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. 

Most Popular

Elections

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More
Culture

What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1139263782142787585 Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More
Politics & Policy

On Painting Air Force One

And so it has come to this. Two oil tankers were just attacked in the Gulf of Oman, presumably by Iran. The United States and China are facing off in a confrontation that is about far more than trade. The southern border remains anarchic and uncontrolled. And Congress is asking: “Can I get the icon in ... Read More
World

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and ... Read More