The Donald Trump Phenomenon

I recall in the early 1990s coming out of New York City from a meeting and picking up one of the newspaper tabloids at the airport-the headline read: “Ivana a Better Deal!” It was describing a divorce controversy involving our current President. Apparently, his first offer to his first wife for divorce terms was not being accepted.

Donald Trump, at the time, was generally perceived in the New York press as being a self-promoter from Queens who sought the limelight and was becoming a factor in the big real estate deals in Manhattan. Some of his deals went sour, like paying too much for the Plaza Hotel on the corner of 59th St. and 5th Ave. Others worked out. The investment in Atlantic City casinos initially worked out but, eventually, some of them slid into bankruptcy or needed restructuring by the bankers who held the paper.

But there was a perceivable constancy in the way he built his business; the Trump name was always at the forefront. When interviewed by a biographer, Donald Trump recommended one major change to the book…that the name “Trump” be made larger on the title and book jacket.

During his campaign for the Presidency, this worked to his advantage. Some of his campaign rallies were at airports where the Trump airplane would pull into a hangar full of cheering supporters. When he flew his Trump airplane to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, it came in low over the City to essentially claim his primary victories as the Republican nominee for President.

Frankly, I never thought that a New York City real estate tycoon with no governmental experience could ever be nominated or elected to the Presidency of the United States.

My parochial, upstate political views were that unless you lived south of the Mason Dixon line or west of the Allegheny River that your chances of being elected President were nil. I was wrong. Though steeped in the politics and business world of New York City, people in rural areas from Texas, to Louisiana, to Alabama and Ohio voted for him to be the 46th President of the United States.

Admittedly, the Democrats underestimated his candidacy. The Democratic candidate had national and international visibility as a experienced professional in government, but politics often is more a “gut-instinct” and emotional business than it is rational or intellectual. Donald Trump connected with more people in the States needed to beat Hillary Clinton in the electoral college.

As we look today at the Trump Presidency it is interesting that its success or failure will probably go back to his business dealings. It is clear that Russian investors were involved with his business investments Those relationships led, to among other things, the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013 when Trump owned that business.

It is noteworthy that President Trump has never denied his business relationships with Russians. He has only alleged that there was “no collusion” with them in influencing the outcome of the 2016 elections.

Fortunately, we live in a country where the truth or falsehood of allegations can be determined through a system of justice and the courts. To what extent the President was aware of, knew of or supported Russian influence in the election is the issue at hand.

An independent prosecutor is looking into all of this, and we will eventually know what did or did not happen. That is as it should be in a nation which prides itself in the rule of law. It is a good thing that, in our country, an elected official is not the one assigned to investigating himself or herself when it comes to such matters.


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