ivana and Marla to one of his buildings.
“I love creating stars. And to a certain extent, I’ve done that with Ivana. To a certain extent, I’ve done that with Marla. And I like that,” Trump said. “Unfortunately, after they’re a star, the fun is over for me. It’s like a creation process. It’s almost like creating a building; it’s pretty sad.”
It is not JUST words as Donald Trump suggests. He has been accused, like Bill Clinton, of inappropriate touching and sexual advanced- including contact- on a number of occasions.
After the New York Times ran a story in May this year about Trump’s history with women, including an account of Harth’s story, Trump’s campaign even reached out to her to pressure her to take back her account, she told the Guardian on Tuesday.
“His office – and I have it on my voicemails that he called, that they called – they asked me to recant everything when the New York Times article came out. They were trying to get me to say it never happened and I made it up. And I said I’m not doing that,” she recalled. Trump’s office denied this.
She was further upset by an interview Trump’s daughter Ivanka gave in the wake of the New York Times article saying her dad is “not a groper”.
Jill Harth: “I understand that the girl wanted to defend her dad, being it’s her dad,” she said, “but what did she know? She was 10 years old! She was 10 years old at the time. She didn’t know what her father was about, what he was doing, how he was acting.”
Such statements felt defamatory to Harth, adding insult to injury. That’s when she hired attorney Lisa Bloom to demand that Trump retract his statements that are, as Bloom put it, “effectively calling her a liar”.
And another example…
The Times spoke with Temple Taggart, a 21-year-old Miss Utah, who was startled by how forward Mr. Trump was with young contestants like her in 1997, his first year as an owner of Miss USA, a branch of the beauty pageant organization. As she recalls it, he introduced himself in an unusually intimate manner.
“He kissed me directly on the lips. I thought: ‘Oh, my gosh. Gross.’ He was married to Marla Maples at the time. I think there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s inappropriate.’”
Donald Trump claimed in the 2nd Presidential Debate with Hillary Clinton that he was only accused of words that were inappropriate, “locker room talk,” as he called it. He compared himself favorably to Bill Clinton and actually brought out women that had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault or sexual harassment to the debate to highlight this. But now it turns out that Donald Trump has triggered a wave of announcements that he is guilty of the exact same behavior- not words but actions.
Have you seen and heard the videotape? If not, you really should not be arguing with the conclusions drawn here until you have. You could actually end up looking like a bigger idiot than Trump. There are some who are attempting to dispute the stories that are coming out on an almost daily basis accusing Trump of past discretions. But the tape confirms their stories. Trump is openly acknowledging that he does the very thing that these women are accusing him of doing.
And he has made similar comments in other settings. For example, he told Howard Stern, also in 2005 during an on-the-air interview discussing his ability to walk into the dressing rooms of Miss USA and Miss Universe contests while contestants were not dressed.
“No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it,” Trump said. “You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody OK?’ And you see these incredible-looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.”
But it is not just his own words that confirm these women’s stories. It is Trump’s repeated and very public misogynistic behavior toward women that makes it impossible to believe that he could be telling the truth when all of these other women are lying.
Take, for example, his very public attacks on a former Ms. Universe, or his comments about his lone female rival for the Republican nomination, Carly Fiorina. He has so little shame about his treatment of people that when he is called on it publicly, he continues to insist that it is appropriate behavior. Think about it. He is a 70-year-old man who thinks it is appropriate to publicly criticize a woman’s weight. If you were sitting at a private dinner table with someone who did this, you would cringe and find it to be more than a bit inappropriate.
Trump and his supporters immediately went on the attack against his accuser, Alicia Machado, characterizing her as a disturbed individual for a variety of things that she has done or accused of having done after her involvement in the Miss Universe contest. I have no idea which of the allegations against her or true or not and it really doesn’t matter. She isn’t running for president and the activities that she has engaged in since the incident in question bear no relationship at all on what happened to her when she was 18. What happened to her when she was 18 is largely public record. Even if it were possible to argue that she had subsequently exaggerated the extent of her mistreatment by Trump and that she should not be believed because she is not credible, it is largely irrelevant to an assessment of Trump’s involvement in the incident.
- Trump was publicly on record as having commented on her weight at the time and arranged the photo-op to show her at the gym during which he commented to the press that she had an “eating problem.”
- Trump has continued to discuss her weight-even after the incident became publicly debated- and argue that it was appropriate for a 50-year-old man to be discussing an 18-year-old girl’s weight in public.
- Most bizarrely, Trump was up at 3:00 AM one night unleashing a flurry of tweets defending his critiques of this woman’s weight and attacking her character. Frankly, this behavior, by itself, independent of the content of the tweets or the original episode, is almost as disturbing.
The way Trump has run his businesses also demonstrate his disrespect toward women. Trump’s companies have been involved in over 20 lawsuits involving mistreatment of female employees. He has been accused on a number of occasions of discrimination against women in his professional career. Trump regularly made explicit sexual comments to guest stars on Celebrity Apprentice.
The catalog of Trump’s abominable treatment of women is so rich that one could really write an entire book on this topic alone. It is only out of the need to limit the space devoted to this particular topic that I have to select a few characteristic examples.
- Participants in the Miss Universe contest report that Trump regularly entered the dressing rooms while contestants were dressing and greeted them, often kissing them in the process.
- In 2006, he referred to then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice- one of the classiest people to grace the stage of American politics in decades- a bitch, demonstrating that Trump does not only have disdain for women who are liberals but conservative women as well.
- He obsessed about the skin of Celebrity Apprentice contestant, arguing that the male contestant was more attractive than the woman because of the quality of her skin.
- Selma Hayek reports that after she rebuffed Trump’s attempts to date her, he planted stories about having rejected here in the National Enquirer, further demonstrating his extreme insecurity with regard to women.
This is not “long ago” behavior. In 2013, after the last presidential election when Donald Trump was already a senior citizen, he was publicly discussing his views on a variety of female celebrities and his assessment of their personal attributes. If this life-long pattern of behavior has continued to this point, on what grounds can anyone believe that it will end.
Can anyone identify any example of any president discussing women in public in this way? Can anyone rationalize how having a president who speaks of women this way could possibly be an acceptable role model for either women or men? Does anyone really want to have to explain to this to their children or grandchildren? After all, at some point, they will see it and judge it for themselves and they will know how you assessed this man’s character by how you voted. Does it bother you at all what they will think about you when they put it all together? Shouldn’t it?
It really doesn’t matter if you think that people are too sensitive. Maybe they are, but the president has to be held to a higher standard. Presidents often are criticized for tilting too far one way or the other in some public controversy even when they are doing their best to remain neutral. Yet, Trump does not pretend to remain neutral. He attacks people- innocent bystanders who have done no harm to him- directly and often without provocation. This is exactly what bullies do.
Unfortunately, part of the reason that Trump’s supporters are tolerant of this sort of attitude and behavior toward women is that they share it. For example, hostility toward women is strongly correlated with support for Trump. Many of his most outspoken supporters also have histories of abusing and bullying women, and both use and endorse his language toward them.
Click on this link. Read these quotes. These are not accusations against Trump or speculation about what he might have done, said or thought. These are actual words that he voluntarily uttered in a public setting. Think about what this says to a woman about who she is and who she is supposed to be in Trump-land. If it does not appall you, I and a whole lot of other people are appalled on your behalf and more than a little concerned about why you are not. It is one thing to claim not to know that this is who this man is. Yet if you just read those quotes and are still making this claim, it is something worse than ignorance which is motivating your unwillingness to see this man for who he is.
Ironically, this is actually an issue on which Clinton opponents attack her and think she should be attacked. And I think they are serious too. Yet this is another example of how the anti-Clinton people have become so hysterical that they are making, defending, and repeating an argument that is so confounding that I cannot believe a person’s head wouldn’t explode trying to make it.
It goes something like this:
1) Hillary is a bad role model because she tolerated her husband’s infidelity and stood by him, perhaps even participating in the cover-up, and questioning the honesty of those who accused him.
2) This sets a bad example for other women and especially our daughters who need to learn to stand up for themselves against bullies and men who objectify them and treat them badly. Women should support each other when being bullied and abused by men.
3) We need to hold Hillary Clinton accountable for the poor example she is setting for our daughters.
4) The way we do this is by voting instead for a man who has been divorced twice, has bragged publicly about his extramarital affairs, discussed his sex life with several of his wives in public, potentially assaulted one of them, discussed being attracted to his daughter, and routinely criticized women for superficial and subjective aspects of their physical appearance.
5) This will demonstrate to our daughters what our real values are. Women should stand up for themselves not by standing up to their abusive husbands but by becoming completely submissive to men in every conceivable way. Women should not tolerate unfaithful husbands. They should complete succumb to the whims of every man and should never question a man’s judgment on anything. That will teach our daughters how to be ….. what exactly?
It is really inconceivable that someone could make or believe this argument. Somehow people seem to want to believe that because Bill Clinton has been accused of sexual harassment and even rape, that Hillary Clinton is to be held accountable because she questioned these accusers and did not abandon her husband. But somehow Donald Trump, who has also been accused of attempting to rape a woman, should be given the benefit of the doubt. Yet, there is MORE actual evidence- more accusers and more factual support behind the accusations of Trump’s sexual aggression toward women than anything that Bill Clinton has been accused of. This is a FACT. This is not to excuse Bill Clinton. But can anybody actually explain why electing the rapist is better than electing the woman who is married to one?
Trump’s supporters claim that the allegations against him are not substantiated and that there is no way to figure out who is telling the truth. Rep. Renee Ellmers’s (R-N.C.), a Trump supporter, was on CNN’s “State of the Union” program and characterized the sexual assault allegations against Trump as a “she said, he said” situation.
“When we’re talking about this issue, this is sexual assault,” said Ellmers. “So we’re accusing a man of sexual assault here, and I’m not going to debate who’s telling the truth here, but it is a ‘she said, he said’ situation.”
Yet as Tapper pointed out, this is not just two people making competing claims.
He responded to Ellmers by saying, “Just to correct you, I’m sorry — it’s a she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said situation.”
And some of the women have corroborating evidence that is every bit as compelling as the evidence that was used to convict Bill Clinton in the minds of many of his detractors. For example, People reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who claims to have been attacked by Donald Trump in 2006, right around the time that the Donald was telling Billy Bush that he attacked women, has produced 6 different eyewitnesses to confirm various aspects of her account.
And why should Donald Trump get the benefit of the doubt with regard to accusations made against him when Bill Clinton does not. As if there is any doubt whatsoever about Donald Trump’s attitude toward and treatment of woman after the litany of evidence presented above.
“expecting now for everybody that will be seeing these interviews with these women to not believe them, and one of the things they say in their statement is, How dare you reach back decades and look at possible sexual assaults from way before, like, how could it matter? But the problem is, that’s exactly what they are asking people to do when they look at Bill Clinton.”
Of course, it is possible that these are just political vendettas, just as it is possible that they were with the Clintons. But there is really no more reason to doubt them than there was with Bill Clinton. In Clinton’ case, most of the allegations were raised years after the fact during times when Clinton was either running for national office or had his sex life and his denials of wrongdoing being covered prominently in the media. These are exactly the same circumstances in which the allegations against Trump have been raised.
But easily the most compelling evidence against Trump is the FACT that there is a videotape of him voluntarily telling someone that he did these very same things that he is now denying. The women’s motivation to provide their names to the media and admit to this sexual harassment after years of not coming out to the public about it makes sense given the obvious problem that they would subject themselves to public ridicule and probably not be believed. The same justification was used to defend Bill Clinton’s accusers, most of whom came forward years after the abuse was said to have taken place. But most importantly, Trump admitting that he does these things in one forum while simultaneously denying it in another surely provided motivation for these women to come forward, as did the realization that they were not the only ones and might be part of a much larger group that has been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump over a long period of time.
Let’s suppose Donald Trump were to win the presidency. There are going to be biographies written about him that will cover his life and controversies. All of the information provided here is going to become MORE discussed and publicized- not less. These controversies will not go away but will become central themes in the Donald Trump narrative. Your children and grandchildren will become infinitely familiar with the details of this man’s life, just as you are with the details of Bill Clinton’s. But instead of just Bill, Hillary, Monica, Paula, Juanita, and Kathleen, we will have the Donald, Ivana, Marla, Melania, Jessica, Rachel, Alicia, Jill, Mindy, Natasha, Temple, Kristin, Cathy, Summer, Cassandra……………….
I have two daughters. I don’t know how I could explain to them that the president of the United States talks about and treats women this way. I have worked very hard to teach them that a man is, can be, and should be much more than this. I am not the only person that feels this way. I have no intention of even trying to defend this man to my daughters. I will tell them what they will surely figure out on their own: “President Trump (a phrase I definitely hope that I never have to utter) is simply not a very good person and does not care about people like you. You should not listen to what he says.” So our hope is that this is what our daughters will believe about the president- that they should not care what the president says. What kind of message does that send? This is one of those issues on which Hillary Clinton, despite all of her flaws and biases, is clearly in the right in her criticisms of Trump.
Donald Trump is many things but here is one thing that he is almost certainly not: an honest and successful businessman. He has certainly done a tremendous job convincing others that he is. But there is very little evidence to support his claims. The available public evidence suggests that his business career, despite starting with a considerable advantage over most people with a substantial ($14 million?) loan from his father, has been quite sporadic, with as many incidents of failure as success. Much has been made of his 4 bankruptcies and risky business decisions that have often not worked out. Many justify it as the cost of doing business. However, Trump’s business career has been unnecessarily and unusually risky and rarely produced results better than average given the money invested. Overall, he has probably done more poorly investing his assets than if he had simply allowed someone else to manage his money for him.
There is no evidence to suggest that he is anywhere close to being as wealthy as he claims. He is not at all transparent about his businesses in public filings, leading to misleading information being reported by him, his allies, and other media outlets. The businesses that can be linked to him are awash in debt, owing far more money than his public filings demonstrate him to be worth. Furthermore, whatever success he has achieved is likely through his ability to game the system to his advantage and to use the legal and political system to cushion the fall of his many business failures. His business career has been rife with scandal, to say the least.
As is the case with his political campaign, his television shows, and his personal life, Trump’s success in business is closely linked to his instinctive bullying. For Trump, threatening or actually filing lawsuits is instinct. Trump has been involved in over 3500 different lawsuits. When forced to tell the truth about his business successes under the risk of perjury, a very different story about Trump’s supposed business success emerges. With regard to the notorious, now-defunct, and still involved in litigation Trump University, the company pressured students to provide positive evaluations even when they were clearly not satisfied with the product.
Trump is frequently accused of not paying contractors and others that do work for him. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Trump routinely refuses to pay contractors, practically daring them to sue him, knowing that they are unlikely to be able to afford the legal costs if they lose. Just this year he lost a lawsuit in which he was forced to pay over $300,000 for trying to cheat a contractor out of approximately $35,000. Trump also refused to pay an organization, USA Freedom Kids inc., that provided services to his campaign earlier this year.
People have accused the Clintons of taking advantage of their public life to make themselves personally wealthy. One of the central claims against the Clintons is that they have used their positions in government to profit personally. This is undoubtedly Trump’s intention as well. Indeed, he has much to gain both in terms of the promotion of his brand through using the US government as free advertising, but he also has the ability to influence government policy, including tax policy to his advantage. And he has demonstrated a consistent willingness to bend the rules to his financial advantage. His unwillingness to release his tax returns should be particularly troubling to anyone concerned about their president having financial conflicts of interest. He has been very opaque about his plans for his businesses after the election if he were to become president. His tax proposals appear to very much benefit someone with his financial profile. Indeed given his lack of public disclosure of his financial dealings and conflicting reports about his actual wealth, it is certainly reasonable to speculate that he might be seeking office for the primary purpose of furthering his bottom line.
Trump is certainly more guilty of this than the Clinton’s are. Indeed, Trump is literally paying himself to run for president. Trump has attempted to bribe public officials with campaign contributions, including one of his former rivals. Trump has not just received preferential treatment from the US tax code, he has used his wealth and connections to actively seek out this preferential treatment. He did not just take advantage of a poorly written tax code. He actively helped create it. The Wall Street Journal found that Trump regularly gave money to Attorney Generals that were potentially investigating the legality of his business activities, including issues related to Trump University.
If you think it is important that someone play by the rules, Trump is not your guy.
“If there is one recurring theme in the litigation spawned by Mr. Trump’s business ventures, it is his brazen willingness to ignore the plain terms of contracts he finds inconvenient while relentlessly enforcing contract terms he finds useful.?
People who support Trump clearly do not hold him to the same standards as they do others. For example, Republicans have been very critical of Barack Obama’s negotiations with the Iranian government and Trump himself has suggested that it is not clear if Obama’s loyalties are really with the United States as opposed to the terrorists. Yet Trump’s companies rented space to an Iranian bank which has been linked to fundraising for domestic terrorism. Republicans have been critical of Obama’s decision to lift the embargo against Cuba. Trump has taken inconsistent positions on the issue, at times favoring Obama’s approach and at times criticizing it. But regardless of the politics of the Cuban embargo, Trump almost certainly broke the law in the 1990s by attempting to do business in Cuba in direct violation of the US embargo against it. The only reason that Trump and his companies could not be prosecuted based on available evidence today is that the statute of limitations has expired.
The Trump Foundation: A Scheme to Launder Money for the Trump Family
It should hardly surprise anyone who has actually followed the very public career of Donald Trump that the primary beneficiary of his supposedly charitable foundation would be none other than Donald Trump and his family. That appears to be the only charity that Donald Trump believe is worthy of his attention. Trump certainly doesn’t give any of his own money to charity- and never has.
Trump has made the 9/11 attacks a centerpiece of his campaign. Yet not only did Trump not donate any money to any of the charities associated with the 9/11 attacks, he has also lied about his generosity, claiming to have donated millions when he actually gave nothing. Meanwhile, his surrogates continue to attack Hillary Clinton for overstating her role in assisting victims after 9/11, even to the point of having to apologize for making false claims about her.
Earlier this year, Trump famously skipped a presidential debate during a crucial point in the primary election calendar to raise money for veterans. This was clearly an act of political expediency as Trump has never spent any amount of time or money focused on the concerns of veterans before. Then, as it turns out, Trump actually delivered less than what was promised to veterans groups and only appears to have made the donations after considerable pressure from the media. While he claims that he spent the four months between the fund-raising event and the actual delivery of the money vetting potential recipients but many of these organizations have clearly not been vetted by anyone, raising doubts about Trump’s ability to know an effective organization from an ineffective one.
Trump’s inability to understand the difference between an effective charity and ineffective charity should hardly surprise anyone as his very own Trump Foundation is a borderline criminal activity. It is certainly not a charitable one. Much has been made about the conflicts of interest- both apparent and real- concerning the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s position of Secretary of State, a conflict that would become even more glaring should she become president. It is difficult to deny that this conflict of interest exists- nor should we. It is an issue that must be addressed and the Clintons have at least superficially acknowledged the need to address it should she be elected.
But whatever the conflict of interest associated with the Clinton Foundation, it pales in comparison to the Trump Foundation. The Trump Foundation is not really a charitable organization at all. Indeed, it appears to be nothing more than a front for Trump to raise money to help him pay off expenses associated with his businesses while giving him the veneer of being charitable. If elected, Trump would seemingly be able to continue to funnel money from influential donors and others seeking government benefits into an organization that will serve the primary purpose of helping Trump’s personal financial bottom line. This is not trading favors for campaign contributions or trading influence for charitable contributions. This is money that will essentially go directly to Trump’s personal bank accounts and his personal bottom line. If the Clinton’s are guilty of having profited personally from their political careers, Trump is at least as guilty of doing the same. Indeed he has essentially acknowledged that this was part of his motivation for running in the first place. “In 2000, Trump told Fortune, “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”
He is using money raised by his campaign to hire his own companies to provide services to him that he was previously paying for out of his own pocket. So running for president is allowing him to get donors to fund his personal expenses and is costing him nothing in return. This is almost exactly what Clinton’s opponents accuse her of doing, except that it is more blatant on Trump’s part and less commented upon by the media. Perhaps it is just that there are so many things that are wrong with Trump that the media does not have time to cover all of them. But it is truly amazing to those paying attention that there are people who will claim with a straight face that they cannot support Hillary Clinton because she is corrupt and will then turn around and explain why they would support Trump, is even more egregiously corrupt in almost identical ways. In fact, Trump has been so routinely successful at using the law and the government and politicians to line his own pockets that it is amazing that one could actually try to claim that the Clintons are corrupt but Trump is a successful businessman. They are both using government money and political power to line their own pockets, but Trump is doing it to a larger degree. If Hillary Clinton is corrupt, then Trump is even more so. If Trump is just a “good businessman” than the Clinton’s are also pretty successful business people as well.
Donald Trump is not a charitable man. We often expect our great business tycoons to be great philanthropists. Think Andrew Carnegie or John Rockefeller or Warren Buffet. But not Donald Trump. This is a man who gives very little to charity and what little he does give does not cost him anything. Indeed, Trump has not given to his own Trump Foundation since 2008.
The Trump Foundation has been plagued with a host of seemingly illegal activities. For example, Trump apparently used Trump Foundation money to buy a 6-foot portrait of himself from at an auction fund-raiser and then kept the portrait for his own personal use. Since the money he used to purchase the portrait was not his own, he would be required to ensure that portrait was used directly to assist the charitable mission of the Trump Foundation. If Trump kept the portrait, he would be in direct violation of the laws allowing for charitable organizations to raise and donate money without paying taxes. This is just one of a number of investigations that have produced considerable evidence that Trump was using his foundation to pay his own personal expenses and business expenses as opposed to giving the money for the good of others. Furthermore, it has apparently been doing so in violation of the law, making him nothing short of a law-breaker. If the chants of “Trump for Prison” have not begun already, it is time to start taking them more seriously.
Most egregiously of all, Trump has used the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable institution, to funnel money to potential political allies in order to enhance his prospects for a presidential run. The Kansas City Star, reporting on an investigation conducted by the conservative-leaning news aggregation website Real Clear Politics, summarizes an episode this way,
Real Clear Politics discovered that in 2013 the Trump Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, donated $10,000 to The Family Leader, which is a 501(c)(4) non-profit that can politically organize and lobby for policy. Political activity is not allowed by 501(c)(3) organizations. The donation was not appropriately recorded on the organization’s tax filings, which is a violation of tax law even if it was a mistake.
Trump was invited to speak the same year he made that donation to The Family Leader at the organization’s leadership summit in Iowa, a key state in presidential primary races. Also in 2013, Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a large political event outside Washington, D.C. He donated $50,000 from the foundation to the nonprofit which organizes the conference.
Trump’s use of his so-called “charitable foundation” has been ordered by the New York state Attorney General’ Office to cease and desist all charitable fundraising efforts because it has failed to acquire the required approval to raise money as a charitable organization, partially because it has failed to subject itself to the transparency required to meet the state’s requirements. Imagine what he would say if the lawbreaker in question were an illegal immigrant without proper documentation or Hillary Clinton failing to disclose her emails.
For all of the legitimate concerns about the Clinton Foundation and its appearances of impropriety, on the issue of effectiveness as a charitable organization in terms of actually giving money to help others, the Clinton Foundation has an exceptional reputation in terms of actually giving money to the causes it claims to promote and the efficiency with which it does so.
Trump might very well be the most shamelessly hypocritical politician to (dis)grace the stage of American politics in our history. Trump has centered his campaign on this notion of fighting for the average American who is fighting against a system that is rigged in favor of the wealthy and the privileged. He specifically cites the Clinton’s as being symbolic of this system. Yet, Trump’s entire “success” in life can be linked directly to his ability to take advantage of this rigged system. He criticizes others for their failure to pay federal income taxes or the low percentage that they pay, yet he appears to have avoided paying federal income tax for as many as 18 years.
Trump does not simply avoid paying taxes. He bends the law to avoid paying taxes.
Regardless of whether the I.R.S. objected, Mr. Trump’s tax avoidance, in this case, violated a central principle of American tax law, said Mr. Buckley, the former chief of staff for Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, who later served as chief tax counsel for Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee.
“He deducted somebody else’s losses,” Mr. Buckley said. By that, Mr. Buckley meant that only the bondholders who forgave Mr. Trump’s unpaid casino debts should have been allowed to use those losses to offset future income and reduce their taxes. That Mr. Trump used the same losses to reduce his taxes ultimately increases the tax burden on everyone else, Mr. Buckley explained. “He is double dipping big time.”
Trump is clearly hypocritical when raising the tax code as a problem, and particularly when he calls out others for cheating the system, gaming the system, and failing to pay their fair share, something which he does frequently.
Here are some representative tweets from Trump.
- According to Trump, President Obama does not pay enough in taxes. Of course, the only reason that Trump knows this is because Obama released his tax returns which he has done every year since he started his campaign for the presidency in 2007. Yet Trump, who appears to have paid a considerably lower percentage of his income in federal tax, has not released his tax returns at all. That is hypocrisy.
- Trump identifies hedge fund people as taking advantage of the tax code and says that they pay practically nothing in federal tax. Perhaps it would be less hypocritical if he had pointed out that real estate developers also get substantial tax breaks and that as one, he pays practically nothing in federal income tax. Interestingly he directly associates the low tax rates of hedge fund managers with the middle class paying too much in tax. Yet, by that reasoning, the middle class must also be financing his low tax burden, meaning that his wealth is partially driven by the fact that others are paying higher taxes to compensate for the money that he is keeping to finance his lifestyle. Trump has even taken advantage of tax breaks that are supposed to be reserved for middle-class taxpayers while simultaneously claiming to be outrageously wealthy.
- He wholeheartedly jumped in on the Mitt Romney, “47% don’t pay federal taxes” argument, seemingly forgetting to note that he was among those. Given Mitt Romney’s concern for those who were not pulling their weight in our society, perhaps this is why he had such concerns with Trump since he recognized that Trump was among that 47% who do not pay their share of federal income taxes.
- Yet, here he is saying that there are no tax breaks for the wealthy and that the rich pay all of the taxes. Again, he conveniently leaves out that he is not one of those rich people. No, he is one of the rich people that is, in his own words, “smart” enough to game the system to avoid paying taxes.
So to recap: In Trumpland, the rich don’t pay their fair share in taxes but they also do. The tax code does not give advantages to the wealthy except when it does. Not paying taxes is bad except when it is smart. Politicians should be held accountable for not paying enough in tax except when they shouldn’t be. This all would make perfect sense to a Trump voter but probably not to anyone else.
Seriously, How Could You?
Almost every argument Trump has made for his candidacy has been based on a fundamental untruth. His presentation of himself is completely dishonest and the public record of this is readily available. We don’t have to speculate about the kind of man he is. We only have to open our eyes and look. His policy positions are either completely uninformed, inconsistent and contradictory, or simply harmful and counterproductive. The Republican Party made a terrible mistake choosing him as its nominee and there is just not a single defensible argument for voting for him now. This is not an argument based on arrogance; it is an argument based on common sense and the evidence sitting right in front of you.
People don’t like it when others have to point out the obvious to them. Personally, I get annoyed when people are always reminding me to tie my shoes or show up to things on time. But if I am shamed by it, that is my fault. It doesn’t take much to figure out that Donald Trump is a bad person that is not qualified to be president. The fact that so many citizens have failed to see this is deeply troubling, perhaps the single most disturbing phenomenon in American politics for nearly a half-century.
There are those who question whether democracy can work in a country of people this ignorant, apathetic and unreasonable. It is hard now to think anything other than that those critics might be correct. Having taught US Government for over 20 years, I honestly never thought I would see the day when we came this close to simply giving up on our country and on our system of self-government. But here we are.
Individuals are going to have to make a choice soon to simply see this man for who he actually is and recognize that there is nothing he could possibly do- and certainly nothing that he has proposed to do- but make an already difficult situation considerably worse. Anyone who does not see that is uninformed- either willfully or because they are not capable of knowing better. Either way, this is about the darkest time in US politics that I have lived through in my lifetime- and that is really saying something. If Richard Nixon was running for president this year against Donald Trump, I would vote for Nixon because, even after knowing about Watergate, he would still be more qualified for the presidency. Donald Trump is simply the worst candidate either party has ever nominated for the presidency and the 2nd worst nominee is not really that close.
This isn’t partisan. It is personal. I don’t have a personal relationship with Trump so my point is not that I have a personal vendetta against him. Rather it is personal in the sense that it has nothing to do with the party he represents or even his policy positions. I am deeply concerned about his policies positions and I am working to articulate my concerns in a different setting. Particularly troubling are the policy positions that he emphasizes the most- trade, immigration, policing, and foreign policy. These also happen to be the issues on which he is most egregiously uninformed.
However, even if he were right about policy- and to be clear, he is definitely not- he would still be an unacceptable choice for the presidency. The number of life-long Republicans who have publicly endorsed the position that Donald Trump is not simply an acceptable choice to be president of the United States is long and growing. This is pretty unprecedented in modern American history. As many times as both parties have endured bitter primary seasons in which the parties had difficulty uniting for the general election, there is nothing close to this trend, at least since 1968, of so many prominent party leaders and life-long party members, turning so publicly against their own party’s presidential candidate. Many of them do disagree with Trump on issues of policy, but at least as many recognize what should be obvious to anyone who is paying attention.
Donald Trump is not a good person. He knows it. That is why he refused his own campaign the opportunity to do a background check on him. He is not someone that you would hold up as a role model for your children. He is not someone that you would want to be your neighbor. He is not someone that you would like if you had to interact with him on a daily basis. He is a bully. He is a liar. He is unacceptably disrespectful to both individual people with whom he interacts and toward entire groups of people whom he judges and demeans simply because of their personal characteristics. He is the kind of person that you would warn your kids about when advising them about choosing their friends and associates wisely. Perhaps you did not realize this about him before he started running for president. Perhaps you don’t want to believe it because you dislike Hilary Clinton so much that you don’t want him to be this person. But at some point, the evidence becomes so overwhelming that you cannot deny it. No doubt people will do so anyway.
But if you have read this far and you have really examined the information available and reflected upon it and you are still willing to walk into a voting booth and cast a ballot for Donald Trump to be the president of the United States, that act will ultimately say something about you and your character and your judgement and your ability to fulfill your responsibilities as a citizen of this country- and what it will say is not good.