The Corner

Politics & Policy

Portrait of the Con Artist as an Old Man

Donald Trump is a man of low character. This may be useful to him in his capacity as pitch-man for the tackiest version of the American dream, but it is a hurdle for him as a presidential candidate, at least so far as the less ovine voters are concerned.

 Trump lies about basically everything. He lies with especial gusto about his wealth and business ventures. He likes to sneer that he is the only man on the Republican debate stage that has ever employed anybody. (That isn’t exactly true, but, never mind that for now.) There is no doubt that Trump employs people, that he has employed many people, etc. But how many people has he actually employed? On what terms?

 It is difficult to say, because Trump is an honorary Clinton: a habitual liar.

The most recent example is his boasting that he employs a large number of people at a Honolulu hotel he claims to own. But he does not employ anybody at that hotel, and does not own the hotel. Trump is lying. Trump has a famous name, and he rents it to various enterprises, much like Paris Hilton and her perfumes or George Foreman and his grills. The Hawaii hotel in question makes it very plain that it is not owned by Donald Trump: “Trump International Hotel & Tower Waikiki Beach Walk is not owned, developed or sold by Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization or any of their affiliates.”

One of the problems with being a man of low character is that even Trump’s virtues, such as they are, are transformed into vices. He is a clever marketing man, to be sure. The world needs clever marketing men. But a clever marketing man who is also a habitual liar who is running for president of these United States is a different proposition altogether.

Trump is running a con on Republican primary voters. Some of them are so full of spite that they are willing to be conned by a lowlife if that means annoying people they resent. That is a mark of low character, too. 

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