Every day brings new allegations against Donald, as his history of fraud, deceit, and abuse is exposed. Today alone: Allegations that he listened in on calls at his Mar-a-Lago resort; that Trump Institute plagiarized its materials; that he smirked when confronted about his own history of outsourcing.
Buzzfeed spoke to six former employees at Donald’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, who report that he “had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate.”
Donald’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, simply, “This is totally and completely untrue.” But the employees beg to differ.
They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones. Each of these four sources said they personally saw the telephone console, which some referred to as a switchboard, in Trump’s bedroom.
The picture of Donald lying in bed listening into private calls is bad enough on its own, but what Donald did is not just merely creepy and unethical; it may also have been illegal. “Florida state law generally makes it a crime to intercept or record phone calls without the consent of everyone in a conversation, but legal experts said that the law might not apply to employees using business phones at work.”
Of course, Donald’s reputation is not exactly one of a person who has an abundance of respect for the rules. Among his plethoric tweets – many of which, on another fraudulent note, appear to be “quoting tweets” made up out of thin air – you are unlikely to find any expressing enthusiasm for the idea that the rules apply to him, too.
Another case in point: The New York Times has uncovered what seem to be plagiarized materials distributed by the Trump Institute.
Not to be confused with the other giant educational scam known as Trump University, Trump Institute was a seminar outfit – ” run by a couple who had run afoul of regulators in dozens of states and had been dogged by accusations of deceptive business practices and fraud for decades” – to which Donald lent his name, brand, and presumed credibility.
Attendees of the seminars paid as much as $2,000 to attend sessions at which they’d have the opportunity to get access to Donald’s “wealth-creating secrets and strategies.”
But what they got instead were printed materials “based on a lie. The Trump Institute copyrighted its publication, each page emblazoned with ‘Billionaire’s Road Map to Success,’ and it distributed the materials to those who attended the seminars. Yet much of the handbook’s contents were lifted without attribution from an obscure how-to guide published by Success magazine in 1995 called ‘Real Estate Mastery System.'”
And if one imagines that Donald might feel bad about hoodwinking people, well, that seems pretty unlikely, too. Because, as noted by Greg Sargent, when Donald was, in 2012, confronted amiably by David Letterman about selling neckties made in China, Donald “responds with an extended smirk.”
Donald’s chief qualification for the presidency, by his own admission, is that he’s a wealthy guy who made lots and lots of money and knows how business works.
But the way he made that money is by scamming people. And his knowledge about “how business works” seems unusually centered on how to exploit business law to defraud and abuse people and avoid accountability for it.
He’s the very sort of business leader that is worst for both American workers and American consumers.
And the next time you hear him calling Hillary “crooked,” know without a doubt that it’s nothing but projection.
Hillary is one of the most ethical political leaders in America. Donald may be the crookedest of them all.
UPDATE: NBC News also reports that, despite Donald’s promise to forgive over $45 million worth of personal loans he made to his campaign, “the FEC has posted no record of Trump converting his loans to donations. The Trump Campaign has also declined requests to share the legal paperwork required to execute the transaction, though they suggest it has been submitted.”
As long as Donald withholds the paperwork, he is still able to use donations to pay himself back. Thus, GOP donors are squirming and want “assurances that money intended for the election would not end up in Trump’s own pockets.” They’re well aware who the crooked one in this race is.
How could they not be? Virtually every story about Donald I’ve read today is about how he’s essentially a high-level grifter.