Donald Trump: A clear and present danger

LEE A. DANIELS | 6/13/2016, 11:23 a.m. | Updated on 6/20/2016, 11:40 a.m.
The danger that Donald Trump, practitioner of questionable business practices, inveterate bully, racist, sexist, demagogue and the Republican Party’s presumptive ...
Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His most recent book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America. He collaborated with Rachel Robinson on her 1998 book, Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait. NNPA

(George Curry Media) – The danger that Donald Trump, practitioner of questionable business practices, inveterate bully, racist, sexist, demagogue and the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president of the United States, presents to American society was never more evident than in how he behaved last week amid a flurry of negative news stories.

The result was more additions to the ever-expanding “enemies’ list” he’s promised his mob of supporters he’ll retaliate against once he gets to the Oval Office.

For example, there’s Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge presiding over the court case involving Trump’s ill-fated business, “Trump University.” The evidence and testimony in the case thus far strongly suggest the “school” wasn’t simply a mismanaged enterprise but, as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman put it, “just straight up fraud.”

So, because Curiel’s parents emigrated from Mexico decades ago (and became American citizens), Trump keeps referring to him as “Mexican,” though he was born in East Chicago, Indiana, took both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Indiana, and has forged a sterling legal career in the United States. Last week, Trump told his supporters at a rally that the federal court system “is a rigged system” and that “They ought to look into Judge Curiel because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace.”

Trump’s words reek of those Southern segregationists routinely used during the Jim Crow decades to denounce federal court decisions that were re-establishing the civil rights of Black Americans. But his threat to bend the judiciary to his will is unprecedented for a serious presidential candidate.

Also last week, after reporters began asking him pointed questions about the disbursement of donations he had collected last January and pledged to give to veterans’ groups, Trump began insulting individual reporters at the news conference he himself had called and bitterly threatening to curb press freedoms once he got to the Oval Office.

And finally, Trump last week excoriated the PGA Tour after its officials told him they were moving its World Golf Championship tournament from a Trump golf course in Miami to Mexico City next year. The reason: Trump’s “brand” is now so toxic officials couldn’t get the commercial advertising and corporate sponsorship deals they needed to make holding the event there profitable.

Trump, characteristically, cast the decision as a personal insult. “Can you believe it?” he later bellowed at a rally in Sacramento. “But that’s okay. Folks, it’s all going to be settled. You vote for Donald Trump as president. If I become your president, this stuff is all going to stop.”

Does this behavior meet the standards of “acting presidential?” Or, is it more an example of acting “dictatorial.” Or, really more like that of a crime syndicate boss?

Hillary Clinton, the Democrat’s presumptive nominee, had the proper, scathing assessment of Trump’s candidacy and character in a speech she gave last Thursday in San Diego that, effectively, marked the opening of her general election campaign against him.

“Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different – they are dangerously incoherent,” she said. “They’re not even really ideas – just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies. He is not just unprepared – he is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.” As if to help her make the point, Trump, while Clinton was speaking, sent a steady stream of tweets containing bizarre rants, outright lies and personal insults about her to his followers.