The (damning) case against Trump
An annotated guide to the most dangerous presidential candidate in modern history
The case for Hillary Clinton’s presidency may be built more on who her Republican opponent is than on Clinton herself. To be sure, Clinton’s experience, accomplishments, and record on policy speaks for itself. That being said, a Trump presidency would be unprecedented and catastrophic for the United States and the world in multiple respects. So, while this extensive, but certainly not exhaustive, account of Trump’s distressing and disqualifying statements, policy proposals, and behavior is not necessarily a defense of Clinton, it certainly proves that Trump does not deserve the honor of and should never be entrusted with the presidency. Hillary Clinton, even with her flaws and controversies, has nowhere near the concerning record attached to Trump, which precludes him from even the thought of being commander in chief.
Each section is noted by bold type and roman numerals. Subsections are noted alphabetically and numerically.
I. Donald Trump’s has a history of erratic, unstable, and unpresidential conduct
A. Trump said that American volunteers fighting Ebola on the African continent should “suffer the consequences” if they contract the virus. He also seems to know more about Ebola than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggesting that theCDC is covering up how easily Ebola can be transmitted. Of course, Trump has no background in science or medicine.
B. Claimed that thin people don’t drink Diet Coke. Great way to tackle America’s obesity problem, Donald. Make people feel bad about themselves.
C. Retweeted a photo in memory of notorious serial killer Fred West, simply because a follower requested him to. This is a pattern with Trump, retweeting things he doesn’t (or at least, hopefully doesn’t) vet or source.
D. Went after “unattractive” Arianna Huffington and her bisexual ex-husband in a nasty personal attack. Trump seriously dislikes the media, but this was low.
E. Commemorates the “special date” of 9/11 with a tweet of “best wishes to all, even the haters and losers”. How presidential! Just imagine him laying a wreath at ground zero, calling for the remembrance of all the victims, even the haters and losers. Pathetic.
F. Defends his IQ as “one of the highest” against the “stupid and insecure”, who, by the way, are not at fault for being so stupid. Trump’s thin skin would be laughable if he didn’t have a tendency to retaliate and escalate hostilities based on petty disagreements. But I’m sure he will be level headed when considering launching nuclear weapons.
G. Suggests that his hands, and his penis by extension, are very large during a debate. Think about that. At a time where he should be telling us his policy positions, he brings up his penis size.
H. Suggests that if Ivanka Trump wasn’t his daughter, he might date her. A 1994 interview about his daughter Tiffany reveals Trump is waiting to see if his one year old daughter grows large breasts like his wife.
I. Responds to the Melania Trump plagiarism controversy in which his wife (or at least her speech writer) stole several passages (almost entirely word for word) from Michelle Obama’s 2008 introduction of her husband (by the way, I personally find it hilarious the section she stole was about the values and morals she wants to pass down to her son) by declaring “all press is good press”, as if that covers for behavior that would have college students across the country expelled. Later, an RNC spokesman tried to play off the plagiarism issue by pointing out that a “My Little Pony” television episode has a similar sentence about following your dreams, therefore Melania couldn’t have plagiarized anything!
J. Trump, in his standard (and frightening) knee-jerk fashion, responded on Twitter to the muslim parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq in 2004, by claiming that his mother, Ghazala, “wasn’t allowed” to speak with her husband, Khizr, at the DNC, where Khizr delivered a moving tribute to his son and a rebuke of Trump’s proposed ban on muslim immigrants and his tone against Islam. Trump is not one to let a negative story die down, and this controversy is no exception. His comments earned him the denunciation of democrats and his own party leaders such as John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan, who distanced themselves from Trump’s comments, trying to make it clear that the GOP is not actually critical of Gold Star Families (a term for families who have lost a loved one in combat). Trump even earned a strong condemnation from the influential group, Veterans of Foreign Wars, which stated it “will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression”. Trump indignantly replied to the Khans’ assertion that Trump “doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means” by claiming he has sacrificed a great deal to employ thousands of people. Trump, who used student and medical deferments to avoid the draft during Vietnam, once told Howard Stern that his sex life during that time period was his “own personal Vietnam”. Ghazala Khan wrote an essay published in the Washington Post that once again condemned Trump for failing to appreciate her son’s sacrifice, explaining she was too emotional to speak, and that Americans who saw her standing by her husband’s side knew the pain in her heart without words being spoken. Retired Marine General John Allen, who also spoke at the DNC, could not believe Trump’s attack on the family, stating that he had seen Mrs. Khan weeping before and after her appearance. General Allen explained that from a military perspective, Trump’s vilification of Muslims only exacerbates his problems and puts American troops at greater risk. Trump is supposedly the candidate that is going to be the “tough” commander in chief, and yet, he doesn’t seem to understand or value the sacrifices made by military families and the young men and women who lay their lives down for this country. This is not a man who ought to be put in charge of ordering these brave men and women into harm’s way.
K. Speaking of Trump’s ignorance of the sacrifices of veterans, Trump recently received a Purple Heart as a gift from one of his supporters before a rally in Ashburn, Virginia. Trump then got on stage and told the crowd, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” His comment seems to imply that, while Trump wanted to serve in the military and be awarded a Purple Heart, it was simply easier for him to take one as a gift from someone else. Of course, nobody really wants to (or shouldn’t want to) earn a Purple Heart, as it is only awarded to those service members who are wounded or killed in action. It sparked outcry once again from veterans groups and families of soldiers, including Khizr Khan, whose son was awarded the Purple Heart, who told Trump to “put the Purple Heart back.” Illinois Congresswoman and Purple Heart awardee Tammy Duckworth blasted Donald Trump for accepting the award with such arrogance by tweeting a photo of herself after her double leg amputation following injuries when her helicopter was shot down while serving in Iraq.
II. Complete and total lack of understanding of foreign policy, with proposals that would deeply threaten international and national security
A. Trump doesn’t know what the nuclear triad is. This, of course, is the three delivery methods for a nuclear weapon — dropped by strategic bomber, launched by a nuclear submarine, or launched by land as an ICBM. I learned this is middle school, but Trump had no idea what it was, and yet, he would be in charge of it come January.
B. Says the Orlando shooter “was from Afghan”. Afghan is not a country (Afghanistan is) and the shooter was born in New York and raised in Florida. Trump corrected himself on calling the country the wrong name, but went on to blame his parents who immigrated to the United States and have never committed any crimes. His argument isn’t necessarily untrue. Had Trump’s ban on muslim immigrants been in place, the shooter’s parents never would have made it to the U.S. and he would never have been born here. But if the possible future crimes of immigrants’ children became a litmus test for citizenship, would any of us be here? This is pure fear mongering. Are we really to block people from immigrating for what their children, if they even have any or will have any, may or may not do in the future?
C. Advocates for and “loves waterboarding”, which is almost universally described as torture and condemned by the United Nations, of which the United States is a visible and influential permanent member of the Security Council, and a violation of Article III of the Geneva Conventions, to which the United States is legally bound to follow. He also wants to implement “much worse than waterboarding” for enemies, even if it doesn’t garner any useful information. That’s right, torture for torure’s sake. Trump sticks to his claim that “only a stupid person would say [torture] doesn’t work”, even though the CIA concluded that their “enhanced interrogation” (read: torture) program was not effective. Torture not only violates international law that the U.S. has agreed to, but destroys any moral standing our country has and perverts American values, while serving as a potent recruitment tool for terrorist organizations.
D. Advocates the killing of terrorists’ families, including children. Later in his campaign, Trump lied about having proposed such an idea, saying that he never said “kill”. When asked what he then meant when he originally said that the U.S. needed to “take out” families who, by the way, “don’t care for their lives”, Trump gave an answer characteristic of his fifth-grade understanding of foreign policy: “We have to do something and it’s the only way you stop it.” Again, this is another asinine suggestion by Trump that would violate international law and account to the murder of those not actually engaged in war against the United States, an obvious war crime. That should be a red flag to you. A presidential candidate has openly proposed committing war crimes. It also serves as another example of why Donald Trump has been used to help ISIS recruit more fighters. Retired Marine General John Allen has stated that the election of Trump as commander in chief could spark a “civil military crisis”, as Trump would order soldiers to commit illegal acts, and his military strategy of “carpet bombing” (not employed since WWII) would knowingly result in the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people.
E. Stated that Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea should have nuclear weapons since nuclear proliferation is inevitable anyway. Trump then called Hillary Clinton a liar for pointing out this dangerous assertion, claiming he never said it. Most experts and scholars believe this nonchalant attitude toward nuclear weapons is not in the interests of the United States or of global security.
F. Will “consult himself, number one” on the matter of ISIS because “he has a very good brain and has said a lot of things”. Trump is also smarter than scores of military generals advising the president on the fight against ISIS, who he says obviously “don’t know much because they aren’t winning”.
G. Trump has shown a complete lack of knowledge about the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Foreign policy experts that are both supportive and critical of the Obama strategy in the region have condemned his helter-skelter approach to ISIS. In response, Trump pointed them to a conspiratorial Breitbart.com op-ed as the basis of his foreign policy platform.
H. Claims the Obama administration has actively supported al-Qaeda in Iraq and ISIS. This statement was rated as “pants on fire” by PolitiFact and speaks to the conspiratorial nature of Trump’s take on Obama.
I. Suggests President Obama is sympathetic to ISIS and has not gone after them with much vigor because he supports them and their mission. This, of course, doesn’t match with reality, as an American-led coalition of airstrikes has recently left ISIS unable to fundraise effectively. In the period of one year up until November 2015, the U.S. led coalition dropped 28,000 bombs in 8,000 airstrikes on ISIS targets. That’s 17 airstrikes with 60 bombs every single day for an entire year. The U.S. Department of Defense estimated it has killed 26,000 ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria as of April 2016, including one or two mid- to upper-level operatives everyday. But Obama is sympathetic to their cause, according to Donald. What do you expect from the man that Trump proved was born in Kenya?
J. Trump says “we’ll be looking at that”, when asked if he would recognize Crimea as a Russian territory. The international community, irrespective of political affiliation, has unanimously denounced Russia’s aggressive occupation of Crimea as an illegal use of force and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law. That being said, it’s clear Trump loves Putin (see section RE: Trump’s adoration of authoritarian dictators) and sees no problem with Russia violating the sovereignty of other countries, including the United States’ (see section RE: Trump invites Russia to hack opponent’s emails to interfere with a free election).
K. Trump says that when he is president, Russia will not invade Ukraine, seemingly unaware Russia has been occupying Ukraine for more than two years. This is troubling given Trump’s comments in the subsection directly above this one. Not only does it seem that Trump may not know much about one of the most flagrant international law violations of our time, but it seems that he will simply answer any question a reporter asks him, even if he has no knowledge of the subject. He probably instinctively replied that he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory, likely not even knowing that Crimea is located in Ukraine. Later, he claims Russia would not invade Crimea if he were president, as if it hadn’t happened already? What in the hell goes through this man’s head? That being said, we really shouldn’t be too surprised, as Trump has prided himself on making decisions without much information to go on, saying he makes decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.” Yes, your Atlantic City casino experience will really come in handy when balancing diplomatic and military responses to Russian expansion into Ukraine or Chinese aggression in the Pacific, Donald. Combine that with Trump’s number one military advisor (himself), and you have a dangerous situation on your hands.
L. Trump reportedly asked an international security expert three times why the United States can’t just use nuclear weapons to combat foreign threats. This is a small step in the right direction — at least Trump is meeting with national security experts. What is troubling is his incredulity with the idea that nuclear weapons are off the table as a “First Use” military strategy for U.S. defense. While it’s good that Trump (hopefully) learned this seemingly obvious fact, it’s terrifying to think that the man who will possibly win the control over the world’s largest nuclear weapon stockpile didn’t know this in the first place.
III. Admires authoritarian dictators
A. Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian and bloodthirsty style of leadership in an interview with Morning Joe. In response to a question asking if Trump supported Putin’s killing of journalists and political opponents and military invasion and occupation of sovereign Ukrainian territory, Trump replied, “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader.” Trump later lied in a debate that he ever praised Putin.
B. Trump praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un’s style of governance, giving him “credit” for killing off generals in the country’s singular ruling party who opposed him when he gained power from his father, Kim Jong-Il. Keep in mind, this is the same North Korean regime that sends political opponents to modern-day concentration camps where mothers are forced to drown their babies, and children watch their parents be executed. The regime is also actively pursuing the production of nuclear weapons in hopes of attacking the United States and killing more Americans than in 9/11.
C. Trump recently called Saddam Hussein, the ex-dictator of Iraq, a “bad guy”, but praised the way in which he was “so good” at taking out terrorists. Unfortunately for Trump, a quick glance back to recent history (something that should be already stored up in Trump’s “very good brain”) reveals that the Hussein regime was a state sponsor of international terrorism. Saddam Hussein had harbored and financed a great deal of terrorists, including the man who took over al-Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri (he also authored Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the United States, the West, and the Jews). Zawahiri was receiving a monthly stipend from Hussein as early as the 1970s. Hussein also harbored and supported Abdul Yasin, the bomb-maker for the first World Trade Center attack, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq (which later spawned ISIS). Trump went further and said that the world would be “100% better off” if Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi, the brutal dictator of Libya, were still in power. If you want to see Trump ramble for several minutes and say absolutely nothing coherent on this topic, as well as excuse the millions of deaths of innocents by Gadhafi and Hussein, watch this video. It’s incredible. He doubles down that Iraq used to have “no terrorists” before Obama. This man is dangerously ignorant.
D. Trump described the Tiananmen square massacre as a “riot”, the same word used by Chinese government propaganda after the state violently slaughtered an unknown number of civilians (estimated between several hundred and several thousand). He further seemed to endorse the violent tactics of the Chinese Communist Party, saying, “they put [the protesters] down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.” It makes you wonder how a President Trump would deal with “the haters and losers” who protest him. Actually, we have some evidence that he already condones violence against his detractors (read the section RE: Trump condoning and encouraging violence at rallies).
IV. Racism, bigotry, misogyny
A. Trump famously claimed that Mexican immigrants were bringing crime, drugs, and were rapists. This flagrantly racist comment received “four pinocchios” (the rating reserved for the most untrue statements) from the Washington Post in a fact check. Their look at the data showed that illegal immigrants from Mexico were actually less violent and committed less crime than native-born Americans, likely due to the threat that committing crimes might lead to deportation (by the way, Immigration and Customs Enforcement under Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president in history). In fact, the evidence shows that as generations of families started by immigrants from Mexico assimilate, their crime rate goes up as they become more like native-born Americans. Immigration policy should not be based on racism and lies.
B. Trump attacked the federal judge presiding over the Trump University lawsuit, saying that because he was Mexican, there was no way that he could be fair and unbiased. Jake Tapper asked Trump twenty times if his comments were racist. Trump’s response was “no”, that “he’s a Mexican”, which cannot be racist because it’s true. In actuality, the judge was born in Indiana to immigrant parents, making him an American citizen. Trump doubled down and said that muslim judges would probably be unfair, too. Here I’m trying to make an argument by enthymeme, but maybe I should spell it out. Our president should not openly attack the independent judiciary based on race. Not only is it blatant racism, it demonstrates Trump’s egocentrism to the point that he, a candidate for president who would be tasked with nominating federal judges, threatens the independence of the judiciary based on race. GOP Speaker of the House Paul Ryan described Trump’s statement as the “textbook definition of a racist comment”.
C. Trump thought a good way to shrug off heat from a NY Times reporter would be to mock his chronic medical condition on national television, a disability that inhibits his control over his arms.
D. Trump was the most visible character in the bogus movement that claimed President Obama was not born in the United States. Trump announced on Twitter that a “very credible source” told him Obama’s birth certificate is fake. Trump then stoked the conspiracy theory that health workers who must have faked the paperwork mysteriously died in a plane crash, while “all others” lived.
E. Lied about seeing “thousands and thousands of muslims” cheering in the streets of New Jersey after the September 11th attacks. Comments like these will go a long way in helping to make our muslim neighbors feel welcome in the United States.
F. Trump tweeted a photo of Hillary Clinton superimposed over money with a Jewish Star of David reading “most corrupt candidate ever”. The media quickly picked up on the anti-Semitic tone of the tweet, noting that corruption, money, and the Star of David have all been used in concert to smear Jewish people in the past (perhaps Trump will take after Hitler and use the Islamic Crescent and Star as a badge to identify Muslims in his proposed Muslim registry as Hitler did with the Star of David? Perhaps a badge isn’t needed after they are put away in internment camps like FDR did to Japanese-Americans, something Trump is open to). Trump defended the tweet even after his staff deleted it. He attempted to claim the media was “dishonest” by tweeting that the Frozen DVD cover used of a 6 pointed star on its cover. This can point to only two things, and I personally think it likely points to both. One, it shows Donald Trump has no concept of the history of Jewish people, especially in Europe and the United States since the 1930s, as his defense of his tweet doesn’t look at the star in context of the charge of corruption or the money-laden background. It shows me once again that Trump isn’t terribly bright. Two, it points to the fact that Trump is incredibly stubborn. Trump defended the tweet even after his staff had first crudely changed the star to a circle (with points of the original star still visible) and later deleted the tweet entirely. Instead of moving on, he defended the tweet even after it was exposed to have been taken from a thread called 8chan’s /pol/, a notorious online forum for neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white supremacists. This was the day after James Comey decided not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton over the use of her email. Maybe this shows that Trump truly isn’t a politician. I mean, the man doubled down on an anti-Semitic tweet instead of going after his opponent’s most damning controversy. It highlights to me that Trump is simply both dumb and racist.
G. Trump took several days to disavow the support of David Duke, an active white supremacist leader and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. After an explanation of who the man was from CNN’s Jake Tapper (as if he already didn’t know or hadn’t been briefed as a result of the media frenzy before the interview), Trump replied “I don’t know anything about David Duke” and declined to distance himself from Duke’s support. After several days of intense scrutiny from Democrats and fellow Republicans alike, Trump finally and defensively claimed “David Duke endorsed me? OK, all right. I disavow, OK?” It doesn’t take someone who is the self-proclaimed “least racist person” several days of agonizing scrutiny to disavow support from the leader of the KKK.
H. Donald Trump’s history of publicly demeaning women, treating them like property, and his overall hyper-sexualization of them should make all women, and enlightened men, sick to their stomachs. It is not not enough to point to several women who Trump employs as evidence that he loves women. This reeks of the same defense of the run of the mill racist who points to his black friend as evidence that he can’t be racist. Below are just several of hundreds of despicable comments Trump has made about women that show he is a man who would drag the oval office back into the mid-20th century and earlier:
1. It doesn’t matter what the media writes about you as long as “you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
2. All women are essentially gold-diggers, and any woman who will not sign a pre-nup is not a woman one should marry under any circumstance.
3. Trump directed his legal team to object to an opposing lawyer’s call for a break to breastfeed her baby. Trump made her produce her breast pump to prove she was nursing then left the room calling her disgusting.
4. Trump sent a female journalist a copy of her story written on one of Trump’s bankruptcies with an arrow drawn to her small photo labeled “face of a dog”.
5. In an episode of “The Apprentice”, Trump told a female contestant that it must be a pretty picture, her dropping to her knees, in response to her asking to be the team’s next project manager.
6. Tweeted, “if Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
7. Called Megyn Kelly a bimbo in response to her question about his history with comments on women.
8. He later questioned whether Kelly’s terrible journalistic practices were the result of her menstruating. There was “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her… wherever”.
9. Called supermodel Heidi Klum fat, saying that she was no longer, sadly, a 10 in his eyes.
10. Claimed Carly Fiorina’s ugly face was a good enough reason for nobody to vote for her.
A. Trump stated that he supports the creation of a deportation force to remove more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. If you paid attention in high school history, the term “deportation force” should ring a bell for you. It’s the same term used to describe Hitler’s Geheimme Staatspolizei and Schutzstaffel (Gestapo and SS, respectively). These two forces were created to root out Jews and other “undesirables” in Germany and other territories under Nazi control, with the end goal of removing them from Germany and placing them in work and/or death camps. Nobody is saying Trump wants illegal immigrants to die, but he certainly wants to spend billions of dollars finding them, arresting them, tearing their families apart, and dumping them across the border where they will likely flood back over. In fact, Trump gets his inspiration for his deportation plan from an 1954 Eisenhower scheme, aptly called “Operation Wetback”, a chance to show immigrants “he means business”. In actuality, the United States already deports more than 400,000 immigrants yearly. Former Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush, Michael Chertoff, explains that an attempt to deport 11 million people in a matter of years without the creation of a textbook police state would be impossible. He explains that the Obama Administration’s current deportation plan, to deport the most dangerous illegal immigrants first, would have to be scrapped, as already financially-strapped local law enforcement agencies would have to put their entire efforts toward finding millions of “American-looking” families and deporting them, even if their children are citizens and they are productive, tax-paying members of society.
B. Trump’s rallying cry of building a wall on the southern border is really humorous, if it weren’t so popular of an asinine idea. Trump’s wall, like every other policy declaration he makes, has only murky details. He wants it to be 50 feet or taller, and stretch all of the 2,000 miles across the border, with the exception of some natural barriers. He estimates the cost to about $10 billion, but a George W. Bush era barrier of only 670 miles, designed only to keep vehicles out (no tall walls or tunnel prevention measures for pedestrian traffic), cost $2.4 billion and did not repel nearly the intended number of illegal immigrants. The logistics of a wall would be a nightmare, including eminent domain concerns, lawsuits, environmental regulations and lawsuits, temporary housing for the thousands of workers needed for construction, and rerouting of roads and rivers to deliver concrete and water to mix it. Experts point to Israel’s modern wall that still doesn’t work to repel invaders as a crude solution to a complex problem, one that inevitably demonstrates geopolitical failure, not strength or safety.
VI. Policing Muslims
Not only does Trump admire a Gestapo-like deportation force for illegal immigrants, he also supports beginning a national registry for Muslim-Americans. These two pieces of evidence really show you how much of a fascist Trump really is. A register of American citizens, simply on the basis that they practice a particular religion, is unprecedented. Has Trump ever even bothered to read the first amendment (well, he does think there are twelve articles in the Constitution, so I doubt it)? Trump goes as far as to flirt with the idea of interning millions of Muslim-Americans in the fashion of FDR with Japanese-Americans during WWII, something universally condemned by modern historians as a) an obviously racist action, b) one that had no effect on the war, and c) one that only caused more harm in race relations in this country.
VII. Lack of Knowledge on Constitution
In a visit to GOP members of Congress, Trump professed that he loves the constitution. In fact, Trump wants to protect the 1st, 2nd, and 12th articles of the constitution (there are only 7 articles). And if you want to argue that he simply mistakenly called them articles rather than amendments, I would like to know against which threat Trump needs to protect the 12th amendment, which changed the way that Vice Presidents are elected (as a ticket, rather than individually).
VIII. Attacks on First Amendment
Trump wants to “open up” the laws on libel, making it easier for him to sue news organizations that print unflattering stories about him. Conservatives seem to overlook Trump’s disregard for some of our most cherished constitutional protections, many of them (speech, religion, press) coming straight out of the first amendment. Interesting how the constitution is great until it gets in the way of Trump’s ego.
IX. Trump’s pandering to evangelical Christians is phony. He doesn’t know or care about your values. To be clear, I am not arguing you ought to vote for someone because they are Christian, but if you want to support someone who represents historically conservative Christian values, you ought not support Trump.
A. The most blatant example of Trump’s ignorance of Christian teaching comes from his half-Bible loving, half-Art of the Deal sales-pitch address at Liberty University, a conservative Christian school. Trump introduced a section of scripture from “two Corinthians”, clearly having never learned the letters to the Corinthians are read as either “first” or “second”. You’d think someone who calls into question other people’s Christian faith would surely know what two of the most important books of the New Testament are called, right? Especially since the Bible is the only book in the world better than his own. Trump has also said he has never asked for forgiveness from God, perhaps the central tenet of the Christian faith, protestant or Catholic.
B. It’s no secret that Trump was a democrat his entire life until recently. Trump was previously “very pro-choice”, even in cases of partial birth abortion. Only recently has Trump “evolved” on the issue toward being pro-life. Changing your mind on an issue shouldn’t be as big of an issue as people make it, but in this case, there is significant doubt as to whether or not Trump truly understands why evangelicals are against abortion in the first place, and if he truly accepts the pro-life stance as his own. He seems to have put little thought into the pro-life cause, as it is likely not one he cares deeply about. Case in point is his debacle concerning his stance on abortion this election cycle. After first announcing his candidacy, on June 28, 2015, Jake Tapper asked Trump if he opposed abortion, and Trump replied, “Right. I’m pro-choice”. Tapper, confused, asked if he truly meant that, and Trump quickly corrected himself, “I’m pro-choice. I’m sorry.” Usually that’s not a stance that a morally convicted person flubs. The Washington Post reports Donald Trump’s five abortion stances taken in the course of three days after he was caught off guard by Chris Matthew’s question of whether or not women ought to have criminal punishment for having an abortion, to which he responded “there has to be”. This answer comes after Matthews cornered Trump, whereafter Trump responded only after saying, “the answer is”, followed by a long pause with eyes moving up and to the side as if trying to think of what a true evangelical would say, “there has to be some form of punishment”. Of course, very few in the organized pro-life movement believe this is the proper response to abortion. In fact, it was a strange day in history when groups like the pro-choice NARAL (National Abortion Rights and Action League) and the pro-life Family Research Council both condemned Trump’s stance on abortion. Trump then released a statement that changed his position to one in which he argued that the states should individually decide the punishments. An hour later, Trump released another statement that shifted the blame and the punishment onto physicians and clinics performing the abortions, if those abortions were illegal. This was now in line with what the actual pro-life movement believes. That being said, it’s not as if democrats don’t believe this is also true. The only difference is most pro-life advocates think almost ANY abortion is illegal. Two days later, Trump’s stance changed again when he said that, while he wished the law would change to make abortions illegal, “at this moment, the laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way.” He finally clarified his position by saying that actually the law does need to change, and he will do that by appointing conservative justices to the courts. So, in the end, Trump may still be a pro-life candidate, but it seems clear that he doesn’t know what the pro-life movement is all about. He, and Republicans in general, are also rather hypocritical in lambasting the courts anytime they interpret a law that sets a new precedent as “judicial activism” and legislation from unelected individuals, but they seem fine with it in the case of abortion.
X. Predatory, reckless business practices
A. Trump University is the most visible example of the predatory business practices that are the norm at the Trump Organization. First, you should know that Trump University is not a university at all, which prompted the New York State Department of Education to warn that the “University” was operating illegally under the name of a real school, which was misleading to the public. Trump continued to operate it anyway. Trump U promised its students they would be taught by world-class real estate brokers and business magnates, perhaps even the Donald himself. In fact, the instructors were often plucked off the street with no business experience whatsoever. A “Playbook” gave instructors their directions for teaching. Instructors told their students that success couldn’t be learned, but that they could get closer by purchasing more seminars for thousands of dollars. At those seminars, students were referred to more seminars. Instructors pressured students into purchasing more and more, even assuring them that maxing out their credit cards was a good idea to move them toward success. Sometimes students were given nuggets of business advice that echoes practices of the Trump Organization itself. For example, students were taught how to take advantage of disabled homeowners. Keep in mind, Trump U claimed Trump approved this curriculum himself. The New York Attorney General at the time described Trump U as “a scam from beginning to end”.
B. Donald Trump’s business acumen is often touted as perhaps the number one reason he should run the country (as if the United States government is run in any way like the Trump Organization). Prima facie, Trump’s net worth (which he claims is higher than reported by Forbes and Bloomberg) seems to be evidence of his business cunning. Surely Trump has done something right, and surely he is capable of balancing a budget and managing his financial commitments, two things he says he will do for the United States (and they’re both needed). Think again. Trump businesses have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy six separate times between 1991 and 2009. This is not to say that Trump is wrong to file bankruptcy, but his pattern of repeatedly using the financial system to write off millions of dollars of debt, without putting his own money at risk, should cause some concern. Trump proudly calls himself “the king of debt”, saying he is comfortable with taking out credit and routinely uses it to make himself richer. The only problem is that Trump uses debt and bankruptcy laws to make himself richer at the expense of many thousands of employees, vendors, and contractors, and Trump plans to do the same for the U.S. national debt by purposefully, partially defaulting on trillions. Besides, in Trump’s mind, the U.S. can’t default anyway, as we can simply print more money. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, Trump offloaded his personal debt to stock and bond holders, who lost $1.5 billion as a result of his bankruptcy and mismanagement of the project. In fact, investors in Trump’s venture into casinos in Atlantic city, a plan most thought doomed from the start, lost 90 cents on every dollar invested. Trump would have had to file bankruptcy sooner had it not been for his father’s frequent cash infusions upwards of $3 million simply to pay interest on loans. But it’s not just wealthy investors who lost a great deal of money. As Trump struggles to make the case that he understands and cares for the middle class and small business, Trump’s record of leaving hundreds of small businesses without payment haunts him. A piano seller was contracted to provide $100,000 worth of pianos for Trump’s hotel, but only ever received $70,000, a loss of ⅓ of his family’s yearly income. Trump has more than 60 lawsuits on his record for refusal to pay workers for their services. Since 1980, more than 200 liens have been filed against him for outstanding payments to various painters, contractors, plumbers etc. In fact, on a single project in 1990, 253 subcontractors were not paid in full or on time, and 24 Fair Labor Act violations have been paid out for violation of minimum wage or overtime payment laws. Does this all really give you confidence in Trump’s business know how or concern for the little guy? It doesn’t impress fellow billionaires Mark Cuban, Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Benioff, Warren Buffett, and Mike Bloomberg, all of whom support Hillary Clinton. None of these people have nearly the amount of controversy surrounding the accumulation of their wealth as Trump has, which tells you something about their respective business operations. At best, Trump has made a lot of money by questionable tactics, carelessly throwing around debt and bankruptcies, leaving a path of destruction behind him. At worst, Trump’s business practices mirror his campaign style: haphazard, erratic bullying at the expense of people with less power than himself in our system. I for one don’t want that at the helm of impending financial reform efforts.
C. In the 1970s, the Trump Organization was sued by the Department of Justice for violation of the Fair Housing Act, as evidence mounted that there was a concerted effort coming from the top of the Trump Org. to suppress rentals to blacks and other minorities in New York. Under oath, two employees responsible for rentals testified that they were instructed to seek out rentals to “Jews and Executives”. Applications to rent submitted by blacks were marked with codes like “No. 9” or “C”, standing for colored. Minority rights groups sent “test customers” to Trump tower, and found that black applicants were told there were no vacant apartments, while white applicants with the same financial background were given a choice of two apartments. Eventually, the case was settled with Trump never admitting fault, but the DOJ had to officially instruct the organization to “thoroughly acquaint themselves personally on a detailed basis” with the Fair Housing Act and reminded them publicly that “discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling” is a crime. This is simply another example that Trump was willing to suppress minority groups’ rights in his business practices in order to make more money for himself.
XI. Economic plans are disastrous
While there certainly is a theme in Trump’s policy proposals in which little to no details emerge, enough has come out on his economic plans that have scared economists and business people all around the country. Moody’s looked at Trump’s economic plan and called it a disaster, “leading to a prolonged recession and causing slower growth, higher unemployment and declining asset sales”. The report notes, “by the end of his presidency, there are close to 3.5 million fewer jobs and the unemployment rate rises to as high as 7%, compared with below 5% today. During Mr. Trump’s presidency, the average American household’s after-inflation income will stagnate, and stock prices and real house values will decline… What he is asking for is fiscally unsound. His tax and spending proposals will result in very large deficits and a much higher debt load. A future Congress may be able to rein in this profligacy, but it will not be easy, as there is a gulf between what he says he wants on taxes and spending and what it will take to make the budget arithmetic work.” Multiple economists, including conservative Reagan era analysts like Larry Kudlow, find Trump’s deportation plans and high tariffs worrying. These tariffs are often seen as a protection on the U.S. economy, but are in effect tax increases on American households. His contempt and particularly harsh economic plan toward China would undoubtedly lock the U.S. and China into a trade war, losing Americans millions of jobs and slowing growth to zero (and that’s assuming China doesn’t retaliate with similar tariffs). This “tit for tat” strategy of Trump’s is indicative of his adolescent take on almost every issue, showing us he has little more restraint or executive level cognitive function than a six year old.
XII. Lack of GOP support
If Trump were a unifying or even palatable GOP candidate, and if Hillary was as bad as everyone made her out to be, why aren’t big name Republicans supporting Trump? Never has there been a #Never_____ movement started from within a candidate’s own party. Trump has no support from previous GOP presidents or nominees such as George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney. John Kasich didn’t even attend the GOP convention held in his own state, and other contenders for the GOP nomination can’t stand Trump (people like Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, and Jeb! Bush). Even Ted Cruz went back on his promise to endorse whoever the GOP nominee was at the RNC convention. Party insiders like Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Karl Rove are not behind him. The Kock brothers are not funding him. Former GOP candidate for governor of California and Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman recently endorsed and will fundraise for Hillary Clinton. Trump’s behavior has become so appalling to members of his own party that the few remaining high-ranking GOP supporters of Trump have reportedly staged an intervention aiming to turn his campaign around. And finally, it’s gotten to the point that rumors are circulating among Trump aides that he might drop out of the race, prompting RNC lawyers to look into how a new nominee would be picked. This should give you pause. No, the “establishment” isn’t against him because he speaks the truth. They’re against him because he is destroying their party.
XIII. Most untruthful candidate in the 2016 election
Politifact is a Pulitzer prize winning website that tracks the truth of statements made by political candidates. Trump has made by far the most number of untrue statements during his campaign, with 17%, 40%, and 19% of his statements being rated as mostly false, false, and pants of fire, respectively. That makes 76% of Trump’s campaign statements dead wrong, with almost 1 in 5 being rated “pants on fire”. Compare that to Hillary Clinton, who is the most honest candidate this election cycle, with 15%, 11%, 3% of her campaign statements being rated as mostly false, false, and pants on fire, respectively. That makes only 29% of her campaign statements in the untrue category. 29% is of course still high, but it’s the lowest of all the other candidates.
XIV. Trump loves conspiracy theories (if you believe any of these, you may need professional help)
A. Trump stooped to an unprecedented low with his suggestion that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in JFK assassination, a claim rated as “pants on fire” by PolitiFact.
B. Trump believes that the “concept of global warming” is a hoax created by the Chinese to outcompete U.S. manufacturing.
C. Suggests Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered with a “pillow over his face”. Of course, Trump is not a medical examiner, but he probably thinks his “very good brain” could do the job. Additionally, he claimed Obama may not have attended Scalia’s funeral because he is secretly a muslim.
D. Claims Hillary Clinton was involved in the 1993 death of White House staffer Vince Foster.
E. Perpetuates the harmful myth that childhood vaccines cause autism, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that there is no link between them.
XV. Encourages violence at his rallies
Trump has repeatedly condoned and even encouraged violence at his rallies. He has told crowds, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay… I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees”. I’m no prosecutor, but this sure sounds like incitement. Of another protester, Trump remarked to the crowd, “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya”. In Birmingham, Alabama, Trump responded to a group of men kicking and punching a Black Lives Matter protester by saying, “Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” In a time where our nation’s racial divide needs healing, that temperament from the president would be incredibly counter-productive. Trump lamented the good old days, when protesters were “carried out on a stretcher”. Trump has never attempted to tame his followers or issue apologies for their behavior.
XVI. Says John McCain is not a war hero because he was a POW
At the Family Leadership Summit last July, Trump stated that Senator John McCain, a fellow Republican, is “not a war hero… I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump is referring to the fact that McCain’s aircraft was shot down over Vietnam in 1967, when he broke both his arms and his right leg during his ejection before landing in a lake and sinking to the bottom, almost drowning. He then was captured by North Vietnamese forces who fractured his shoulder with a rifle but and stabbed him in the abdomen with a bayonet. For more than a year, McCain was beaten every three to four hours, his left arm rebroken, his ribs cracked. In total, he spent five years as a prisoner of war. During this time McCain only told his captors his name, rank, and date of birth. He was once offered early release for propoganda purposes of the North Vietnamese, but he refused because they would not also release his fellow prisoners. That sounds like a hero to me. Shame on Trump for this disgusting comment, which he has refused to apologize for. Is this a man who understands or cares about the men and women he will be in command of as commander in chief?
XVII. Lies about his charitable donations, which are few and far between
Trump has repeatedly claimed to be a very charitable person, and one would hope that someone worth billions of dollars is willing to give back to society. Under pressure from the media, which uncovered that Trump was not, in fact, a very charitable man, Trump pledged to raise $6 million for veterans charities, with $1 million of it coming directly from him. Trump then did not give the $1 million to any charitable organization. Four months later, after renewed pressure from the media to make good on his promise, Trump finally caved and gave the $1 million away. This prompted further investigation from the media, which looked at public records to determine whether or not Trump’s public statements and promises of charitable donations ever actually happened. The Washington Post found that over the course of 15 years, Trump had made various public claims of donating more than $8.5 million to his own charity, but public records can only account for less than $2.8 million of his money that ever made it to the account, and he hasn’t given anything to it since 2008. Additionally, in the last 7 years, the only public record of Trump’s charitable donations to a group not branded with the name “Trump”, was a $10,000 donation. This argument is not to say that those who do not support charities are bad people. If Trump doesn’t want to do it, then he doesn’t need to. But he needs to stop lying about his donations to make himself look like a good person when he isn’t. Releasing his tax returns would prove whether or not Trump’s claims of “private” donations are actually true, but he seems unwilling to do that.
XVIII. Will not release his tax returns
Trump is the only presidential nominee in more than 40 years that, to this point, has not released his tax returns as an act of transparency. But why is that even a big deal? One, it breaks from a tradition that is meant to inspire confidence in our elected officials. It would also be able to backup, but more likely disprove, Trump’s boastful claims about his charitable donations. Importantly, it would give more insight into the way that Trump conducts his business and organizes his finances. So why won’t Trump release them? My thoughts, which are not only thought by me, are that a) Trump isn’t worth the amount of money he says he is, undercutting his credibility and the argument that because he is so rich he should be president (non-sequitur for you armchair logicians out there), b) his charitable donations are close to zero, or at the very least far less than what he has said he has donated, and most, if not all of his donations, are to his own charities, c) they may contain evidence of ties to shady groups like the mob or the Russian state oligarchy (especially troubling when taken with Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin and his undemocratic governing style and his recent encouragement of Russian hackers to meddle with the presidential election by hacking Hillary Clinton) d) the tax documents highlight the lengths to which Trump will use the system to pay the lowest tax rate possible, or e) several or all of these things can all simultaneously be true. On this last point, one can’t really fault Trump for taking advantage of the tax code to lower his tax rate, but it’s problematic in that Trump has chastised corporate CEOs for taking these loopholes to pay virtually no taxes. The last time Trump released his tax returns, they revealed that he was able to report “negative income” and pay absolutely nothing in taxes. Again, it was within the law, but do you really think this guy knows what it’s like to be a part of the middle class? If he really didn’t like this rigged system, he wouldn’t take advantage of it.
XIX. Encourages Russia to continue hacking democrats, with the implication of a foreign power influencing an American election (how’s that for America first?)
We already learned Trump has a bit of a crush on the autocratic, despotic, bloodthirsty Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump recently reached out to his pal Vlad at a press conference, saying “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”. He is referencing the fact that Russian hackers, highly likely the Russian government itself, hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails and released them on the eve of their convention, and Trump’s hope that they will do the same for the emails Clinton wiped from her personal server before handing it over to the FBI. Irrespective of the content of the emails themselves, Trump crossed a major line here, one that isn’t a Republican/Democrat type of thing. It’s a national sovereignty type of thing. On national television, Trump invited a foreign state to illegally hack his opponent’s emails in hopes it would influence the election in his favor. Ironically, this contradicts the Republican Party’s 2016 platform which states that cyberespionage “will not be tolerated”.