I had another post prepared, but I just couldn’t help it. How can we not discuss Donald Trump? So, we may as well get the discussion of this candidate out of the way first.
In a past debate, Megyn Kelly challenged Trump to explain his disrespect of woman, citing his degradation of Rosie O’Donnell during a publicized feud, his willingness to bash women by criticizing their looks, etc.. Trump has responded by trying to villify Kelly-he has done all he can to tear her down- from insulting her professional abilities to “not” calling her a bimbo. Did she ask a question that was inappropriate? I don’t think so. Donald Trump has himself asked questions of candidates that were uncomfortable, in fact he has had quite a go at Bill Clinton regarding his alleged infidelities. Journalists and debate monitors have the obligation to ask all of the questions necessary so that we may all best evaluate the candidates. Megyn Kelly’s question was valid- and I still want to hear the real answer.
Now here is why this is important- there are a lot of questions that we should all want answered that are appropriate when “The Donald”, a businessman and entertainer with a full, and some might say sordid, professional and personal history, runs for the most powerful political office in the world. The traditional questions of how he can stand for the party of family values when he famously cheated on his wife and left her for his mistress, with whom he had a child out of wedlock (he did eventually marry her)- have not been asked. Why? Especially of the candidate who urges us to not stand on political correctness, and seems to have no boundaries in his own, often brutal, evaluations of people, why shouldn’t we expect open conversations? These questions are not of lurid curiosity- these questions are asked to help the public, and each of us, evaluate the character of someone who may represent us all to the world, and seeks to be the nominee for the party espousing religious and family-oriented values.
I am not judgemental regarding affairs of public officials- personally, I believe they are relevant only to the extent they create conflicts and/or crimes. A government official who engages in affairs makes themselves vulnerable to extortion or blackmail. So why haven’t these and other questions really been addressed? If the feud with Megyn Kelly is an indication, have the press simply been bullied into submission and are afraid to address these issues for fear of repercussions? Are they intimidated by Trump, the ruthless business mogul? When even the most obvious issues seem to be brushed under the rug, I find myself looking around, wondering if no-one else cares to ask, or remembers, or if I’m the only one that notices the Emperors’ pants are down? If they won’t ask the questions, we need to. Please share yours, as well.
We may be too far down the page for me to tell you that this is not intended to be an anti-Trump story- I grew up in Brooklyn, where Donald Trump was a legend and an inspiration. I have certainly thought at times that a good businessperson is what is needed to run this country. I remember when Donald Trump took over construction of the Central Park Ice Skating Rink because he was so outraged that the City couldn’t complete it, despite work taking many years and approximately $12M- he vowed to complete the project in 6 months. He did- he finished in less time, and under budget. He took no financial gain. We all cheered and wondered if he shouldn’t be in charge of everything.
A lot has happened since then in the story of Donald Trump, and I have questions- not accusations, they are legitimate and serious questions that I need him to answer in this job interview we all call a political campaign. If he does so honestly and thoughtfully, he could well satisfy concerns. Don’t call your bankruptcies business successes. You put your business into bankruptcy as a last alternative, in order to stay alive despite not being profitable. Mr. Trump- will you truly run our country in the same fashion as your companies? Why should we see it as a good thing that despite four separate bankruptcies, you have personally walked away unscathed? We, the people, want you to have skin in the game here, be in it with us. His answer so far has been that the lenders/creditors in those bankruptcies were sophisticated and knew what they were doing. I don’t accept that as an explanation as to why, in running your businesses, did you consistently borrow more money than you could repay, and not by a little, but by the billions? My concern is the potential for you to do the same to the U.S. What information can you give to the public that shows you are capable of balancing a budget, and running the country within its means? Like the bondholders to your businesses, will you say that the American public knew what they were doing when they elected you? Will we be another enterprise that you divest yourself from as things get tough, and go on with your life, having proudly reaped the benefits of the Presidency?
Each of Donald Trumps bankruptcies resulted in some loss of control over the bankrupt entity. Generally, it seems that Trump would take advantage of the bankruptcy laws to strip down debt of a company that’s losing money, protect himself from personal liability, restructure, and distance himself from the sinking ship, either voluntarily or not. As Trump would tell it, it was voluntary, all a part of his masterful business plan. In fact, he has bragged that he got out of Atlantic City before it fell apart, and that he made lots of money there before he saw troubles arising, and quicker than my dog will steal the sandwich you left on the table, he left Atlantic City and its troubles in the dust. Mr. Trump- how, if at all, do you think that your casinos contributed to the fall of Atlantic City at the time? Did you feel no loyalty to the people of Atlantic City, the many people you employed there, the industry that brought you such riches? You have said “My whole life I’ve been greedy greedy greedy, But now I want to be greedy for the United States.” How will you translate and adjust that ruthless business mindset to running a nation- where good business and financial prowess are needed, but must be balanced with so many other factors? The Federal Government is not “in business”, and its goal is not to make a profit. What challenges do you anticipate in making that transition?
What do we know about your character- you’ve said that you keep your word, but those contractual debts and obligations were entered into on your promises, on behalf of your businesses. You have vowed to be a faithful husband until death do you part 3 times now with no dead bodies to show for it. Are your promises only worth keeping when it suits you? Will that be true of your campaign promises?
Another significant question which has been touched upon in the media is whether Donald Trump has just too many and/or too vast business interests to protect himself from influence and conflicts of interest? There has been discussion of whether he would agree to put his assets into a blind trust- he said yes, but that it would be overseen by his children, which makes it the exact opposite of a blind trust. While not mandatory for elected officials, it is the only way to protect against appearances and allegations of corruption or undue influence for personal gain. Trumps’ presidency would likely be besieged by such challenges. How can a man who has thrived in business turn his back on his financial empire, even in the hands of his children?
Most begging the question, in my mind, is his unapologetic explanation for past support of Democrats, and specifically, The Clintons. Not because it is contradictory-but, because he seems to be admitting that he obtained personal favors in exchange. He has admitted that he “got along with everybody” so that when he “needed something from Washington”, he “got it”. Getting along seems to also include incredible amounts of campaign contributions. This exemplifies the improper influence of public officials by private financial interests, something the public overwhelmingly despises. For a presidential candidate to suggest that he obtained favorable treatment from politicians, that such behavior is just smart business, and that he would now like to be on the other side of that table- is certainly something that should raise eyebrows, and make you wonder what ethics mean to this candidate.
Trump clearly believes that it is ok to exchange political favors. He believes in interpreting and taking advantage of the law to get out of business debts and promises, in breaking promises promises if they are no longer beneficial to him. What kind of character or integrity does he bring to the White House? Yet, noone has seriously challenged him to respond to these concerns. It’s as if all are afraid to point out that the emperor is wearing no clothes. If the mainstream media isn’t pressing him on these issues, and even his opposition candidates are treading lightly, we need to be the ones to ask. Do you agree? Do you have an opinion or a question that we should put to the candidates? Use the Comment section to share your thoughts and engage in discussion. Speak Up.