I've always found it difficult to take Donald Trump seriously.
Over the years, he's been exposed many times for exaggerating or maybe even outright lying about things. He has boasted how he's never gone bankrupt, yet his casino properties went bust while he still controlled them.
He exaggerates his wealth, which has now been exposed with his sketchy financial disclosures as he announced his run for the White House. Yes, he's a very wealthy man (much of it thanks to the business he inherited from his father). But if he's worth "only" $350 million or so, that's a lot, so why does he need to tout himself as a billionaire?
Plain and simple -- Mr. Trump is a tacky guy. Does a real billionaire like Michael Bloomberg or Warren Buffet constantly remind us how wealthy he is?
Now it's come out that he paid actors $50 each to come to his campaign announcement and cheer for him. For him, money talks.
The media don't seem to be taking Trump seriously in his latest political bid. Here are links to two examples – from columnist Phil Reisman at The Journal News in suburban New York, and from media and ad critic Barbara Lippert at MediaPost.
I wouldn't be surprised to see him come up with some flimsy excuse for dropping out so he can stay on TV with his "Apprentice" show, with a message and an image he can control. Total control over your message just doesn't work that way in the world of politics. See what happened to Trump's pal Sarah Palin. (Maybe, like Palin, Trump's just looking to ramp up his speaking engagements, which get him a reported $1.7 million per speech. (Jeez, maybe he's not as crazy as he seems.))
Donald might be very nice in person, one on one. I wouldn't know. He certainly can be generous, donating big bucks to various charities, even if he does undermine some of that generosity by insisting his name be plastered all over things he donates or supports. (See what columnist Phil Reisman says about his donation of land for a state park in Westchester.)
But Trump's public persona, accurate or not, is hardly stellar. His public feuds with others over the years have shown him to be petty, thin-skinned, nasty and, in my opinion, a blowhard -- not traits this country wants or needs in a President.
If he stays in the race, he might have the support of some of his "Apprentice" viewers. But even at its peak, the show had some 6 or 8 million viewers, which is hardly enough to form a real base for a national election. And we haven't even talked yet about his experience. Running a family business -- however large -- is not like running the Government, leading a nation and dealing with other nations whose interests don't always mesh with ours. Would the domestic policy and international diplomacy of a President Trump (oooh, the words "President" and "Trump" together are very scary) be based on attitudes like "Take it or leave it," "Money talks," "We want it all, our way" or "You're fired!"
If nothing else, we and the media are sure to be scratching our heads and having some fun for a few weeks or a few months as we Trump-watch to see what zaniness comes from his camp.
Some excerpts from today's press are shown below...
Earlier this week he finally revealed how he will defeat ISIS: He will bomb them, surround them and then send in ExxonMobil to take their oil.
Sounds like a plan.
Up until now, his greatest success in fighting international terrorism was to inadvertently rent out his lush Bedford estate to Moammar Gadhafi. This was in 2009 when the Libyan dictator was in the neighborhood to give an incoherent speech to the United Nations.
Word got out, though. There was an uproar and the mad nomad from hell was sent packing along with the camel he rode in on. A couple of years later, Trump triumphantly claimed he "screwed" Gadhafi out of the rent money. – Journal News columnist Phil Reisman
Let’s face it: Donald Trump’s presidential announcement (otherwise known as throwing his hairpiece, or clown-nose, into the ring) was the gift that keeps on giving (in premium gold lettering, with signature molding, lit-up-in-neon and then set on fire.)
From its very first moment of optical pompitude, the launch achieved heights of comedy platinum that defied even Candidate Trump’s newly silver (but still differently abled) signature combover-whirligig hair-chitecture. That’s when, rather than choosing to deliver his address from on high, the Donald instead rode the TrumpTower’s escalator down into the bowels of his announcement pit, while waving to his fans Kim Jong Il-style. An unwitting reference to an Austin-Powers joke; all he needed to do after that was arrive by the pretend power of canoe-paddling.
Some theorized that the rambling announcement/45-minute speech/pre-made "Saturday Night Live" skit was so stupendously over-the-top, even by the Donald’s super-mogul standards, that it might actually be enough to keep Jon Stewart in his job at "The Daily Show." -- Barbara Lippert, MediaPost
(Trump's) discursive, pugnacious announcement was one of the more bizarre spectacles of the 2016 political season thus far — and one of the most entertaining. – Adam Lerner, Politico Click here to read the 10 best lines, true and funny.
Nothing in Donald Trump's funhouse-mirror presidential campaign announcement Tuesday made sense. Why did he ride down an escalator to get there? Why did he pick Neil Young for his entrance? Why did Neil Young play again over the tepid applause that greeted his official announcement? And: Why did he stray so far from his already amazing prepared remarks?
The unsatisfying answer to all of those questions is the same: Because he's Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is un-fact-checkable. That's his gift and his angle. As he made clear today, he says whatever he wants for as long as he wants, because, why not? If I sat down with him and said that he was wrong on GDP or wrong on premiums, he would call me a hater and a loser and disparage my dog or something. Who knows? Who knows?!
He's programmed to talk about how he's the best and President Obama is the worst and he can fix everything. "Donald, what time is it?" "I can tell you because I own the biggest, most luxurious watch in the world," etc. etc.
So here's the fact-check: Much of what Trump said is nonsense. If nothing else, let his candidacy serve as a reminder that no matter how rich or powerful you are, it's useful to have someone around who can say "no." – Philip Bump. The Washington Post