In August 2015, The New York Daily News published an exclusive report on a 1991 letter that Donald Trump wrote to the chairman of the state Assembly’s Committee on Cities, complaining about disabled veterans vending their wares on Fifth Avenue, home of Trump Tower in Manhattan.
A New York state law dating from 1894 “allowed disabled veterans to work as sidewalk peddlers in New York City regardless of municipal rules,” as The New York Times wrote in 1991.
But Trump was not empathetic to these wounded warriors’ plight, at least not on Fifth Avenue. He saw them and their vending as an eyesore.
The Daily Beast published its own report on Trump’s efforts to get the veterans booted from this tony part of Manhattan, quoting Trump’s letter as reading:
“While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its taxpaying citizens and businesses?”
He continued, according to The Daily Beast, “Do we allow Fifth Avenue, one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?”
The Daily Beast said that Trump renewed his calls in a 2004 letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, writing, “Whether they are veterans or not, they 1 / 8the vendors 3 / 8 should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street.”
And in that letter, what did Trump call the situation with the injured veterans simply trying to make a living vending on his Fifth Avenue?
That’s right: “very deplorable.”
This should come as no surprise from a man who belittled the heroism of Sen. John McCain, himself a wounded warrior, or who attacked a Gold Star family whose son was killed in Iraq.
But it does point to the staggering, unabashed hypocrisy of the man and the degree to which his entire campaign is engaged in an elaborate ruse of deflection – accusing his opponent of the very things of which he is guilty.
So please spare me your faux outrage about Hillary Clinton’s accurate comments that many of the people supporting Trump are deplorable. Your emperor has no clothes.
That’s why it’s so outlandish to have Trump – a man who seems to have never apologized for anything! – demanding an apology from Hillary Clinton for calling his supporters “deplorable” when he has called the situation of a class of the most honorable Americans, those who put their bodies on the line for our freedoms, “deplorable.”
This is by no means confined to the “deplorable” issue.
Trump has called Clinton “a world-class liar,” but there is no bigger liar than Trump himself – just look at PolitiFact. The man is pathological.
Trump attacks Clinton for a lack of transparency, but this is the same man who has yet to release his tax returns, something every major party nominee in modern American politics has done. And he is telling a flat-out lie about why he can’t do it.
Trump calls Clinton “crooked,” but this is the same man who – along with his businesses – has been sued more than 1,300 times.
This is the same man who is at this moment the subject of three class-action lawsuits over the sham that was Trump University – two cases in California and one in New York.
Trump calls the Clinton Foundation the “most corrupt enterprise in political history,” but this is a man who donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
This is a man whose own foundation, the Trump Foundation, has recently been accused in news reports of breaking the law by being used essentially as a political slush fund.
In fact, the New York attorney general has opened an inquiry into the Trump Foundation and its operations following those news reports.
Trump clearly understands that in politics, it is far better to be on offense than defense, but his offense is ultimately offensive because he is pointing out a perceived – or even concocted – flaw in another person to distract from the very same flaw in himself.
You might call the strategy masterly if it were not also maleficent, if the future of the country were not on the line, and if this country’s standing in the world were not on the line.
It cannot be said often or loudly enough: Donald Trump is the worst kind of person who brings out the worst in other people. His sinister sleight of hand is that he attempts to make those who call out his nefariousness the purveyors of enmity.
I see straight through that smoke and those mirrors and right to the darkness at the center. It cannot run. It cannot disguise itself. This light will shine on it until it withers.