I was crestfallen to learn that at least one reader — I’ll call him Mr. A. — didn’t like my “unhinged and mean spirited column” last week, in which all I could do was “whine, cry, and say awful things” about President Donald Trump.
So, after crying myself to sleep, I thought about Mr. Trump and whether I might have given him a bum rap. As it turns out, no, I didn’t. Here are a few reasons why:
He is a commander in chief so painfully insecure and needy that our foreign adversaries can see clear through him, to their advantage. Witness the way he begrudges President Barack Obama his bigger inauguration crowds and tries to undo practically everything his predecessor accomplished. Mr. Trump is the guy who embarrassed himself (although he is too full of himself to know it) by having fake TIME magazine covers made and hanging them on his walls. He is the 73-year-old who even begrudges a Swedish teenager for being named person of the year instead of himself, mocking her on Twitter. How can you support this guy?
He had a so-called charity that was shut down by the state of New York and a bogus “university” that bilked its students so brazenly that he had to pay back $25 million. How can you support this guy?
He once, as a real estate mogul, employed 200 undocumented, non-union Polish workers in 12-hour shifts to knock down the Fifth Avenue building where Trump Tower now stands. Eventually he had to pay more than a million bucks to settle the ensuing lawsuit. And now he squawks about the supposed dangers of illegal aliens. How can you support this guy?
He left a trail of contractors — the little people — unpaid or underpaid for their work on his many construction projects, because he knew that his lawyers could beat up their lawyers. But now he styles himself as the friend of the little guy.
He learned from Roy Cohn (Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s vicious attack dog and the co-inventor of McCarthyism) how to scare potential adversaries with threats and spurious lawsuits; how to use shady tax abatements, zoning variances and sweetheart deals to get ahead; and how to strike back twice as hard when attacked.
He bills himself as a self-made man, despite the estimated $413 million he got from his father over the years.
He is the business genius whose airline failed, whose vodka failed, whose steaks failed and whose casinos went bankrupt — a casino being the closest thing to a license to print money.
He is the “very, very rich” billionaire who refuses to release his tax returns or any other documents that would reveal what he’s really worth.
He is the president who takes no paycheck but charges the Secret Service up to $650 per night for rooms at his resorts when they have to be there to protect him.
He lies like a rug, and when he isn’t lying he distorts everything to make himself look good. Here are just a few examples:
■He claimed “a million fraudulent votes” were cast in California in 2016 — an idea that’s ridiculous on its face. For this one he used the “they say it happened” ruse, one of his favorites.■He took credit for the Veterans Choice Act, which Mr. Obama signed into law in 2014.■ He announced that thousands and thousands of factories have gone into business on his watch — never mentioning that a “factory” in this case can be a little job shop employing five or fewer workers.■ He said, “We're not paying for the tariffs, China is paying for the tariffs” dozens of times — but the tariffs are paid by the American companies that import the goods, and eventually passed on to their customers.■He took a Sharpie and extended the projected impact area of Hurricane Dorian to include a piece of Alabama — apparently because he had said it would, and he can’t be wrong. (Hmmm, isn’t it a federal crime to put out a false National Weather Service report?)■He said he’d get rid of the federal deficit in eight years. Instead, it blew up to almost a trillion dollars in 2019.
How can anyone support this guy?
Reach Glenn Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.