A huge quantity of the coverage during this presidential campaign has focused around the problem of “transparency.” The issue is that this coverage has been immensely lopsided contributing to a massive misunderstanding on the part of the public and this misunderstanding might put Donald Trump in the White House. The latest Quinnipiac poll questioned what voter thinks is the more transparent, Clinton or Trump, and 54 percent trust Trump is the more transparent to only 37 percent for Clinton. The issue is it’s just not true. Trump is the very least transparent candidate in memory and the press understands it. Why don’t the people today?
This theme started with the partisan Benghazi investigations in congress from which came the breakthrough of a trove of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the truth that she had utilized a personal email while she was Secretary of State. The press invested months pursuing that tale without exhibiting any proof of unethical behavior but Clinton’s prickly relationship with the press over the years has encouraged a presumption of guilt for any possible appearance of impropriety.
And then there are the health documents. Clinton launched a letter from her doctor over a year ago in the same form as Romney and Obama showing off the basic outline of her health problems and attesting to the truth that she is fit for the presidency. Her cough and bout of pneumonia (and a calculated right-wing whisper campaign) produced more accusations that she was neglecting to be transparent. She unveiled over 30 years of tax returns, more than any candidate in history. The Foundation has also launched all of its financials to the public, Bill Clinton will give up his role and it will stop all its charitable activities around the world if she wins. Currently there are demands that it be closed totally so there can be no question of any conflict of interest anywhere.
On the other hand, Donald Trump has only unveiled what the FEC necessitates to run for president. He’s the first nominee in half a century to refuse to release no tax returns at all. (His son let the cat out of the bag this week, nevertheless, acknowledging that he didn’t plan to release them because folks would ask too many questions. ) Trump’s own foundation seems to be some kind of elaborate con in which Trump used other people’s money to pass himself off as a philanthropist, taking a few little goodies for himself in the process. There’s also good cause to suspect he utilized it to launder a pay-off to Florida’s Attorney General for not investigating his other bad deal, Trump University (for which he’s being sued for fraudulence all over the country.) He’s neglecting to release those records too. He produced an ridiculous letter from his very strange doctor last fall and then this week went on the controversial Dr Oz’s daytime show and unveiled a more professional letter from the same doctor attesting to his stamina and high levels of testosterone.
But absolutely nothing comes close to the legendary conflicts with his privately held company The Trump Organization which, thinking about the endless yammering throughout the campaign about transparency, has gotten far less focus than it should have. Some business pages gave a cursory glimpse at the possible complications and reported on how past candidates handled the matter and running down the legal restrictions that apply. Wealthy candidates have generally divested themselves of any businesses and modified their investments into index funds or cash or put them into a blind trust which is administered by a disinterested party.
In spite of all the hours spent before cameras and taking questions there have been astonishingly few about this problem. He was questioned if he would put his assets in a blind trust at the Fox Business primary debate:
TRUMP: I would put it in a blind trust. Well, I don’t know if it’s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. If that’s a blind trust, I don’t know. But I would probably have my children run it with my executives and I wouldn’t ever be involved because I wouldn’t care about anything but our country, anything.
That is asking the folks of the United States to have blind trust in him it’s not a blind trust.
This week Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek slipped a bombshell article that should have shaken the campaign to its core but has not appeared to penetrate the noise. He took a glance at some of the companies Trump detailed on his FEC report and connected enough dots to trace them to numerous deals around the world. What he discovered was a labyrinth of business agreements with politically linked oligarchs, tycoons and criminals some of which have been coming together even as he’s running for president. These issues are so complex and likely dangerous that unless he totally shuts down the Trump organization he simply can’t be president.
There is absolutely no way to put it into a blind trust or unwind it, even if it were positioned in the hand of total strangers because it’s an extremely lucrative branding business, in which Trump licenses his name to numerous global development projects. Without the Trump name, there is no company. But with a President Trump it’s a more valuable company than ever. Nobody who has observed Trump can potentially think that he doesn’t care about his name and his company and that it would have no influence on his choices.
He’s preparing to run the country as an oligarchy, much like the strongmen leaders he’s so affectionate towards. He has supplied practically no specifics and the media have failed to correctly follow up. Once he’s in the White House there’s nothing they can do. There are no laws against a president doing this because it never happened to anyone that one would be so daring as to do such a thing.
The New York Times’ Nicolas Kristoff published yesterday, “when the public sees Trump as more honest than Clinton something has gone wrong.” It’s a media failure of likely devastating dimensions.
These People Are A Danger To Themselves And Others! Wake Up!!!!!!
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