As President Trump’s term ends, let’s talk just for a moment about one of the two things that drives him. No, not ego…that’s the other thing. This thing is money.
Trump is leading the grifter’s dream right now. Since mid-October he has raised nearly $500 million. Since he lost the election, he has raised more than $200 million of that for his “defense fund.”
But there is no defense going on.
His people are going around the country screaming “fixed election,” but so far they have gotten traction exactly … well, nowhere, including states run by Republicans who voted for him. Those folks, I doubt, were even thinking about rigging the election because they took oaths to follow the law.
President Trump swore an oath to the Constitution, too. That mattered not to him. For one, he lies. And, two, he has broken his oath of office repeatedly.
He said he’d donate his salary to charity and his office has, steadfastly, announced each quarter (except for this year, so far) his targeted fund. His targets, though, instead of charities have become departments in the federal government.
Now, there is a law that federal agencies can’t accept donations but Trump’s spokesman says that he has donated the money. I don’t know if that’s true because I can’t stop thinking about that charity foundation he had before he was President and the court ordering it to cease because the money was being used for personal purposes, not the no-tax reasons it stated publicly.
Then again maybe he is donating his salary to the government because he never met a law he couldn’t break.
That money he’s been raising since the election, if you read the small print, can be used by him for his future political endeavors or to fund his private lifestyle.
This is the grifter part.
His supporters literally are throwing money at the grifter-in-chief because they believe him when he says that the election was rigged against him. Apparently they forget that it is their family, friends and neighbors who count the votes and could, if it were true, reveal the dastardly deed. A couple of folks have testified but, if you’ve seen them on TV, their credibility is, at best, questionable. (Although that lady last week made for great Saturday Night Live fodder because the writers just had to use her actual testimony to be funny.)
Anyway, he could scream “fake news” about all this but he as admitted to Lesley Stahl of CBS before the election that he does that “to discredit you all (the media) and demean you so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”
And, that strategy has worked. A big portion of the country now shouts and threatens reporters attending events related (and some not) to him.
It’s true, though, that he lives out loud.
His “me-me” personality is showing very clearly right now — ostensibly he is raising money to contest an election that was handled fairly and properly, while thousands of Americans die every day because of the mismanagement of the coronavirus by his Administration. Even his lawyers in court don’t argue there was fraud because to do that would put their law licenses at risk because, well, the widespread fraud claim is just not true.
In Donald Trump’s mind, though, there’s never a bad time to grift.
After all, this is the biggest bully pulpit he will ever have. The presidency is the dream of any grifter — a big audience and lots of money to pilfer.
One thing he could have done was use that biggest pulpit in the world to ask for people to wear masks, wash their hands and stay socially distant to control the disease. He then honestly would have saved thousands of lives. Instead he used it to circulate one of his biggest lies — to play down (as he also admitted) the virus so as “not to cause a panic.”
It’s a tie for his biggest lie. He also is lying about the election being rigged against him. It wasn’t. He earned that defeat all on his own.
Through it all, though, he continues to grift.