This page is a personal reflection, based partly on a personal anecdote. It’s based on my own quest to figure out if Donald Trump is “for real” in his presidential aspirations. There is no question that Trump is a fighter. He will fight for what he wants, and he will keep fighting until he gets it—or until it would be too costly to go on. And then, he just redefines what his goal was, so that he doesn’t have to admit defeat. We touched on this in other stories, such as the story on Trump’s trip to Mexico and Phoenix immigration speech.
The question is when Donald Trump uses the terms “we” and “they,” who does he mean, exactly? He will fight for himself, and for his family, no question. That’s probably why the GOP national convention ended up being, primarily, an exercise in family advancement. It’s probably not that Trump couldn’t find anyone else to speak. Instead, his goal was to showcase family members, give them public exposure, plus something to add to their resume.
All of us are “tribal.” We take care of ourselves, then our family, and then other groups of people, such as our church, or political organization. It’s clear that Trump’s loyalty does not extend very far for the Republican Party. In fact, he has trashed most Republicans, including the last two presidential nominees, plus the last Republican president. He also criticizes the leadership, such as Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. He even worked to defeat House Speaker Paul Ryan—until it was obviously a lost cause, and then, characteristically, Trump endorsed Ryan. Same for incumbents, John McCain and Kelly Ayotta—lukewarm in all cases.
No one seems to receive Donald Trump’s endorsement until after he receives theirs. He was critical of the entire Republican Establishment, including chairperson Reince Priebus—until Priebus surreptitiously began working for him, even before the primaries were over. Now, Priebus receives glowing praise.
Personally, I had a similar “friend,” locally. We were never boyfriend-girlfriend, despite associating socially (publicly) for more than a year. She goes through life looking for opportunities, and will grab any and all possibilities, as long as she thinks it will forward her finances and/or prestige. She works very hard at it, just as Trump does.
Also like Trump, this person also watches out for her immediate family. She works to give them anything they want, and they have absorbed her positive attitude, and ability to get what they want. Just like Trump’s family.
One reason I never allowed the relationship to grow was that I could not quite figure out whether I could ever become part of her “inner circle,” or whether I would be just another victim of her personal avarice. I guess that question was answered when she married a local politician and, frankly, sucked him dry. She has even dragged out the divorce for two years, so far, so that she can take advantage of the marriage (such as medical coverage), and avoid giving up what the court has already said she “must” give him.
Trump has exhibited a similar attitude. Obviously, he has said that bankruptcy is just a smart tool to use to avoid loss. When asked if he felt bad about what the banks lost, Trump said that he didn’t feel bad at all. He said the bank was stupid to take that big of a risk—betting on him. Clearly, banks are not part of his “inner circle.” Ironically, that doesn’t hurt his candidacy, because most of us hate banks, anyway.
What is surprising is that Trump’s supporters don’t seem to mind about the contractors, especially small contractors, who have lost, not only through the bankruptcies, but even in successful ventures. They see his empire. They know he has billions in wealth. What could go wrong? They have a contract. They submit a bill. Then Trump tells them what percentage of the bill he intends to pay. And they find that he will fight like a pit bull in legal matters, and he has very deep pockets. He’d rather pay a hundred thousand to lawyers, than pay the full ten thousand he owes. Contractors are not in his “inner circle.”
However, in addition to family, Trump’s employees are in his “inner circle.” There are plenty of stories of his generosity. And while he is a micromanager, he is also known to hand over responsibility to his underlings—saying he knows they can do it. In some cases, these people achieve much more than they thought they could, just by associating with Trump and his positive thinking. Also, he really has promoted women to high positions—because he knows they will make him a lot of money.
If you’re in the “inner circle,” you will do well with Trump. If you are an “outsider,” beware. And that is the big question of this campaign year. Some say Trump is not serious about being president—that he’s just in it for the fun of it, and for the free publicity, which he can then leverage for future financial gain. For example, some have said Trump will build a media empire after the election, which would take little of his time, but would build his stature, and could become a very lucrative venture.
But when Trump is on the stump, he looks at his supporters and convinces them that they will be in his “inner circle.” He tells them that their concerns are his concerns, and he promises that he will fix all their problems. And the thing is, with Trump’s single-minded drive, he has achieved most of the things he has set out to do. There are no “failures,” there are only “setbacks,” and he immediately begins work on the next goal.
Yes, Trump has hurt some people. But maybe he’s like General Anastasio Somoza Garcia, dictator of Nicaragua in the 1930s and 40s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) supposedly remarked in 1939 that “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” The idea is that if someone is helping you, it doesn’t matter what he does to anyone else. In fact, maybe he’ll harm your opponents in the process.
We’ve never had a presidential candidate like Donald Trump. If the United States were part of his “inner circle,” he could become the best president we ever had. He’d make competitors shake, because they have no idea what he might do next. Allies—if they pay their share—would know they’d be in his “inner circle” and benefit along with us.
And that’s what this election comes down to. Do you really believe you’re in his “inner circle?”