Jeff Pearlman

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My Case Against Donald Trump

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I have been thinking much about the rise of Donald Trump of late, but I’m tired of obsessing, worrying, fretting. So I just want to say something, and then I’ll try and (editorially) move on for a while. It won’t be easy, but—again—I’ll try. Because this isn’t healthy.

OK, here I go …

There are a lot of angry people in America, and maybe you’re one of them. You’re angry, perhaps, because you hate your job. Or you don’t have a job. You’re angry because your pay sucks. You’re angry because government doesn’t seem to be working for you. You’re angry because you think Barack Obama hates America, or wants to take your guns, or hasn’t done enough to combat ISIS. Illegal immigration makes you angry. The demise of the coal industry makes you angry. You think climate change is bullshit. You think our PC culture is nonsense. You abhor how liberals seem to have no use for God. You look at Hillary Clinton and feel sick to your stomach. You think she’s an overly ambitious fraud who has no business running for president. You loathe her with a passion.

Hence, for one/all of the above reasons (or for another reason I missed), you plan on voting for Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

I am here to offer my reasoning why this is, to be blunt, fucking insane.

First and foremost, Donald Trump is a con man. I don’t write those words lightly, or to be flip or snarky. No, he is a con man, in the way many televangelists are cons; in the way street corner shell game operators are cons. I know … I know—”But fucking Hillary is the biggest con of all!” No, that’s not true. Is Hillary Clinton an overly ambitious political monster? Yes. Is the e-mail thing fucked up? Yes. Did she defend a husband who deserved no defending? Yes. Are you right to be upset over the way Benghazi was handled? Yes. But Hillary Clinton, at her absolute worst, is your typical paint-by-numbers bullshit politician. She desperately wants to be president, and a ton of her actions through the years have clearly directed her toward that goal.

This, without a doubt, is true. And it’s the reason so many (myself included) find her indigestible.

Were Donald Trump merely indigestible, I’d be OK with him. No, I wouldn’t agree with many of his policy positions. But through the years, nearly all of our high-ranking leaders were indigestible. John F. Kennedy cheated on his wife. Lyndon Johnson’s decision making resulted in the deaths of thousands upon thousand in Vietnam. Richard Nixon was a crook. Gerald Ford pardoned a crook. Jimmy Carter couldn’t get the hostages out of Iran. Ronald Reagan got the hostages out of Iran, but ignored the AIDS epidemic and illegally sold arms to Iran. George H. Bush promised no new taxes—then raised taxes. Bill Clinton received office blow jobs from a 23-year-old intern, then lied about it. George W. Bush used false intelligence to lead us into Iraq in the aftermath of 9.11. On and on and on and on—look deeply enough, every political hero and anti-hero has his/her shit. It’s a guarantee.

Trump, though, doesn’t merely have his shit. He is pathological, in the way insane asylum inmates are pathological. And I’m not just referring to a perpetual changing of positions that would make John Kerry seem steady (Not long ago Trump was pro-choice, now he’s pro-life; Not long ago Trump was pro-gun restrictions, now he’s anti-gun restrictions; Not long ago Trump praised Hillary Clinton as a wonderful secretary of state; now she’s the worst woman to walk the planet). Nope, I’m talking about stuff that would straight-up murder the political ambitions of any other political candidate walking the United States. For example, five years ago Donald Trump bragged that he was about to prove Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He bragged of having people on the ground in Hawaii who were about to bring forth shocking incriminating material. Then (poof!) the talk vanished. He just dropped it. Why? Because it was all a lie. Or, to be perfectly clear, Trump was lying about a sitting president of the United States being unqualified to hold the job (Compare this in scope to the Dixie Chicks, a country music group, slamming George W. Bush). Or how about this one? Last July Trump mocked Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam POW, because he was captured. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you.” This would be rich enough had a young Donald J. Trump not dodged the draft. As the Smoking Gun reported, Trump’s draft number was 365, and when it was drawn on Dec. 1, 1968, “18 months after Trump graduated” from the Wharton School, Trump “had already received four student deferments and a medical deferment.” Again, for clarity, Donald Trump ridiculed John McCain for being captured during a war he (Trump) opted not to fight.

This goes on and on. A few days ago, during a speech out here in California, Donald Trump said the drought—the worst in modern state history—does not exist. I live here. It exists, and it’s terrifying. He also recently said that global warming is not real—which is funny, in that he cites “global warming and its effects” in a recent permit to to build a sea wall designed to protect one of his golf courses. To repeat: Donald Trump is telling voters he does not subscribe to climate change, while simultaneously subscribing to climate change.

Donald Trump says he is on the side of struggling Americans. He says this over and over and over again. But when asked in 2006 about the potential for a collapsing of the real estate market, Trump said, “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy.” One year later, Trump told the Globe and Mail that he was “excited” about the housing market plummeting. “I’ve always made more money in bad markets than in good markets.” Again, Trump supporter, think about this: Donald Trump was rooting for people to lose their homes, because he would make a profit. Think about that twice. Three times. His stated excuse in recent days: He was simply a businessman eyeing an opportunity. Seriously.

I can go on and on and on. So I will …

• A few days ago Donald Trump said he would debate Bernie Sanders were someone to put up a large sum of money to go to charity. Someone put up a large sum of money to go to charity. Donald Trump changed his mind.

• Donald Trump ridiculed his Republican opponents for taking money from outside sources. Literally, on Oct. 15, 2015 he Tweeted, “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!” Then, on May 13, Trump Tweeted, “An incredible honor to receive the endorsement of a person I have such tremendous respect for. Thank you, Sheldon!” He is now taking donations from Adelson—after saying he would never do such a thing. Back in February, Trump ripped Jeb Bush for receiving money from Woody Johnson, the New York Jets owner and heir to a pharmaceutical fortune. He said the relationship would prevent Bush from negotiating for lower prescription-drug prices. “I don’t get any money from any of these special interests, and I know the special interests—I know them better than anybody,” Trump said. “But I don’t want their money.” Johnson is now vice-chair of the Trump Victory Fund.

• Donald Trump is a billionaire New Yorker who often cites the 9.11 attacks in his speeches. In the aftermath of 9.11, he did not make a single charitable donation to any of the not-for-profit groups that provided aid to survivors, rescue workers, or the families of cops and firemen who died trying to save others, Internal Revenue Service records show.

• Donald Trump repeatedly cites his love of veterans. In 1991, he wrote letters trying to deny disabled veterans a chance to make a living.

• Last November, during a rally, Trump said he witnessed “thousands and thousands” of people cheering in Jersey City, N.J. as the Twin Towers fell. They were, he insisted, Arabs. There’s only one problem: According to Jersey City Police Dept., this never happened. Never happened. He made the entire thing up, and linked to an article at the Infowars website, run by Alex Jones, who has argued that the U.S. government was behind the attacks. Trump has also pledged that, when elected, “you will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center.”

Hell, let’s roll. Donald Trump said Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination—based upon a National Enquirer story. In January Donald Trump told people at an Iowa campaign event that he raised $6 million for veterans groups, including a $1 million donation from himself. It turns out the figure was $4 million—and Trump had not donated a cent. Donald Trump repeatedly says that Vincent Foster, a Clinton associate was murdered—despite myriad investigations concluding that his death was a suicide. Back during last year’s Ebola scare, Trump Tweeted, “Ebola is much easier to transmit than the CDC and government representatives are admitting.” That was: A. Proven incorrect; B. Batshit crazy. Trump has repeatedly insisted that vaccinations result in autism. Tweet 1: “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes — AUTISM.” Tweet 2: “So many people who have children with autism have thanked me — amazing response. They know far better than fudged up reports!” Incorrect and dangerous. Trump Tweeted that black criminals are responsible for 81 percent of homicides against whites. This was: A. Incorrect; B. Material supplied by a white supremacist source. When Antonin Scalia died, Trump said, “They found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow.” Not true—and insane. Donald Trump says he opposed the Iraq War—he did not. Donald Trump says he never supported universal health coverage—he did. Trump used to disguise his voice and pretend to be his own publicist. He lied about doing so. Then admitted he did so. Now lies about it again. Back in 1986, Trump said under oath that the NFL offered him a franchise. This was, too, a lie. Donald Trump’s Trump University was a scam of the greatest degree. It’s truly jarring how he ruthlessly took money from people hoping for lessons of success, then offered garbage.

I can be here forever. I don’t want to be here forever. Again, I understand if you don’t like Hillary Clinton; if you loathe Hillary Clinton. But Donald Trump is not the answer. He is a fraud; a con; a person who will say anything to anyone. This is not the same as most politicians, who will say some things to some people. No, Trump will tell folks exactly what they want to hear in the name of being elected. If you disagree with him, he calls you stupid, or calls you a liar, or calls you corrupt, or mocks your looks. He has seen that blaming the media works with his followers, so he blames the media—even when they’re right. He does not answer charges—he bashes those making the charges. And folks lap it up.

He is the third-grade bully brought to adulthood, and he somehow has convinced many of you that bullying is OK. That America NEEDS a bully.

Well, we don’t. We need a president.

Not a con man.

  • Bear

    I can’t stand either candidate. Boy, we Americans are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I’m just sick of politics at this point. Anything mentioned, and people judge your intelligence if what you say adheres to one of the two main political parties. I’m ready for the election to be over with, but I do fear for the future, regardless of which one gets into office. A year ago, I thought it’d be hilarious if Trump actually won, but now that it’s feasible, it’s a huge “WTF” feeling.

    • Janet Bosley

      if Vietnam draft dodging Socialist Democrat trump wins he just may choose a Democrat and that democrat just may be a woman he supported and funded and has praised for her action in Benghazi , his cousin ,socialist democrat killary because daffy drumpf is drumb as a box of rocks and more than a few fries of a happy meal

  • Cordell Webb

    Thank you Jeff.

  • Paul Penta

    Trump as President scares the hell out of me. I think he would be embarrassing and dangerous. He’s too smart a guy to actually believe half the crap he’s saying. That scares me even more. It indicates a desire and amazing ability to coerce blind adherence to reactionary, jingoistic, dangerous passion. Inspiring people by appealing to their better angels is a noble effort. Trump’s hate filled poison does not meet that criterion.

    I know it is considered the worst breach of good taste and decency to make the following direct comparison. But I think it needs to be said so, here goes.

    I am uncomfortable with the inflammatory rhetoric (especially at his rallies with regard to protestors), the racial and religious hatred, the total disregard for facts, the failure to know where the boundaries of good sense and good taste are located and the violence surrounding his appearances. The most recent outbreaks necessitated the deployment of riot geared, helmeted and masked paramilitary police troops. And is it within the realm of possibility that a man who hired actors to attend his candidacy announcement would be above hiring provocateurs to provoke that violence? Is it beyond the pale to suggest a modern day Kristallnacht could occur in this trumped up caldron of hate and violence?

    I am frustrated by the effect he has had on his most rabid supporters who, when challenged on that support, resort to schoolyard retorts because they lack the capacity to provide considered and logical arguments to back themselves up.

    All of the above paints an alarming picture and one is reminded that Hitler did not seize power in Germany.

    He was elected.

    • disqus_qyz

      Wow. Excellent post. Thank you

    • Sherry Heath

      Great narrative! It is a sad day when both major parties offer up such poor choices for the POTUS.

      It will depend how many people we actually have who are either #NeverTrump or as I have declared; to never vote for Trump.

      And there is nothing Trump can do to make it right for Ted Cruz and his family; except leave the race in favor of Ted.

      That’s not going to happen so I hope we can make our voces known by voting for Ted. If we don’t, it will just get worse! We are a civilized country. We need to act like it.

  • Martijn Sjoorda

    “Bill Clinton received office blow jobs from a 23-year-old intern, then lied about it.” In the face and scope of the transgressions other Presidents committed: so what? He balanced the budget and the country was working when he turned it over to Bush. And like most sane people who have bumps in the road in their marriage but live outside of the limelight, they made it work again. Seeing the shitstorms they rode out, I can even understand she took a private Blackberry. Why the fuck not try to control the flow of information if you can? Stupid? Naive? Yes. Unofrgivable? Mwoah.

    • Janet Bosley

      bill Clinton and Obama force banks to give loans to people they both knew could not make payments ,but doing what they did got them votes . 70% of those people were illegals . No Clinton did not balance the budget nor leave a surplus even though Clinton raised taxes ,close Military Bases , with held raises and cut benefits on our Troops and many had to get food stamps to feed their family and Clinton gave China nuclear tech ,helped North Korea to keep their nuclear program , and Clinton sold our children out to Islam put our Troops in UN uniforms having no US Flag and put them under UN generals .. Clinton refused to take out Bin Laden time aftertime and Clinton robbed Social Security and then raised taxes on SS .. Clinton and Obama Housing bubble burst in 2008 causing the crash and President Bush ask barney and friends time after time to investigate Freddy& Fannie and they refused said everything was great and that President Bush and Republican just did not want poor fokes to own a home.. well most lost their homes.. and check out the area in Chicago where the community disorganizer was suppose to help the poor black fokes.I could name you other things bill clinton did against America ,but this is enough for you to chew on . Some fokes are to lazy to do a little research…

      • JoeRecruitNik

        Didn’t take long for crazy to show up to the party.

        “Some fokes are to lazy to do a little research…”

        Yep. We’re the lazy ones. We’re the stupid ones.

        English is a pretty language. Learn it.

      • JoeRecruitNik

        Seriously, you folks want to see some scary stuff…and the stuff the typical Trump supporter believes, check out this moron’s profile:

        https://disqus.com/by/disqus_wM3CwVDY5c/

  • BHill

    Pearlman is just mad that Trump will deport illegals, build a wall, and send Mexico the bill. And won’t be Israels bitch….

    • LiliVonShtupp

      If he does manage to get elected, you’ll be finding out what bait and switch truly means. Trump and his cult seem to forget the bulk of his ideas need congressional approval.

      • disqus_qyz

        Exactly.

    • reticle

      Obama deported more illegals than his predecessor. You knew this, right? Which is why you voted for him in 2012.. :)

      • JoeRecruitNik

        Sadly, these idiots don’t know that. They hear fear mongering and scare tactics the right uses…because they know their constituents are too busy watching The Apprentice to pay attention to what’s going on in the world.

  • LiliVonShtupp

    … and you forgot about his constant comments that smack of authoritarianism, incl. his threats at Jeff Bezos, etc.. It’s pretty hard to move past any of this when every day he delivers yet another two or three new statements that sound more insane than the last. Short of completely turning off all social media and news from now until November, I’m not sure I can make it with the daily onslaught of the Trump clown car. But press on. Thinking about the men and women who’ve given their lives for the cause of freedom yesterday — the least we can do is press on, keep telling the truth, and hopefully don’t have to suffer this fool much longer.

  • Robin Selzer Littman

    Your case is on point but you miss the point entirely – his followers don’t care about all this. They believe gentleman politics, intellectualism, and civility are old school. They see him and themselves as revolutionaries turning the system on its head. Isolationism and political incorrectness are their heart’s desire. They see him as giving the finger to the political establishment – what they wish they could do. They don’t believe a word of anything the critic’s say and choose only to believe the best about him. If he lied, cheated or screwed anything out if anybody then the victim was an idiot who deserved it.

  • confuciousness

    Nice article man. Perfectly puts together the case for his pathology. Nice ‘n’ concise. Trump’s one sick dude.

  • Daryl Stewart

    Richard Nixon obstructed justice in the Watergate affair, HE WAS NOT A FING CROOK !!! He never stole or used the government for personal enrichment like the Clintons. His major character flaw was being overly loyal to his friends, even when they screwed up he tried to protect them, and perhaps, he was a bit paranoid about the Kennedys.

    • Janet Bosley

      President Nixon spied on those spying on him . Clinton used NSA to spy on Republican leaders and many Republican voters ,I was ask if my name was on the list would I stop using freedom of speech .I said no .
      The list was sent me my name was not on it and I have still have that list somewhere filed away

      • JoeRecruitNik

        Nixon wasn’t a crook? Rich, man, rich.

        Clinton used NSA to spy on Republican leaders?

        Do your tin foil hats pick up the local stations in HD?

  • Jon Babb

    Compared to the idiot in the WH and the liar Hillary, I will hold my nose and vote for Trump, cannot stand to have another 4 years of the Democrats.

    • Shayna

      I guess you entirely missed the point.

    • Janet Bosley

      trump says he is a Liberal and identifies with democrats says the economy runs best under democrats. Rino trump boasts of being involved for forty years in politics and giving bribes and making deals with government leaders.. Trump supported ,funded and praised killary up until getting in the race and it was hillary’s hubby, bill who on the behalf of the Democrat Party contacted trump and ask him to get in the race.. trump is a democrat running on the Republican ticket to destroy the GOP .. and it was trump who supported the establishment and Cruz and Santorum who fought against them neither Cruz or Santorum could be bought ,trump can be bought and is bought by both the democrats and liberal republicans

    • JoeRecruitNik

      Funny…the liar Hillary…but you’ll vote for Trump, because he’s honest?

  • Louis J Asmo

    Sad but true I am still alive and living among people who are ultra thin skinned and who value words more than actions. Apparently personality and manner is all they can see in a person. Many people want socialism even though it has NEVER worked for any society ever. Then, as an alternative they are willing to vote for a woman who obviously has no respect for law and order and just says what everyone wants to hear. These same people are afraid of Donald Trump…a person who has navigated this life under capitalism and who has succeeded to extremes financially. Of the 3 candidates I am least afraid of Donald Trump simply because it is clear he would govern in the middle. He is not really a conservative and you can tell the Republicans aren’t happy with him. And while he is left on many ideas he seems quite firmly a centrist. And he seems capable of business decisions which seems to be the precise void in politics today. Politicians have put our finances in a huge hole and jeopardize our children’s future and someone needs to repair our financial situation. Of the 3 I am clearly in favor of allowing a businessman to take the helm and show politicians what business is about for a change. But, I have noticed that WE THE PEOPLE is a different group these days and my fear is that we can never solve our problems because people just don’t know how to judge candidates.
    I am at least proud that so many have supported Donald Trump and realize that politicians and Washington are the real problem that our country faces today…along with the media that no longer reports the news but tries to shape everything so they can make money!!!
    Trump understands our political failures and the faults of the media too!!!

  • jasbeagle

    If I were a liberal I’d be worried too.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

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