Donald Trump has been known by many names; real estate mogul, billionaire, playboy, reality television star and even (impeached) president. He also has several less flattering monikers; liar, philanderer, draft-dodger, racist, bully, bankrupt (both financially and morally), and other not-so-positive terms.
What has he done to earn these distinctions?
The Trump brand can be seen all over the world, with his name plastered over several properties. He has hotels, resorts and buildings with letters large enough to be seen for blocks, a reflection of his massive ego. And while he would have you believe that he personally had these properties built, he actually either purchased them, or paid to have his name placed on them, such as his bankrupt Atlantic City Casino.
Trump says he is a billionaire, but his continued and dogged refusal to release his tax returns cast doubt on this claim. Without knowing where his money comes from, no one can truly know if his boasts are true or not. This leaves us with a nagging question. What’s he hiding?
Trump’s reputation as a playboy had him bragging that his avoidance of an STD was his “personal Vietnam”. Always surrounded by attractive women, Trump would later “confess” to sexual assault on tape. There are allegations of sexual assault from many women, while Trump campaign staffers attempt to smear his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, with similar claims.
While this would be the death knell for any other campaign, well-timed leaked e-mails from the Clinton campaign served as a convenient distraction.
For years, Trump had a reality show called “The Apprentice” where, joined by his daughter, Ivanka, he pitted contestants against each other as they were asked to compete in various “business ventures”. There was no clear criteria as to how one person or another won the competition. Indeed, in a pattern that has become a hallmark of his administration, the winner was decided by who pleased Trump the most.
I will confess, I never watched a single episode.
The title of president is one Trump holds with ignominious distinction. No one has embraced the “bully pulpit” name more, with the emphasis on “bully”. While Theodore Roosevelt intended the term to mean one who has everyone’s attention, Trump had interpreted it to mean he has the right, if not the sworn duty, to belittle those who oppose him.
But there is one thing that about Trump’s term in office that he cannot escape: He is only the third president to be impeached. Like the previous two, Trump was “acquitted” in a Senate trial. His was an absolute exercise in partisanship, as only one Republican, Mitt Romney (R-UT), actually voted for conviction.
Trump the Person
The one thing Trump has cultivated more than anything else is his larger-than-life persona. Whether it be as a businessman, real estate mogul, reality television star or, most recently, as a politician. As a result, Trump views any perceived slight as a personal attack on his character, and will use whatever means to strike back at those he sees as offending him. Many people, including his current wife, Melania, have stated that if you attack Trump, he will strike back ten times harder.
Many have surmised that Trump is obsessed with revenge. He regularly attacks the media, calling those who disagree with him enemies of the people. Even members of his own party are afraid to criticize him, knowing that doing so will earn them a politically fatal Twitter rant.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are many eager to diagnose Trump’s personality, however they are prevented from doing so.
Over the years, the thrice-married Trump has been linked to numerous claims of sexual abuse, including his ties with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Trump has used his connections with certain members of the media, namely the National Enquirer, using a strategy called “catch and kill” to prevent any unfavorable details of Trump’s philandering lifestyle from seeing the light of day.
Women, including porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal sold the rights to the sordid details of their involvement with Trump under a non-disclosure agreement that prevents them from telling other media outlets of these details under penalty of severe financial consequences. The Enquirer would then refuse to print these details, allegedly keeping these stories, and others, in a locked safe to prevent them from becoming public.
Trump the Businessman
Years before he made his way to the political arena, Trump was already well known as a real estate mogul, owning properties all over the world. Despite his “promise” not to use his elected office to his financial advantage, leaving his sons in charge of his business empire while refusing to put it in a blind trust, they have made over $100 million since Trump took office as various entities sought to curry Trump’s favor.
While Trump paints the fictional image of being a “self-made billionaire”, an image that he feeds to his gullible political base, the facts are that he got started by inheriting his father’s already successful real estate business. Despite this, he continues to push his image as “a blue collar worker made good”.
Meanwhile, as Trump touts himself as a business genius, claiming he’s “like really smart” and a “very stable genius”, his business ventures are littered with failures, including Trump University and his Atlantic City casinos.
The facts are, Trump has lost more than he has made. His current financial status is unknown due to his refusal to release his tax returns. American banks see him as such a huge financial risk, given his many bankruptcies and defaults on loans, that Trump has been forced to seek funding from sources outside the United States.
Because the source of his finances is unknown, no one can be certain what undue influence certain individuals or organizations have over Trump at any given time. His business ties with Russia are of particular concern, since our main adversary may have some dirt on The Donald.
This possible influence is why release of his tax returns is so crucial, and why he is struggling so hard to prevent this from happening.
Trump the Politician
While Trump had often toyed with the idea of entering the political arena, it was allegedly a single incident at a 2011 White House Correspondence Dinner that prompted him to enter the fray. Being the butt of several jokes, as many others were too, the notoriously thin-skinned Trump reportedly decided at that time to take up the political gauntlet.
Seizing upon the birtherism conspiracy theory, Trump thrust himself into the political spotlight by challenging President Obama to prove he was a native-born American, and therefore legitimately eligible to be in office.
While Trump didn’t start this issue, he was quick to use it as a springboard, and was embraced by the alt-right as their savior in their effort to get “one of their own” into the White House.
And they were quickly rewarded, as any media that criticized Trump was labeled "Fake News", alt-right conspiracy theories became policy, and the idea of Make America Great Again harkened back to the days when white America ruled.
Relying on the poorly educated as his base, Trump encouraged violence ("Knock the crap out of them"), bullied, intimidated and otherwise fabricated out of thin air details that supported whatever narrative he was currently pushing.
He repeatedly claims to "know more than" anyone else, on a variety of topics and stubbornly refuses to listen to experts. He began his campaign claiming to know more than the generals about military matters while slamming a Gold Star family. He claimed multiple intelligence agencies were wrong about Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. There are so many other lies, distortion of facts and misinformation that it boggles the mind.
Many of these come from Trump’s close association with his propaganda network at Fox News. A theory presented on “Fox and Friends” or “Hannity” will be quickly Tweeted with zero effort to research its authenticity.
Like Fox, Trump’s most convenient scapegoat is former President Barrack Obama. Any misstep, wrongdoing or failure to act, such as in the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, is quickly laid at the feet of the former president, while Trump refuses to accept responsibility for his multiple failures to act.
This is our current situation, and why it is so vitally important to cast our votes in the upcoming election. Even now, Trump is making extensive efforts to limit voter turn-out in the wake of this pandemic by refusing to allow mail-in voting, even though he and his family did the very same thing.
No doubt it will be a dirty campaign. Trump and his cronies already have launched an attack on Vice President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, for accepting a post while his father was in office. This is despite the fact that Trump’s own daughter and son-in-law are Senior Advisors in the White House.
We need to make our votes count! We need to TAKE A STAND!!