Diane Dimond: Earth to Donald Trump: Words matter
Would you do business with someone who routinely exaggerated his or her abilities? Someone who, in the course of trying to sell you something, said things that were cocky, vague or just not true?
Clearly, it would be foolish to buy anything from a person like that. Lying about the goods and services to be delivered in the course of doing business is a crime. It’s fraud at worst, false advertising at best.
Keep this in mind as you listen to Donald Trump on his I’m-bigger-and-smarter-and-stronger-and-richer-than-everyone-else campaign for the White House. Too bad he’s selling himself instead of, say, one of his skyscraper apartments, because if his promises were all about a real estate deal one might have legal recourse.
Trump repeatedly says he’s worth “in excess of $10 billion.” Forbes says it’s more like $4.5 billion; a Bloomberg analysis pegs Trump’s fortune at $2.9 billion. With a wave of his hand Trump declares that everyone else is wrong and he is right.
He blithely tweeted out a bogus crime statistic recently claiming blacks had killed 81 percent of white murder victims. The FBI says that’s dead wrong. White citizens were murdered by other whites 82 percent of the time. Did Trump apologize? Nope; that’s not his style.
He also never explained why his grandly promised endorsement from 100 black pastors never materialized. Gee, I wonder why.
Now Trump has made what smells like an extortion demand for $5 million before he’ll appear at the next presidential debate on CNN. Does Trump believe running for president is like negotiating his old contract for a reality TV series? Does his self-glorification have no bounds?
By now we’ve all heard Trump swearing he saw “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey, celebrating as the twin towers smoldered. No matter that the claim has been roundly declared false by government officials and extensive searches of newsroom archives. The man who wants to run America stubbornly insists he has a “great memory” and everyone else has forgotten the event.
How many blustery false statements does it take before this man is seen for what he is?
Trump supporters say they admire his shoot-from-the-hip pronouncements. They apparently don’t see that he keeps shooting himself in the foot. A full 70 percent of those polled see through Trump’s braggadocio and do not support him. I bet that number grows as his fact-dodging continues and Americans begin to tire of his shallow just-leave-it-to-me-and-everything-will-be-OK act.
The world already knows what Trump thinks of Mexicans crossing into the U.S. “They’re bringing drugs … crime … they’re rapists,” he famously said. His disdain for women became apparent when he said of his opponent Carly Fiorina, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” Muslims living in America realize he is not their friend after he declared, “I want surveillance of these people!”
And while he denies it now it is pretty clear Trump was, in fact, mocking a disabled reporter when he mimicked journalist Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from a congenital joint condition that caused his wrists to wither and his body to jerk. Trump defended his shake-filled performance saying he has no idea what Kovaleski looks like. The reporter says, “Donald and I were on a first-name basis for years.” Who’s lying?
Trump has alienated many blacks, Hispanics, women, Muslims, the disabled and lots of others who keep waiting to hear details of exactly what the country would look like under a Trump presidency.
How would Trump’s non-compromising personality mesh with an already combative Congress? Can a man who is used to getting his way effectively negotiate peace with an obstinate world leader like, say, Russian President Vladimir Putin? Diplomatic skills aside, should Americans feel comfortable that a man who conducts business by bullying sits within arm’s reach of nuclear launch codes?
A Trump presidency would surely be filled with the same kind of verbal bombast and made-for-TV sound bites that his campaign has featured.
Asked how he’d right the shaky U.S. economy Trump declared, “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” On his trade policy, “I will beat China. I always beat China.” And what does he say is the key to his immigration policy?
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me.”
Bragging does not a sound public policy make. In business you can bluster. In politics the fate of the world is at stake.
At first Trump seemed like the antidote to all those bland-speaking politicians. But now The Donald’s act is as tiresome as a used car salesman who won’t let you test drive the car but keeps assuring you everything will be just fine. Maybe we need a lemon law for politicians.