Updated: Apr 16, 2019
I’ll state my thesis upfront. That way, all the MAGA wingnuts, religious fanatics, and gun-toting racists can book off. I don’t want to waste their precious time.
It’s simply that Donald Trump and his atrocious family are the worst things that ever happened to America, maybe even to the world. But, as Trump himself likes to repeat, "Some people didn't know that...".
And some people didn't know that the notorious Fred Trump wasn't born in the USA. Duh?
Fred Trump, who cheated on contracts to build housing for WWII vets in the 1950's (he didn't serve in the military or make any contribution to the war effort), was a well-known con man. Now the arrogant, narcissistic son who managed to run a casino into bankruptcy is in charge of the world’s most vibrant economy while controlling the most horrendous war machine that history has ever witnessed. A guy who doesn't know where his father was born has access to the nuclear launch codes. Trust me: the world is in serious trouble.
For non-American readers who aren't suffering under this abominable administration, Donald Trump is a playboy and former reality TV gameshow host. His sorry hide was repeatedly yanked out of the frying pan by his daddy, the controversial billionaire real estate developer Fred Trump, while Donald ran numerous businesses into bankruptcy. For those who don’t know what the term 'bankruptcy' in America means, it means that he was allowed to walk away from massive debts, leaving well-meaning creditors holding the empty bag. In effect, it’s a form of legalized theft.
Donald Trump has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a New York Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s. According to the Times, the president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances. Instead, the Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show. Their shady tax strategies and outright fraud met little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service. Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for the president, called the Times allegations of fraud and tax evasion entirely false and defamatory or, like Trump himself likes to point out, Fake News.
Donald Trump publicly cheated on long-suffering Ivana, the mother of his adult children and the one woman who tirelessly worked to rebuild the Trump business empire as fast as her philandering husband tore it down. Then he divorced her to marry the cheap wannabe starlet Marla Maples after getting her pregnant. He then divorced her too. On the topic of his adult daughter, Ivanka, he shamelessly boasts:
"She's got the best body..."
"Perhaps I'd be dating her."
"She's always been very voluptuous."
"If I weren't, ya know, her father..."
Kissing her "as often as I can."
All the while, his daddy sat on the sidelines, if not smiling then at least funneling new money to his largely uncaring offspring. We won't even mention Fred's own tax-avoidance strategies which are still confounding experts even today. This is a family that has never paid its fair share.
Now Donald wants the American people to give him a WALL. To keep out immigrants. And because the Congress won't give him any money, he's declared a National Emergency. The only explanation for this unique obsession is that his latest immigrant wife Melania (please see my other blog posting at www.francescorizzuto.com/blog/first-lady-of-porn) has stopped sleeping with him. Heck. She even pushes away his hand when he tries to hold it during photo ops. It’s not like the woman is still a virgin or anything; that is, not unless Barron Trump, the latest princeling to spring from POTUS 45’s loins, is a product of immaculate conception and therefore on a par with Jesus of Nazareth. Perhaps we’ll see a Second Coming when young Barron is old enough to run for the Presidency, say, in 2048? After all, this is America where absolutely anything is possible, and nothing is too absurd.
But seriously, the guy couldn’t run a lemonade stand, much less a country. The sad thing is, he managed to put a million federal workers on furlough in 2018 without pay, blackmailing the opposition in Congress to approve his demand for over 5 billion dollars to build a wall that’s thousands of miles long and that he promised would be paid for by Mexico. When the opposition didn't cave, he declared a National Emergency.
So, what’s wrong with that?
Well, first and most serious is the problem of furloughed workers – innocent victims of Trump’s bullying – who faced increased economic pressure from a lengthy government shutdown. Most didn’t have a rich daddy like Fred to bail them out. Many faced the unhappy prospect of foreclosure on their mortgaged homes, eviction, bankruptcy and demolished credit ratings. The corollaries to these are failed marriages, broken homes, damaged children, suicides. You get the picture. Like I said, the guy couldn’t run a lemonade stand without wrecking it.
An illustrative spin-off is the impact of the shutdown on some freshman members of the Congress who took their seats after the November 2018 election. Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez complained via MSNBC that her constituency office workers couldn’t do their jobs without government-funded laptop computers and they won’t be getting these new toys until the shutdown is over. Read between the lines, folks. What ever happened to pencils, paper, telephones, and other, reliable means of communication? Nope. No laptops – can’t work. If you put your head to the floor, you could hear the grumblings across both sides of the House. Here is American politics at its finest hour.
Like many other parents, I had to save to purchase a laptop for my daughter’s use at school – it was mandatory – when education is the only means of solving the numerous and serious problems the world faces today. If it weren't for the poor-quality of education in America, Donald Trump wouldn't be sitting in the White House.
But I'm digressing...
Second, the rationale handed out to Trump’s non-thinking supporters during the 2016 election campaign that Mexico was going to pay for a concrete (or even steel) barrier that’s thousands of miles long is so absurd it boggles the imagination that even his maliciously ignorant MAGA supporters would swallow it. Again, another indication of the continual dumbing down of America and the result of generations of low-quality of education in the country. Having been a pre-retirement heavy construction manager, I can assure everyone that $5 billion won’t buy a wall of that type, even if it were constructed of Legos. These projects always go 50% to 100% over budget and take twice as long as scheduled to complete. The sheer scope of work for Trump’s vanity project almost guarantees that it will become a white elephant, even if the Dems were to cave in and give him the money now. It’s a project that never, ever will come to fruition.
Unfortunately for Donald, Fred Trump is no longer with us. So, who’s going to bail him out this time?
There’s crowd-funding which is already raking in considerable sums in support of the wall funding campaign, but that money will soon disappear into the pockets of persons much smarter than those who donated.
Then there’s Donald’s own money. He could sell off his Mar-a-Lago holdings and other Trump properties to finance a monument the country won’t soon forget, one that rivals the Great Wall of China, the only human construction that can be viewed with the naked eye from space. Like the Taj Majal, history will remember it as a monument to a woman, albeit a woman who won’t even hold his hand. But I don’t think he has that much money.
Knowing Donald Trump the way we already do, it's safe to say that he'd be more inclined to steal the money than dip into his own deep pockets for a single penny. He'd ransack the Army Corps of Engineers budget that's intended mainly for civil works projects or even tap directly into military construction project budgets, although he'd first need to declare a state of national emergency, something he threatens to do whenever he doesn't get his way. FLASH: the threatened National Emergency is already in place.That's what Trump meant when he said he'll go to the marines or the navy to built it if the Dems don't come around.
The brutal reality is that the President could now yank $681 million from Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in Department of Homeland Security funds, all without congressional approval.
"I have other alternatives if I have to and I'll use those alternatives if I have to," Trump told reporters. "A lot of people want this to happen. The military wants this to happen. This is a virtual invasion of our country." Lies, but hey, WTF.
Whatever strategy this over-indulged, wannabe dictator selects, he will face what every developer considers a built-in nightmare: permitting. To secure environmental permitting for such a wall could take years, or even decades, given all the impact studies required to secure the multi-level approvals. Old-hand developer Fred Trump knew this and it gave him migraines way back in the 1950's, never mind the more environmentally aware post-Millennium. Regardless of the source of funding, the project would still need to run the rigorous permitting gauntlet before the much-needed private property could be seized or any new ground broken along the border. Again, the brutal reality is that the President could sweep all this red tape aside and fast-track his beloved wall.
But there are some things that Trump Junior didn't learn from his daddy. When you renege on a contract there is usually a cost to pay. Donald seems more afraid of blowback from his MAGA base than any consequences issuing from jilted building contractors or lawsuits from recalcitrant landowners. This has, in fact, been his own personal history, simply because daddy Fred was always there to bail him out. He is remarkably immune to polls and the notion that even his maliciously ignorant base may abandon him to sign on with the next toxic white guy who comes along if Donald doesn't fulfill his absurd promises.
The best option is to simply pretend to build a wall. Yeah, that’s right. Fake it. Like Fake News. After all, with arrests for illegal border crossings reaching a 46-year low, an expensive medieval wall is the very last thing the country needs. In fact, the deception is already happening, although only on paper and in the tendering stages. No actual new construction has yet been undertaken or ever will be. But MAGA supporters don’t want to know that. A few Tweeted videos of himself wearing a spiffy hard hat while signing fake contracts, and bright yellow Caterpillar tractors moving earth around should be enough. And that strategy doesn’t cost anything. He could lift the construction photos off Pinterest.
Trump’s real problem is that once the knives start coming out from behind Republican togas, not even his millions of race-bating, gun-toting MAGAts can help him. His supporters in Congress and the Senate will abandon him to the last man/woman, or at least the reasonably sane members will, as practically everyone in Washington has some dirty laundry secreted in the back of their closet. It’s the very nature and essence of politics. As the world saw after the close of the Second World War, when nobody in Germany would admit to ever having been a Nazi, they will profess to have been anti-Trump all along but only acting in the interest of damage control and saving the country from one individual, already known as Individual One.
Still, it’s highly unlikely that Donald Trump will end up like Julius Caesar. An American president has never been jailed for his misdeeds, neither in nor out of office, and only the really good ones get assassinated. The fallout has always been suffered by others as in the case of James Buchanan’s corrupt administration (1857-61) that led to the Civil War. And this president has already hinted at a similar outcome, suggesting that it could get "very bad" if military, police, and biker supporters "play tough." He is already using a Muslim Congresswoman as a whipping post by posting inflammatory Tweets that encourage his base to follow up with death threats. It could be the spark that ignites the next civil war in America. Old Fred Trump would likely welcome such an outcome. Wartime is always the best time to grow your money.
More likely, Donald Trump will finish his term of office while ramping up for another run in 2020. And if the Electoral College is abolished, as he dearly hopes it will be, then he may even win by a popular majority. Having accomplished that propaganda coup, he may take a page from the Chinese Premier's playbook and abolish the term of office limits, essentially making himself dictator-for-life. Like I said, this is America where nothing is too surprising or too absurd to happen. As dictator, he could simply populate the government with his loyal MAGAt puppets, as Hitler did in the 1930's.
Somewhere (either from above or below), Fred Trump is watching and probably smiling. After all, money always wins out in the end.
Check out my novels and short stories at www.francescorizzuto.com