South Carolinians ought to see through Donald Trump’s pose as a winner to recognize him as a repeated failure, and should ignore his pretense as a populist to see his long record of leaving ordinary Americans in the lurch.
Trump won’t fight for American voters; he fights only for himself, and he loses more than he wins.
Trump, who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars from his father, failed with Trump Steaks, failed with Trump Vodka, failed with the United States Football League, failed with Trump Air, failed with Trump Mortgage company, failed with his major companies’ four infamous bankruptcies, and failed spectacularly with a real-estate seminar series grandiosely called Trump University, even though it awarded no accredited degrees.
For the latter, he appeared in ads saying the seminars would feature his own personal investment strategies and instructors he hand-picked — but in a court deposition, he admitted he couldn’t identify any of the teachers and was almost entirely unfamiliar with course contents. The enterprise folded some five years ago, but remains subject to three major lawsuits alleging deceptive trade practices. The complaints allege that those taking the seminars paid up to $35,000 for near-useless information and for promised “mentoring” that rarely was provided.
As for the bankruptcies, Trump dismissed them during a debate last summer as having hurt only big-money lenders who were “total killers” who merited no sympathy. In truth, though, thousands of small-business vendors, contractors, and workers were left wanting, sometimes with just pennies on the dollar. One bankruptcy alone produced a list of creditors 1,904 pages long, including at least 30 with addresses in South Carolina.
As so many of these mom-and-pop businesses were left unpaid, Trump himself, in one business “restructuring” of major Trump debts, was “limited” to a strict, personal monthly living allowance of $450,000 — as much in a single month as some of his bankruptcy creditors might make in 10 years.
In this long string of Trump face-plants, Trump’s big-money lawyers often have managed to help him escape personal disaster, while the “little guy” gets left holding the bag.
Sometimes the wounded fight back. Consider the long-running lawsuit from Polish immigrant workers on a Trump project (some of them undocumented aliens) who said his company failed to pay required wages and pension benefits. Trump lost several interim rulings; after more than 16 years, it was settled out of court, under seal.
Likewise, in what has become a big campaign issue, Trump and government allies have tried to use the government property-seizure power known as “eminent domain” in several instances, most infamously when they tried to force an elderly widow and a quarter-century-old Italian family restaurant to leave their properties so a Trump casino could feature a bigger waiting area for limousines. (The widow, Vera Coking, was told she would get only 25 percent of a price she had already turned down for her property; with the help of a public-interest law firm, she sued and won the right to keep her house.)
Indeed, Trump’s disdain for individual rights reached a disgusting extreme when, in 1990, he lamented that the Chinese government “almost blew it” when faced with peaceful protesters in Tiananmen Square the year before — until they implemented the famous crackdown where tanks rolled over students demanding more freedom.
Even in his own family, Trump is ruthless: Angry at his nephew about a dispute over the will of Trump’s father, Trump withdrew the medical benefits for his nephew’s disabled infant child.
In considering Trump, South Carolina hasn’t seen as nasty a character since the British commander Banastre Tarleton terrorized civilians during the American Revolutionary War. But South Carolina patriots under the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion, along with state’s militia helping General Daniel Morgan, first drove Tarleton to distraction and then wiped out 86 percent of his troops at the battle of Cowpens.
South Carolinians should similarly drive out Trump — returning him to his losing ways, but this time leaving him no opportunity to trample working Americans as he retreats from the fight.