2017 began with a fact that can forever change world history. Donald Trump became the President of the United States. The controversial businessman, who was known for his controversial statements and his participation in the American reality show The Apprentice, now advances in his political career, becoming the most powerful leader in the world. In “The Making of Donald Trump,” journalist David Cay Johnston tells the whole story behind this phenomenon. From the beginning of his career, his constant presence in the media and his political opinions, all this is explored and condensed for you in this microbook. Get to know a little bit about Trump’s controversial story, understand your business and your past. Come with us!
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THE PROBLEM INHERITANCE OF DONALD TRUMP
Fred Trump, the father of Donald Trump, was a real estate developer known for his bread-and-butter. Patriarch Trump used cheap materials in his works to maximize his profits and did not care about the quality of the buildings. Controversial as his son, after World War II, Trump was accused of stealing funds from the US government, which were intended to subsidize homes for war veterans. He got involved in a scandal and had to testify in US Congress, but the government did not make any complaints against him or filed any lawsuit. Fred Trump was also a partner of some Mafiosi, who provided money to him and ensured he had no problems with the unions.
Fred Trump cheated the federal government for loans in the early 1950s. First, he delayed paying off low-cost government loans and used this money to create a lucrative real estate business. Fred Trump got this because the loans were approved by Clyde Powell, an American government official who received kickbacks in exchange for large loans. Despite this, no one has ever been able to prove that Fred Trump bribed Clyde in exchange for benefits. Fred also maximized his profits by overstating the costs of building his real estate and charging rents based on these costs. In short, Trump’s father has never been an example of honesty in the business world, though no one has been able to prove his criminal links.
Fred Trump was known for his questionable business tactics, and Donald Trump followed his examples.
Donald Trump later also became associated with organized crime and became involved in an obscure business. Harnessing government rules to make profits in technically legal but questionable ways has become a hallmark of Donald Trump’s career. In his presidential campaign, for example, Trump leased planes and other equipment from his own business, thereby using contributions from his political campaign to enrich himself.
ROY COHN: THE GREAT MENTOR OF DONALD TRUMP
In the 1950s, Roy Cohn worked as a lawyer for Senator Joe McCarthy and assisted him in hounding the Communists. Donald Trump hired Cohn in 1972 to defend him from federal lawsuits that accused his family of racial prejudice when renting apartments. Cohn prepared an aggressive defense and counterattacked. Although Trump was forced to make a deal with the victims, Cohn became an important mentor to him. Trump admired and imitated the aggressive attitude of the audacious lawyer.
Cohn became known in 195 when he served as federal prosecutor in the case of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, a couple of American Jews who were accused of providing intelligence and confidential information of American atomic research to the Soviet Union. A few years later, Ethel’s brother said that Cohn had pressured him to give false testimony against his sister, which resulted in the execution of a woman who was possibly innocent of the charges that led her to be convicted.
This trial launched Cohn’s career, and he began working for McCarthy and made a well-known tour of Europe in 1953 with McCarthy’s aide, David Schine, to find communist literature in American government libraries. Cohn and Schine were highly ridiculed in the press and the tabloids. Cohn did not seem to care and continued to work for McCarthy. Cohn’s aggressiveness, his willingness to distort the truth and his denunciations against other people would also become trademarks of Donald Trump’s career.
DONALD TRUMP, THE MAFIOSO
Trump’s lawyer, Roy Cohn, had already worked for the Mafia and presented Trump to some people who had important roles in their business. He used ready-mix concrete to build the Trump Tower in 1978, a time when concrete companies were controlled by the union-infiltrated mob. Trump would never be able to build his iconic tower without the support of the Mafia and its influence within the unions. Cohn also introduced Donald Trump to an influential mob leader, Tony Salerno. The fact of doing business with a well-known person of organized crime should have been the reason for the Trump casino to lose its license, but that was not enough. The US government has made exceptions for Trump and has never investigated its connections with the Mafia.
Back in the 1980s, Trump hired Joseph Weichselbaum to provide an air service to Trump casinos in Atlantic City. Another mafioso, Weichselbaum had already been convicted of car theft and fraud. Also, during the years of his partnership with Donald, he was also charged with drug traffickings such as cocaine and marijuana. Despite all this, Trump continued to work and create a new business with Weichselbaum. Although Trump is not a drug user and has never used cocaine, marijuana or even alcohol, many claims that it is possible that Weichselbaum made money by providing illegal drugs to the elite of visitors to the Trump casino.
An interesting and important fact to be emphasized, especially when it comes to a presidential, is that Trump’s connections to organized crime were not a major problem during his presidential campaign. In primaries for the nomination of the Republican party, no one questioned these polemical ties. The issue only emerged at the end of the campaign but did not gain strength as Trump’s involvement with Tony Salerno and Weichselbaum occurred many decades before his presidential run. Shady deals may not seem relevant, especially when Trump made even more bold proposals in the campaign, such as building a wall around the Mexican border or accusing President Barack Obama of being one of the founders of the ISIS terrorist group. In addition to fueling the media’s interest with ridiculous ideas, it is also important to note that there is almost no evidence of direct irregularities on Trump’s part. But to this day, Mafia connections inspire doubts about their companies and raise troubling questions about how they will conduct business in the White House.
TRUMP, THE PAST MANAGER
Donald Trump has shown throughout his career that he is not a great businessman. In the 1980s, for example, he bought a team from an alternative league to the NFL, the American Football League. This league hoped to build a reputation and popularity over time, and eventually compete with the NFL for the monopoly of the US football market. Instead of investing in developing league and sport, Donald Trump persuaded league owners to sue the NFL for operating an illegal monopoly. Trump allied himself again with Roy Cohn as his lawyer, and despite winning the case, the jury granted a negligible restitution, making the league bitter, great losses. The rebound was so negative that the challenging league was not well accepted by the American public, the NFL remained sovereign, and Trump and his partners lost tens of millions of dollars.
Trump has also accumulated great losses and shame in the management of his casinos. Trump Entertainment Resorts, the company that manages its casinos, filed for bankruptcy more than any other American company after the 1980s. To stay in business, Donald Trump needed to sell a large portion of his assets, including airplanes, buildings, cars, and to pay their creditors. Some market analysts claim that Donald Trump would be much better off financially these days if he had simply invested his share of his father’s inheritance in an investment fund instead of taking control of the business and making a series of bad decisions.
TRUMP HAS LESS MONEY THAN YOU IMAGINE …
Trump’s business and political success are based on his image of an extremely wealthy and successful person. He claims that he is a multibillion dollar and that his fortune is more than 3 billion dollars. However, journalists who have investigated Trump’s net worth have discovered that he is not the billionaire he claims to be. The press estimates that Donald Trump’s assets are valued at approximately $ 200 million. Trump has a strong need for the assertion about his wealth, and this has caused him to violate one of the informal rules of the American presidential campaign.
In the United States, presidential candidates release their income tax returns for public scrutiny. But Trump, as the Republican party’s presidential candidate, refused to do so. For the press, Trump was reluctant to release his financial information because they would reveal that he is not a billionaire. Apparently, Trump is much less wealthy than he claims to be. Also, Trump pays very low tax rates, always looking for legal loopholes.
TRUMP, THE LITIGIOUS …
Trump is very vain and regularly threatens to sue people who publish stories about him that he does not agree with. When a journalist published a book saying that Trump was not a billionaire, he threatened to sue the journalist. Although he asserts that he never makes agreements in proceedings, he often uses them to stifle embarrassing information that would come to the public because of his litigation addiction.
Trump, for example, paid illegal wages to workers in their buildings and caused them to be exposed to dangerous conditions. The lawsuit lasted 18 years, and Trump made a confidential settlement in court, so no one would know how much he was forced to pay.
Trump has been sued in several cases where he has licensed his name to other builders. They built buildings and hotels by the name of Trump, and the buyers believed that building was owned by Trump. Thus, several confidential agreements were made to ensure that your brand was not exposed to losing in the American courts.
The use of cuts to silence criticism, especially for a presidential candidate, is a matter of concern. Press criticism of presidents and presidential candidates is an important part of the democratic process. Still, Trump suggested that he would use the same tactics against journalists when he was president.
Trump’s campaign still sought ways to intimidate the press. Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, pushed a reporter into a campaign event. Although many had demanded that Trump dismiss Lewandowski at the time, he defended him and blamed the reporter for the incident.
Lewandowski was only fired a few weeks later for other reasons, unrelated to the ungainly situation with the press. Also, Trump vetoed press access for interviews and statements. All of these efforts to intimidate the press are consistent with the use of threats, to control media coverage of them. Trump uses the processes and threats to prevent and bury any criticism of him.
DONALD TRUMP IS REVENGEFUL
Trump sold himself during his campaign as a Christian, but at the same time throughout his life, he strongly rejected important Christian values such as forgiveness and compassion. Trump is thirsty for revenge.
Trump once wrote about an incident in which he asks an employee to call a friend of hers at a bank to persuade her to help him when he is in financial trouble. The clerk felt she should not do it for ethical reasons. Trump fired her and said she would refuse to give her a good recommendation for another job, out of sheer pride. Donald Trump strongly believes in revenge, and this contradicts his belief in Christianity.
Trump’s old attitudes, his associations, and his business reveal a selfish, treacherous, incompetent, and cruel man. His history of corruption, his hypersensitivity to criticism, his disinterest for the truth, and his poor management skills suggest he is not capable of assuming the presidency.
Throughout his career, Trump demonstrated a disposition of conflict and contempt for the law, characteristics that indicate the possibility of a disastrous presidency. His character raises very serious questions about his ability to be the American president.