In the past I’ve been relatively uninterested in politics. I have very liberal social views and pretty middle of the road economic views, but I haven’t felt the need to be very politically active. This probably has something to do with the fact that I’m an Italian citizen living in the U.S. I can’t vote in America, and the Italian political system is quite honestly so messed up that it feels that no level of political action is going to truly change it.
This election has roused me from my torpor however, due to a single extremely controversial candidate – Donald Trump. I can’t stand by and avoid expressing my opinion when someone who is actually being considered as a potential leader of the country I live in is spewing bigoted, hateful, and just plain uninformed vitriol.
I realized that I didn’t know many details of Donald Trump’s life and rise to ‘business success’, aside from generalities like the fact that he owned hotels and what I gleaned from watching The Apprentice for a few seasons. I wasn’t looking for a book to change my already very negative opinion of him – I’ve heard enough of his ideas from him in first person that the damage is done. I just wanted further details of his business and personal practices throughout his life, and I have to be honest that I expected to find more confirmation of his lack of integrity and character.And that’s exactly what David Cay Johnston gives proof of in his book The Making Of Donald Trump. David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter who has investigated Trump’s dealings and life through nearly 30 years of reporting.
Here are 5 troubling incidents from Donald Trump’s history that are covered in this extensively researched biography:
1. Trump believes in exacting revenge for real or perceived slights in his personal and business life. In one of his books, Think Big, he wrote “I love getting even when I get screwed by someone… When you are in business, you need to get even with people who screw you. You need to screw them back fifteen times harder.” Not the most reassuring policy for a man to espouse who is looking to have his finger on the nuclear trigger.
2. In 1972 the federal government launched an investigation into whether Trump-owned apartments in Brooklyn were demonstrating racial bias in their leasing practices. A series of field tests demonstrated that black prospective tenants were told no apartments were available at a Trump property, while a white woman inquiring shortly after them was told that there were vacancies. Trump had to settle the lawsuit and submit to two years of oversight of his properties to ensure that racial bias did not recur.
3. In the 1980s, Trump hired undocumented construction workers originally from Poland to demolish the Bonwit Teller department store, which would be replaced by a newly constructed Trump Tower. Cay Johnston writes that “No payroll records were kept, no Social Security or other taxes were withheld, and they were not paid in accordance with wage laws”. The men also worked without safety equipment and exposed to the asbestos spread by the building’s demolition. These are extremely irresponsible business practices, showing no concern for the value of other people’s work or their health.
4. A fraud investigator looking into the Trump University business in Texas recommended that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott take action, condemning the ‘university’ as fraudulent, demanding restitution and banning the business from Texas. Instead, Greg Abbott decided to not take action against Trump University. Three years later, when Abbott was running for Governor, Trump donated $35,000 to his campaign. In an even more suspicious instance of money changing hands, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi also retracted her intention to investigate Trump University in Florida and that very week Trump sent a $25,000 check to Pam Bondi’s reelection campaign organization. Beyond shady.
5. While already having a wife and a mistress, he lied about having also slept with actress Carla Bruni. Even more bizarrely, he corroborated the story by posing as an imaginary PR rep, calling himself John Miller when he spoke to a gossip columnist who called him asking for his confirmation. Bruni vehemently denied having any personal relation with Trump, saying “Trump is obviously a lunatic… It’s so untrue and I’m deeply embarrassed by it all”. This is only one of the many examples available of Trump objectifying and disrespecting women.
There are many more instances of irresponsible and borderline illegal business and personal dealings in the book. I highly recommend you take the time to read The Making Of Donald Trump before the election in November if you’re at all undecided about who to vote for. I don’t want to say this is an election pitting good against evil, but it certainly is a case of pitting someone with a history of blatantly dishonest business and personal practices for his own gain (Trump) against someone who has over and over again demonstrated her aspiration to help people in the U.S. and around the world (Clinton).
No matter what, make sure you vote in November! If nothing else do it for me since for at least another 4 years I won’t be able to.
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