Friday, June 30, 2017

Donald Trump Then = Donald Trump Now

Following Donald Trump's vicious, misogynistic, and false tweets directed against Joe Scarborough sidekick and fiancee Mika Brzezinski, the MSNBC morning duo contributed an op-ed to Friday morning's Washington Post. While noting Trump's "mistreatment of women" and "unrelenting assault on women" was a staple of his presidential campaign, they argued

We have known Mr. Trump for more than a decade and have some fond memories of our relationship together. But that hasn’t stopped us from criticizing his abhorrent behavior or worrying about his fitness. During the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, Joe often listened to Trump staff members complain about their boss’s erratic behavior, including a top campaign official who was as close to the Republican candidate as anyone.

We, too, have noticed a change in his behavior over the past few years. Perhaps that is why we were neither shocked nor insulted by the president’s personal attack. The Donald Trump we knew before the campaign was a flawed character but one who still seemed capable of keeping his worst instincts in check.

To rework one of the most over-used (especially in this space) movie cliches of the past 70 years: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that Donald Trump is a bad guy."

Information has been out there about Donald Trump for a long time.  Writing shortly after Trump announced for president, David Marcus relied on information from investigative reporters. He explained Trump's past ties to La Cosa Nostra figures (video from 5/16) in both Atlantic City and New York City, in the latter city including

the use of undocumented Polish workers to demolish the Bonwit Teller building, which made way for the Trump Tower. Only a handful of union workers from Housewreckers Local 95 were employed on the site, the vast majority were illegal Polish alien workers, toiling under inhumane conditions, and wildly underpaid. Trump and his associates were found guilty in 1991 of conspiring to avoid paying pension and welfare fund contributions.

He was no stranger to the legal system, for in 1973, the 27-year-old Trump was sued by the federal government for violating the 1968 Civil Rights Act by refusing to rent apartments to blacks, a case settled out-of-court.

At the tail end (beginning at 5:32) of his opening monologue (worth watching, even now) on January 20, Bill Maher addressed the dossier of raw intelligence compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, quipping "I just wnat to say right now about our new president. I do not believe that Trump paid Russian prostitutes to pee on each other. I believe they did it, I just don't believe he paid for it." He may have been aware of the report from USA Today's Steve Reilly one year ago, twelve months before Trump sent Scarborough and Brzezinski into shock, that

At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA Today Network, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.

Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York. Both cases were resolved by the companies agreeing to pay back wages.

In addition to the lawsuits, the review found more than 200 mechanic’s liens — filed by contractors and employees against Trump, his companies or his properties claiming they were owed money for their work — since the 1980s. The liens range from a $75,000 claim by a Plainview, N.Y., air conditioning and heating company to a $1 million claim from the president of a New York City real estate banking firm. On just one project, Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, records released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990 show that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time, including workers who installed walls, chandeliers and plumbing.

Donald Trump may have gotten a little worse as President. But he is the same deal-making, deal-breaking confidence man. As President, he is getting some- still only some- of the scrutiny he should given him by Wayne Barrett, David Cay Johnstone, and a few other investigative journalists. He is now exposed, required to perform tasks far more difficult than he ever had to perform as a  real estate mogul Evidently good work if you can get it, it is businesss even a rude, crude, and inept individual can make a killing doing.

But rhe voters- or rather, the Electoral College- made its choice "They (the American people) knew what they were getting when they elected Donald Trump," Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared Thursday, unironically. Finally, something truthful out of the Administration.

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