The Donald. What a migraine you have been for the Republican Party this election year! From loud mouth to bad mouth, from funny antics to acidic behavior, from rude to outrageous, Donald J. Trump has shocked us all. We never thought he’d get this far; oh, that he hadn’t! Yet here we stand, on the verge of Super Tuesday March 1, and the beginning of the two week critical stretch to the winner-take-all primaries on March 15. This is when we’ll find out if the GOP electorate really want a candidate like Trump as their nominee. This is when we’ll discover if the other four candidates (Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, and Carson) have what it takes to challenge the front runner (obviously Kasich and Carson don’t, and why they’re still running is a mystery to us all), and if they do not have what it takes, if they then have the humility to bow out to let a worthy challenger to Trump emerge. These are critical days and weeks.
Trump is an enigma. He’s also unpredictable. Just about when we think he’s stepped over the line for the last time, he comes up with some new outrageous buffoonery. Let’s face it: it’s getting difficult to keep track of Trump’s gaffes, offenses, lies, and imprudent behavior — let alone his record. Although this has only been happening since last summer when he declared his candidacy, there are too many to keep track of, and my mind keeps swimming with the novel ways he continually comes up with to affront the American people. So below I’ve begun to catalog them. I will include economic and policy issues, along with personal behavior and public discourse. Some of these go back years; others are more recent. I will open each section with some brief summary comments followed by links to news articles I’ve found valuable.
Trump’s Four Bankruptcies & Failed Businesses
Trump doesn’t disavow that his companies have gone into chapter 11 bankruptcy four times. Instead, he skillfully excuses himself as having “taken advantage” of the business laws in this country that allow a struggling company to declare bankruptcy in order to wipe out debts and reorganize. In part, this is a legitimate use of bankruptcy laws, depending upon the reason for a company’s demise. In addition, Trump insists that he personally has never been bankrupt; only companies associated with him have, and, if we were to believe him, companies he had distanced himself from before their collapse. The reality is different. The articles below explain that Trump involved himself in imprudent and risky management behavior that directly led to these companies failing. In addition, he has had numerous business ventures go belly up — Trump Steaks, anybody? Let me make this very clear: Donald Trump is not a successful businessman. He is a failed businessman who has worked the system to stay rich and pass his failures off on others. One can only image how fearful it would be to put the management of the entire nation and U.S. economy in the hands of one as reckless and irresponsible as Donald Trump.
- What Trump Didn’t Say About His Four Big Business Bankruptcies | WaPo | August 7, 2015
- Everything You Want to Know About Donald Trump’s Bankruptcies | CNN Money | Chris Isidore | August 31, 2015
- The Backstory on Donald Trump’s Four Bankruptcies | The Street | Emily Stewart | September 15, 2015
- Fact-Checking Claims About Donald Trump’s Four Bankruptcies | PolitiFact | Lauren Carroll, Clayton Youngman | September 21, 2015
- Trump, Lies, and Bankruptcy | NRO | Kevin D. Williamson | February 26, 2016
- Donald Trump’s Biggest Business Failures and Successes | Time | Jacob Koffler | August 7, 2015
- Donald Trump’s Record of Business Failures and Bluster | PJ Media | J. Christian Adams | February 16, 2016
- The Definite Roundup of Trump’s Scandals and Business Failures | NRO | Celina Durgin | March 15, 2016
Trump’s Net Worth
Trump is worth $10 billion. It’s a yuge amount guys, I mean YUGE! Or maybe he’s only worth $5 billion. Make that $200 million. Trump has vacillated on his net worth time and again. On the one hand, it doesn’t really seem to matter. But on the other hand, his boasting in how rich he is correlates to his boasting about his business success and his predictions on how he’ll make America “win” again (whatever that means). If it turns out that Trump is pitifully less wealthy than he says, not only will we know he hasn’t been nearly as successful as he claims, we’ll also know he was telling a straight-faced lie the whole time. Given this, Trump will probably never release his tax returns, because, you know, he’s been audited for the past 10 years by the IRS who is targeting him because he’s such a strong Christian. Right. So, how much exactly is he worth? Oh bother, who cares anyway, right? It’s yuge either way.
- Dear Mr. Trump: I’m Worth 10 Billion Too | Bloomberg | Timothy L. O’Brien | July 21, 2015
- What if Donald Trump Doesn’t Have Billions? | NRO | Jim Geraghty | February 25, 2016
- Why Donald Trump’s Tax Returns May Prove He’s Not That Rich | Fortune | Shawn Tully | March 2, 2016
“Trump University” (i.e., Trump Entrepreneur Institute) is the scam university that Trump ran between 2005 to 2011 that supposedly mentored would be entrepreneurs in real-estate investment strategies and techniques. He defrauded 5,000 persons of up to $35,000 each, earning $40 million off this fake enterprise. Trump is currently under investigation for fraud due to this, and the courts have ruled against him on a number of occasions. Trump is a con artist, a swindler, and thief, pure and simple.
- Did Donald Trump Run a Scam University? | NRO | Jullian Kay Melchior | July 16, 2015
- Yes, Trump University Was a Massive Scam | NRO | Ian Tuttle | February 26, 2016
- Court Rejects Trump’s Bid to Throw Out Trump University Case | Politico | Maggie Severns | March 2, 2016
Policy Positions & Flip-Flopping
In January of this year, National Review Online unleashed a ferocious and potentially politically lethal broadside against Trump (unfortunately, it didn’t derail the Trump train – yet). Over twenty well-known contributors from both conservative and libertarian branches of the Republican Party cobbled together their complaints against Trump. They highlighted that he has a long history of financially backing Democrats, that he’s supported abortion, given to Planned Parenthood, flip-flopped on immigration, supported Obama’s economic stimulus, auto and bank bailouts, been in favor of single-payer healthcare, and so forth. Basically, Trump isn’t a Reagan conservative; he’s the opposite. Not only that, but he switches is position on any policy issue, seemingly overnight. This behavior aligns with his populism, pragmatism, and political opportunism: he’s a wax nose candidate without any conviction or backbone, ready to be swept to and fro by the will of the masses.
- Conservatives Against Trump | NRO | Various Contributors | January 21, 2016
- Donald Trump: The Vacillator-in-Chief | Charisma | Michael Brown | February 26, 2016
- Iraq: The Real Story | NRO | Victor Davis Hanson | February 23, 2016
- Donald Trump: The Post-Truth Candidate | NRO | Ian Tuttle | March 4, 2016
Trade & Economics
Just about the only positive thing I can see in Trump’s policies is his tax plan. But as David Bahnsen explains in his Forbes article below, even that is susceptible to political obstruction. Trump’s position on free trade and tariffs is not only abhorrent, it is economically juvenile, a quality he shares with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It turns out that Trump is a mercantilist (as is Sanders), economically stuck in the late Middle Ages and 17-18th centuries. Geesh. You’d think a businessman living in the 21st century would know something about classical economics. Only if you are clueless about economic realities will you think that Trump’s domestic policies will make America great again. They won’t. They’ll send us back to the dark ages. (The economic criticism in these articles applies equally against Sanders and Hillary, so don’t think you’re off the hook Democrats).
- Trump Says That Trade Imbalance Between U.S. and China Tops $500B | Politifact | Anna Bruzgulis | November 10, 2015
- Almost Everything Donald Trump Says About Trade with China is Wrong | Federalist | Scott Lincicome | January 20, 2016
- Trump is a Mercantilist, and Mercantilism Will Weaken America | The Stream | Samuel Gregg | February 15, 2016
- How Trump and Sanders Plan to Raise Taxes on the Poor and Working Class | Acton PowerBlog | Joe Carter | February 22, 2016
- Why Protectionism Makes Americans Poorer | Acton PowerBlog | Joe Carter | February 23, 2016
- No Mr. Trump, You Can’t Fix the Deficit by Cutting ‘Fraud, Waste, and Abuse’ | Acton PowerBlog | Joe Carter | February 26, 2016
- If Trump Wins: How Markets May Feel the Morning After | Forbes | David Bahnsen | February 29, 2016
- On Trade, Donald Trump Breaks With 200 Years of Economic Orthodoxy | NYT | Binyamin Appelbaum | March 10, 2016
- Trump is Completely Wrong About the U.S. Trade Deficit | LATimes | Mark J. Perry | March 16, 2016
“Republican” Populist Platform
Make no mistake about it, Donald Trump is no Republican. Nor is he a conservative. Instead, he’s a political interloper, an opportunist using the Republican party to boost his image and further his own self interests. Given his history of financial largesse toward big wig Democrats and his support for liberal/progressive policies, Trump easily could have run as a Democrat. In addition, populist politics is dangerous to a nation, something our Founders warned against. The tragedy of Trump running as a Republican is that he slanders the party and all it stands for it, and it gives GOP opponents more than enough ammunition to demonize Republicans for being associated with such a pitiful character. GOP conservatives and libertarians alike need to reject Trump just as forcefully and vociferously as Democrats and Independents do.
In addition, Trump is the antithesis of the kind of executive leader our Founders envisioned for this country. He is a demagogue. He is proud and boastful. He has threatened to curtail free speech, to sue those who criticize him, and to use the Presidential Office to assert his will over any foe, domestic or foreign. He is more akin to the fascist leaders of 20th century Europe and Russia (Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin) as he portrays himself as a strong man who will wield the full power of the Presidency to assert his office over the other branches of the U.S. government. He rejects limited power, self control and restraint, and an imperial presidency. He would rule as a 21st century monarch in democratic guise.
- Why Donald Trump Didn’t Run as a Democrat | Real Clear Politics | Carl Cannon | July 21, 2015
- The Populism of Trump and Sanders is High Fantasy | NRO | Charles Krauthammer | February 11, 2016
- Alexander Hamilton’s Warning to Fans of Trump and Sanders: Populism Endangers Liberty | The Stream | Samuel Gregg | February 22, 2016
- Donaldo Trumpolini | Flash Report | Michael Brandon McClellan | March 1, 2016
- Our Government Was Designed to Protect Us From the Trumps of the World | NRO | Kevin D. Williamson | March 18, 2016
False Statements & Lies
Trump lies left and right. Now, ordinarily I don’t like accusing people of lying, since lying is different than telling a falsehood. 1 But Trump boldly and confidently tells lies like no one I’ve ever seen. This is actually part and parcel of his narcissism (see below). To compile every single lie he’s ever told would be impossible. I’ll just highlight some of the major ones below. Basic point: not only do we have rock-solid positive proof that Trump is a habitual liar, there is no reason for anyone to think that he cares about the truth at all. Honesty has long been an American virtue, and it is especially important for the office of the President. Do we want a dishonest, deceitful, lying man leading this country and representing America to the world? I’d hope not.
- All Pants on Fire! Statements Involving Donald Trump | PolitiFact
- Donald Trump’s 8 (Most Recent) Blatant Lies | Fiscal Times | Rob Garver | November 24, 2015
- An Incomplete Catalog of Donald Trump’s Never-Ending Fabrications | MotherJones | Kevin Drum | February 24, 2015
- Trump’s Yuuge Lies | NRO | Ian Tuttle | February 23, 2016
- Donald Trump Keeps Saying His Campaign is Self-Funded. But That Is Just Not True | IJReview | Michael Hausam | November 2015
- Is Donald Trump Self-Funding His Campaign? Sort Of | PolitiFact | Lauren Carroll | February 10, 2016
- Trump’s Week of Errors, Exaggerations, and Flat-Out Falsehoods | Politifact | Daniel Lippman, Darren Samuelson, and Isaac Arnsdorf | March 13, 2016
Indecencies & Outrageous Acts
We all know of Trump’s offenses at this point. He has repeatedly called people “stupid” and “losers,” mocked John McCain’s military service, called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” used eminent domain to dispossess private property, belittled women by calling them “pieces of ass,” mockingly made fun of the disabled, bragged about his extramarital affairs (he’s a philanderer), made sexually inappropriate comments toward his daughter (that she has a nice figure and he’d like to date her), insulted Carly Fiorina to her face, made degrading comments to Megyn Kelly and tried to get her fired from Fox, bullied and sued those those spoke out against him, threatened to commit war crimes against terrorists’ families, and most recently refused to condemn David Duke and the KKK. The list could go on and on. He has not been afraid to use profanity throughout his campaign. He is rude, crude, vulgar, and unkind. Truly if there was everyone someone unworthy of the office of the President of the United State, Donald Trump would be that person.
- 10 Groups Donald Trump Offended Since Launching His Campaign | CNN | Tal Kopan | November 29, 2015
- Donald Trump on Terrorists: ‘Take Out Their Families’ | CNN | Tom Lobianco | December 3, 2015
- Donald Trump: The 11 Most Offensive Things the Republican Candidate Has Said Since Announcing White House Run | Independent | Emma Henderson | December 9, 2015
- Nine Tales of Trump at His Finest | Weekly Standard | Matt Labash | February 1, 2016
- The Litigious – And Bullying – Mr. Trump | NRO | Ian Tuttle | February 19, 2016
- The Playboy Bully of the Western World | NRO | Ian Tuttle | February 22, 2016
- Dear Trump Fan, So You Want Someone To ‘Tell It Like It Is?’ OK, Here You Go | The Blaze | Matt Walsh | February 22, 2016
Narcissism & Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Trump is a narcissist, meaning he has an inflated view of himself. But beyond that, the real-estate mogul probably suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). What is NPD? As the Mayo Clinic describes, NPD is “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.” Symptoms include: being conceited, boastful, and pretentious; belittling and looking down on those you deem inferior; a sense of entitlement and outrage if you don’t receive preferential treatment; dominating conversations; insisting on everything being “the best”; and not being able to receive criticism — just to name a few. Sound familiar? Trump is textbook NPD material, and I guarantee you that electing someone like this to the most powerful position in the world would be extremely dangerous for us all.
- Does Donald Trump Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder? | Psychology Today | Randi Kreger | October 18, 2015
- Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In | Vanity Fair | Henry Alford | November 11, 2015
- Therapists Confirm Trump’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder | Psychology Today | Randi Kreger | November 13, 2015
- A Neuroscientist Explains: Trump Has a Mental Disorder That Makes Him a Dangerous World Leader | RawStory | Bobby Azarian | January 18, 2016
- Trump a ‘Textbook’ Narcissist with Mental Disorder That Could Make Him a Dangerous World Leader, Experts Say | ChristianToday | Hazel Torres | January 19, 2016
Christian Belief & Evangelical Support
Trump has at times claimed to be a Christian. If he is, he is one nominally, if even that. There’s nothing surprising about presidential candidates trotting out their supposed faith on the campaign trail, even if it hardly matches their actual religious beliefs and behavior. What’s really surprising though, is that self-described evangelical Christians are supporting Trump in droves. What gives? How can any Christian who claims to be a disciple of Christ support Trump, who is the antithesis of Jesus’ life and teachings? It turns out that these “evangelicals” don’t really go to church after all; and in fact, the more a person regularly attends church, the less likely they are to support Trump.
- Can We Judge the Christianity of Donald Trump? | The Stream | Michael Brown | February 20, 2016
- Why Evangelicals Are Born Again For Trump | Daily Beast | Ben Domenech | February 22, 2016
- Walls Aren’t the Problem With Donald Trump’s Faith | PJ Media | Tyler O’Neil | February 22, 2016
- What Kind of Evangelicals Are Backing Trump? | PJ Media | Tyler O’Neil | February 24, 2016
Understanding and Explaining Trump
I mentioned that Trump is an enigma. Who is this man? Where did he come from? And why in heavens are people actually voting for him? To understand Trump you must understand American history, culture, and the times we live in. As social scientist Charles Murray expertly explains in his book Coming Apart, American civic culture has become unraveled. Much of this is due to high divorce rates, fatherless families, unemployment, crime, poor education, declining religiosity, and the like. America is in danger of becoming an unvirtuous people, a people for whom democracy is not worthy. In such a dilapidated state, it is only a matter of time before our society clamors for despots like Trump, quasi-socialists like Sanders, and crooks like Hillary. In addition, much of Trump’s appeal comes from the bizarre and immoral policies pursued by the Left and imposed on us all: disregard for the Constitution and civil liberties, threats of wiping out our second amendment rights to gun ownership, continued support for abortion, redefining marriage, transgenderism, and the labeling of every white person a racist irregardless of the evidence. People are sick of this. They want Washington shook up and out of their lives, and they see in Trump someone who might be able to do it.
- Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. Charles Murray. If you don’t own the book or don’t have time to read it, consider watching some interviews: Uncommon Knowledge, Manhattan Institute.
- Unique “Front Porch Focus Group” Explores the Appeal of Trump’s Right-Wing Message with White Working-Class Voters | PDF | Working America | January 28, 2016
- Trumped Up? Is the Donald’s Support Really Driven by Racist Xenophobia? | MereOrthodoxy | Alastair Roberts | February 1, 2016
- Trump, Sanders, and the Politics of Envy | NRO | Ian Tuttle | February 10, 2016
- Dictatorship, American Style | NRO | Mario Loyola | February 11, 2016
- Trump’s America | WSJ | Charles Murray | February 12, 2016
- Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Have Risen from the Wreckage of a Broken Culture | NRO | David French | February 17, 2016
- The Young and Economically Clueless | WSJ | Daniel J. Arbess | February 19, 2016
- Why Evangelicals Are Born Again For Trump | Daily Beast | Ben Domenech | February 22, 2016
- Trump Voters Are Angry, But Why? | NRO | Oren Cass | February 23, 2016
- The Best Predictor of Trump Support Isn’t Income, Education, or Age. It’s Authoritarianism | Vox | Matthew MacWilliams | February 23, 2016
- Why Trump Persists | The Public Discourse | Carson Holloway | February 26, 2016
- Millions of Ordinary Americans Support Donald Trump. Here’s Why | The Guardian | Thomas Frank | March 7, 2016
- A Message From Trump’s America | US News | Michael Cooper | March 9, 2016
I’ve already written quite a bit, and really, I’ve only scratched the surface. Many people have written excellent articles outlining why they are against Trump, overlapping with much of what I’ve said here. More and more are coming out against The Donald everyday, which is encouraging. This is good because Trump is the sort that admires authoritarian tyrants, encourages violence, would stifle free speech, spurns the law, and would rule as a soft despot. These articles are well-worth the read, and you’ll find in them many things I haven’t addressed and links to other excellent resources.
- Why I Will Never Vote For Donald Trump | NYT | Peter Wehner | January 14, 2016
- I Will Not Vote for Donald Trump. Ever | The Resurgent | Erick Erickson | February 22, 2016
- With God As My Witness, I Will Never Vote For Donald Trump | Opinion | Rick Wilson | February 23, 2016
- 5 Reasons Every American Should Oppose Donald Trump | The Federalist | Paul David Miller | February 29, 2016
- Money quote #1: “The case against Trump, then, is that he is an autocrat in democrat’s clothing, a tyrant in the wings, a bully who admires the “strength” of tyrants and butchers, who finds a free press to be an inconvenience that he intends to tame with legal force once elected, a man who demonizes opponents and romanticizes violence, especially against minorities, who pines for the day when government could have its way with people without the trouble of constitutional law getting in the way.”
- Money quote #2: “Besides, even Hitler wasn’t “Hitler” when he was running for office in 1928 and 1932. He hadn’t yet brought down democracy in Europe, started the most catastrophic war in all history, and murdered millions. He was just a powerful orator who knew how to connect with everyday people—mainly by exploiting their fears and anxieties over economic dislocation, racial tension, and their belief that they just didn’t win anymore. He wanted to help make Germany great again, and Germans agreed. The rest is history.”
- Donald Trump: How To Fight Him | NRO |Victor Davis Hanson | March 1, 2016
- Why I Changed My Mind and Joined the #NeverTrump Movement | NRO | David French | March 2, 2016
- Ben Sasse Explains His #NeverTrump Stand Facebook Letter | NRO | Elaina Platt | March 3, 2016
- Open Letter on Donald Trump From GOP National Security Leaders | War on the Rocks | March 2, 2016
- No, Not Trump. Not Ever | NYT | David Brooks | March 18, 2016
- Sign the #NeverTrump Pledge
- Mitt Romney Statement on the State of the 2016 GOP Race and Critique of Donald Trump:
Final, Personal Statement
Finally, I want to personally go on record as saying that I will never support or vote for Donald J. Trump. Even if he wins the Republican nomination, I will not support him. In fact, although I would probably have to serve time in Purgatory for this, I might even vote for Hillary Clinton (if she’s the Democratic nominee) as a strategic move looking forward to 2020. God forbid it comes to that. But come what may, I will never vote for Trump, and I will continue to expose him for the fraudulent businessman, toxic celebrity-turned-politician, fascist demagogue that he is.
1 A false statement simply means that what one says is not true. Lying, however, requires that one intend to mislead by speaking what one believes to be a false statement. It’s quite possible to give a false statement unintentionally, or even when consciously trying to be truthful. In addition, it is actually possible to lie by telling the truth, if a person is intending to mislead but is himself misinformed about the facts and accidentally tells the truth while trying to deceive. It gets complicated, I know, but the point is that we shouldn’t be too hasty to accuse other people of lying, since ascertaining that someone has lied requires evidence about their intentions.
Ben is a graduate of Denver Seminary, having completed a double MA in New Testament Biblical Studies and Christian Apologetics and Ethics. He will be pursuing a PhD in Politics at the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College starting in fall 2019. He loves reading, drinking coffee, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. His academic interests include biblical languages and exegesis, theology, philosophy, politics, and economics.