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The Truth About Trump–When Lies Are Acceptable In The World Of Trumpisms

August 5th, 2016 · 55 Comments · Analysis and Comment, National Politics, State Politics

Trump Pinocchio

Folks, I’m a tremendous truth-teller. Just tremendous.

In the spring of 1995, shortly after city voters overwhelmingly supported proposition of a casino complex in a non-binding referendum to influence state legislators opposed to gaming expansion, Mayor Joe Ganim was lamenting Donald Trump’s flip-flop promising financial support of the referendum for a gaming bill that was eventually rejected by the State Senate. Pondering Trump’s double-cross one day, Ganim asserted to me “I’m pissed Trump lied to me.”

“He lied to me too,” I responded to Ganim.

“He can lie to you all he wants,” Joe returned. “He’s paying you.”

It had not occurred to me that it was okay to lie simply because someone was paying you, but entrepreneurs, politicians, people of all shapes, sizes and colors can rationalize anything if it suits their level of capitalistic narcissism.

At the time I was a consultant to Trump who had hired me to serve as his eyes and ears and media spokesperson in Connecticut during the hotly debated expansion of casino gaming in Connecticut’s largest city. When Trump hired me in December of 1994–I worked for him for about four years–he was clear about what he wanted: if expanded gaming passes I want it, if I can’t have it I want to kill it.

The state’s gaming compact with two tribal nations–25 percent of the slot take in exchange for a gaming monopoly–was impenetrable without finding a way to make them financially whole or making them a partner. Trump had purchased the abandoned 5-acre Jenkins Valve location (now the site of the ballpark at Harbor Yard) as a prospective site for a gaming facility. Trump had to be in play because he feared gaming expansion to a Fairfield County community such as Bridgeport would cannibalize his Atlantic City gaming interests.

Las Vegas gaming entrepreneur Steve Wynn and the Mashantucket Pequots, operators of Foxwoods, had a leg up on Trump, spending millions lobbying the state legislature for gaming expansion. Lower Fairfield County legislators opposed expanded gaming citing traffic issues, gambling addiction and attraction of criminal element.

For supporters of gaming it meant jobs, entertainment and tax dollars to an economically struggling city. Trump had floated an economic patriot missile of his own to intercept gaming expansion–a massive non-gaming waterfront development in Bridgeport. It gained no traction.

The non-binding referendum was a means to persuade reluctant legislators the tired factory town wanted it.

Wynn promised to invest a small fortune to help passage of the referendum. Ganim, businesses community and other interests had urged Trump to support it financially.

Trump can be dismissive of an opinion, but he’s not dismissive about asking for one.

He asked me what I thought about his financial participation. I told him the referendum was going to pass overwhelmingly with or without his financial infusion. If he wanted to build goodwill in case gaming expansion passed or desired to do a non-gaming development in the city, it was better to participate as a measure of insurance. $25K to Trump is a blow of the nose. But it was a tricky balancing act for Trump, how to keep himself in play for gaming even though he wanted to kill it for fear it would be awarded to a competitor. So Trump agreed to pony up $25,000 to the effort which was seen as respectable participation by local interests.

Trump had unleashed his representatives and local lawyers to inform he would play.

As the March referendum approached, no check. I checked on the check. “It’s coming.”

Days before the referendum, no check. One day at a rally to mobilize voter turnout for the referendum, attorney John Stafstrom whose law firm Pullman & Comley represented Steve Wynn, mischievously reached into my jacket pocket. “I’m checking for a check from Trump.”

Ganim asked me, “Where’s your guy’s check?”

So did many others.

So I checked with my client again who had promised the check.

“I’m getting pressure from Atlantic City not to be involved,” he said.

“So we’re not going to play?”

“Fuck the damn check. And by the way I don’t want you doing a damn thing to help that referendum?”

“Whether I help or not, it’s going to pass overwhelmingly.”

“Good, so don’t do anything. You’re going to have a bad couple of days up there so suck it up.”

So on the day of the referendum basically I had my nose pressed up against the window delivering the news, after promising a check, that it would not arrive. I had hoped Trump would cough it up to cover some referendum clean-up costs. Nope.

Although the referendum passed with more than 80 percent support, the odds of legislative passage were still long, according to Trump lobbyists and lawyers in Hartford. The morning after I spoke to Trump by phone.

“Is everyone mad at me?”

“They feel lied to.”

“They’ll get over it. Come up with something to give me cover.”

“Okay, let’s issue a statement that you’re sensitive to the growing perception of casino entities trying to buy elections. Let the people decide without special interests sticking their noses in it.”

“I think I’ve been paying you too much money but I like the sound of that. Let’s go with it.”

And we did. Did anyone buy it? Of course not.

But a guy like Trump believes he can negotiate his way out of anything. Just pivot to something else unapologetically.

Representing Trump, be it for a gaming issue or for a political campaign, is like riding a bronco, every day’s a ticket to the rodeo. He’s not a lunatic inside the four walls of discussion. He gets in trouble when the lights are on him and the cameras roll and he morphs into a sort of alien life form, freelancing things uncontrollably beyond message. That’s when his campaign consultants reach for the whiskey bottle and revolver.

“You’re gonna stay on message, right?”

“Sure.”

Eeeeeeeeee! After all, he’s paying them, right?

And it’s why Trump is about 10 points down in the latest presidential polls, unable to grow his base beyond the narrow band of Trumpers not wide enough for a general election victory. He cannot get out of his own way.

Right now the electoral map does not add up for Trump against Hillary Clinton whose level of trustworthiness is marginally better than Trumps. A majority of voters in the latest polls believe she has a stronger temperament for the job. Most female voters are gagging at the thought of him being president. But he still hasn’t completely imploded in the minds of some voters. Just imagine if Trump could yogi himself to act like an adult for one week. My god the polls just might shift. Anyone betting this is gonna happen?

(Footnote: The Trump-owned Jenkins Valve property became the site of the ballpark in 1998. Trump refused to pay taxes on the property and he deeded the property over to the city in exchange for tax forgiveness. A ballpark was built.)

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55 Comments so far ↓

  • flubadub

    In my humble opinion, as important as the presidential election is, the local elections we face next week and November have a greater impact on our lives than the national election.

    • Frank Underwood

      This is a blog. This is not only relevant, but a real-life testament to someone who stays true to being an unapologetic, pseudo-politician. Great read, Lennie.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Great read indeed Lennie, but a little too late. flubadub, you’re right on target. State and local political matters are the ones the voters must pay close attention to. It’s like driving, pay attention to vehicles and obstacles close to you and areas you’re approaching. Why worry of or look ten miles down the road?

      Back to Lennie’s late warning: “He can lie to you all he wants,” Joe returned. “He’s paying you.” I personally don’t feel Joe Ganim lied to me. I asked for nothing in return for my support. I believed, and still do, at some point Joe would step back and think deeply of the people he would surround himself with and take advice from or at least listen to and in doing so, he’d see my worth and that of others. He must ask himself who has demonstrated they truly have the best interest of the city and its future at heart. I know he didn’t do that earlier and the fact they took three days to regroup at UB has reinforced my conclusion in part. Many people paid and are paying Joe Ganim. How many of them has he lied to or how many feel that way? How many lied to Joe Ganim or didn’t come clean at least? Danny Pizarro can’t possibly be the only one. If anyone has any doubt that many have or will lie or conceal something to get a job, I suggest you research the people who applied for and passed the Bridgeport Police Officer exams and what happened to many of them when confirmation and probing took place.

  • Mojo

    *** NOT IF TRUMP BECOMES THE NEXT COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! YOU CAN’T GET ANY GREATER IMPACT ON PEOPLE’S LIVES ALL OVER THE WORLD THAN THAT! *** GOD HELP US. ***

  • Mojo

    *** THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STARTED OUT WITH 16 CANDIDATES, ALL RUNNING FOR THE REPUBLICAN DOMINATION OF THE PARTY TO RUN AGAINST THE DNC CANDIDATE OF CHOICE FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. BECAUSE AMERICAN VOTERS IN GENERAL ARE TIRED OF THE SAME OLD STATUS QUO AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS OF LIES, MANY ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT AMERICA HAS BEEN USED TO. ADD THE FACT THAT MANY WHITES FEEL THE OBAMA ADMIN. HAS LET AMERICA DOWN AND FRANKLY WANT A NEW WHITE PRESIDENT IN THE WHITE HOUSE, BRINGS ABOUT SOME OF THE REASONS CANDIDATES LIKE BERNIE AND TRUMP DID SO WELL. HOWEVER, NEVER IN HISTORY HAS TRUMP, A GOP CANDIDATE WHO ACTS MORE LIKE AN INDEPENDENT BEEN SO ANTI-PARTY, THIN-SKINNED, SELF-CENTERED, RACIST AND JUST CRUEL WITH HIS REMARKS IN GENERAL THROUGHOUT THIS ELECTION. HOW CAN ANY SANE THINKING PERSON IN THEIR RIGHT MIND EVEN THINK OF VOTING FOR THIS TICKING TIME BOMB FOR COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE USA? *** WHOOP ***

    • Ron Mackey

      Mojo, tell us how you really feel about “The Donald.” Mojo, know what is almost as bad? It’s other Republicans not standing up and saying no Donald, our Party is better than that.

      • Frank Underwood

        Dubya is on record not supporting Trump, and the rest of the Bush family. Koch bros aren’t with him. Most of the GOP got behind Kasich in the primary and are either begrudgingly voting for Hillary or begrudgingly for Trump.

        • Mojo

          *** A begrudging vote for Trump is still voting for the Con Man, No? *** And ask yourself, how in the world could a person like Trump beat out all the other 15 GOP candidates to win the nomination and what does that say about the state of the Republican Party altogether in America? They’ll say and do anything to get back in the White House again, looks like. ***

  • Zena Lu

    People are always telling you whom they are. By what they say and don’t say; by what they do and don’t do. Read it. It’s there for those who are looking and listening.

  • Jeff Kohut

    There is a nationwide drought of appropriate, capable, properly motivated candidates at all levels of government. But never have the upper echelons of political office in the US been so bereft of new or otherwise viable political blood.

    Donald Trump?! OIB readers have a unique, reliable close-up of a potential Corrupter-Liar-in-Chief who came to Bridgeport, a desperate city, and like Beelzebub, plied the young, impressionable leadership that was trying to create some positive momentum for the city in a negative, corrupt direction. Our city, besieged by crime and the negative effects of vice and substance abuse, was courted for more of the same by an arrogant, greedy billionaire who was willing to ply our young leadership with drugs, sex and money knowing what the effects of these temptations could have on the young leadership involved, as well as what the effects of a corrupted leadership could have on the struggling city.

    What American would really want such a sleazy emissary of the “dark side” serving in the White House?!

    And then there’s Hillary. She’s left some tracks leading to the “dark side,” but she’s slicker and less arrogant than Trump (she’d make a great gangster) and has covered most of her tracks, albeit not all of the sleaze that was dragged along in her ambition/greed-fulfilling travels. But if she can’t be assigned a sleaze position on the same level as Trump, her record in politics should be enough to scare thinking voters in another direction.

    So what do Americans do in this presidential election? Not vote? Vote the candidate who might be somewhat less sleazy or somewhat less dangerous than the other?

    These are not choices for patriots in a democracy.

    It would seem after this election, the checks and balances provided for the protection of the Republic by the Constitution will be severely put to the test in providing a buffer against a Trump or Hillary Administration.

    It would seem on Election Day, patriots should vote for a third-party candidate who has a true peace and freedom platform. There are two such candidates at this point, Jill Stein (Green Party) and Gary Johnson (Libertarian). Jill Stein is quite liberal, while Gary Johnson is fairly conservative, but both platforms can be described in terms of “peace and freedom.”

    By voting for a third-party candidate, the power of numbers can be subtracted from either a Hillary or Trump political machine and its power, momentum, and longevity, and the potential damage thereof can be limited to one ineffective term, which will allow the body politic of the US to regroup as more suitable candidates rise to the top of our stew of presidential candidates between now and 2020.

    I’ll be voting for Jill Stein in November. She’s a medical doctor/scientist and has a much better grasp of America’s social and environmental issues than the other candidates, and from that perspective will be much more likely to adopt foreign and domestic security and economic policies that seek to create prosperity, stability, and peace. Gary Johnson. Well, he’s safer than Hillary or Trump.

    But seriously. Only the Constitution can protect us from a Hillary or Trump regime, and we don’t want their election-day numbers to reflect popular support or strength for these dangerous candidates, so we want whichever one is elected to be an effectively marginalized lame duck whose potential harm to the Republic is limited in scope and time (to four years, barring earlier resignation or impeachment).

    Do you duty and vote on election day, but do it with a clear head and an eye to the future. Vote third party. Limit the damage.

  • BOE SPY

    You are all okay with the way Hillary won the nomination? Shoot down Bernie for being a Jew. Good plan. Not Hitler-esque at all. If we play tit for tat we could go on endlessly. There are plenty of reasons to hate both.

    We could always vote the issues. God forbid.
    Trump:
    plans on bringing back industry from China.
    Strengthen the borders.
    Address the illegal immigration problem.

    Hillary:
    Path to citizenship.

    It is too bad Bernie did not run third party but he currently has his lips planted firmly on Hillary’s butt.

  • Bob Walsh

    Trump has ideas.
    Trump has thoughts.
    Trump has pie in the sky.
    The one thing Trump does not have is a plan. He has yet to share a realistic one about anything. Just a lot of hate and hot air.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Joe Ganim2 has ideas, he must have them along with priorities, but what are they?
      Joe Ganim2 has thoughts, keep me away from JML and David Walker with their questions and observations. It’s easier walking dogs at the Animal Shelter or being present with Police officers for sure.
      Joe Ganim2 was tossed pie in the face by the outgoing Finch administration in so many ways. As he has uncovered them he has kept quiet about them. Why is that? OPED funds missing? Port Authority, two members vacant, with no budget numbers available for eight years already, and no legal counsel of their own? What of the land value they supervise? What about the decisions they made when held captive by Finch, Nunn, Sherwood and the City Attorney’s office? Will they stand the light of day? Time will tell.

    • BOE SPY

      His plan is relatively simple. Give companies a 30% tax break for bringing factories back to the US. The 30% will be recovered from the income tax of the people working at these new factory jobs.

      What are Hillary’s plans, thoughts or ideas?

  • Gary Tobin

    Good read, Lennie. I’m still voting for Trump. There is nothing Hillary or any spin masters could do to erase, change or spin Hillary’s career in politics, from Little Rock AR to the present day. Her past is our future (God help us) and then add President Obama’s eight-year track to it for four more years, no thank you.

    But don’t you want to be part of making history and voting for the first “Female” President? That question could change daily depending on if Hillary is self-identifying herself as a man or woman. I will be making history by voting against the first female (born) president.

  • Bob Walsh

    God save the USA if Donald Trump becomes president. Hate and hot air; that is the essence of his campaign.

  • Ron Mackey

    Where is the outrage of those who are Republicans and especially the leadership of the city, state and national Republican Party who won’t speak out against Trump? What happened to that big open tent? You are pushing people away; you will soon be a southern all-white Party.

    • BOE SPY

      Many Republicans have spoken out against Trump. He is an outsider. The RNC made the mistake of letting the voters choose the Republican candidate.

      The DNC chose their candidate for you. Between the super delegates and the DNC’s plot against Bernie, Bernie never had a chance. That primary only gave the appearance of democracy. The winner was chosen long before a single vote was cast.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I DON’T WANT ANOTHER FOUR YEARS OF BILL CLINTON.

    • The Phantom

      Nice Job, Andy. How can anyone vote for a hypocrite who claims she stands for women’s rights, yet takes millions from Middle East countries that suppress women and have shariah law? She’s criticized every (and there are lots) of women Bill slept with or accused him of rape. Yet she’s for women’s rights? Yeah, right! Emails, Benghazi and so on. The lying and insulting our collective intelligence is way too much. I’ll vote for the narcissistic, bombastic rich guy who says what he feels and doesn’t pander to the political correctness police crowd and take my chances he’ll surrounds himself with smart people. He wouldn’t be my first, second, third, even fifteenth choice for president, but he’s better than the alternative. Go Trump.

  • Sunshine96

    Nice article, Len! Must say, I’m not sure if I even want to vote for a president this year. The only choices are worse and horrible. Anyone know if there’s an Independent candidate?

  • Frank Gyure

    I like history. I just did a quick review of all major Presidential candidates in U.S. history. Trump is, by far, the worst. In my own personal opinion, he also has personality disorders. In the CT Primary I am voting for Marilyn Moore and then in the general election. Steve Stafstrom for State Rep. AND Hillary Clinton for President.

  • Mojo

    *** The lesser of two evils would be Hillary, however voting for Trump would be voting for the “ANTICHRIST” who is beholden to no party, religion or anybody; only himself and that thought should scare the world! ***

  • Ron Mackey

    I rather deal with the devil that I know than the devil that I don’t know.

  • Donald Day

    Donald Trump’s candidacy is defined by racism and hate and those who align themselves to his rhetoric speaks volumes to how far America hasn’t come. What happens to a people when they stop believing, stop hoping, stop trusting a concerted effort toward improvement will bear fruit? We will find out with Donald Trump as president.

    • Gary Tobin

      Mr. Day, what did Mr. Trump say or do that leads you to believe he is racist or he doesn’t believe or doesn’t have hope for the United States?

      • Lisa Parziale

        OMG Gary, are you insinuating you haven’t discerned that? I don’t bother to listen or watch him because it disturbs me to think our Country has come to this point where a “mad man” is running for President. Hitler reincarnated.

        • Gary Tobin

          discern/assume. Horoscopes are read and listened to the same way. Hitler? Do you know the first steps Hitler and his regime took to control the people? He started with the trainable and the people who needed help. Start there and then see the similarities to where the USA is heading. Because a politician doesn’t pander for votes or single out a specific group doesn’t make him or her racist or a Hitler.

  • Ron Mackey

    Gary Tobin, if you don’t know why there are people who think Trump is a racist, well there is no need to tell you.

  • Donald Day

    Trump Management Corporation, in 1973, the Justice Department sued the company for alleged racial discrimination against black people looking to rent apartments in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
    The New Jersey Casino Control Commission fined the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino $200,000 in 1992 because managers would remove African American card dealers at the request of a certain big-spending gambler.
    Three times in a row on Feb. 28, Trump sidestepped opportunities to renounce white nationalist and former KKK leader David Duke, who told his radio audience last week that voting for any candidate other than Trump is “really treason to your heritage.”
    His characterization of Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists?
    Trump called for a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country.
    In 1993, when Trump wanted to open a casino in Bridgeport that would compete with one owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, he told the House subcommittee on Native American Affairs that “they don’t look like Indians to me … They don’t look like Indians to Indians. Trump then elaborated on those remarks, which were unearthed last year in the Hartford Courant, by saying the mafia had infiltrated Indian casinos. These are but a few examples to illustrate my point.

    Any other questions Gary, or can you now understand why I came to my conclusion?

    • BOE SPY

      And Hillary torched Bernie for being a Jew. The leader of the DNC referred to Hispanics as ‘taco bowl voters’ in e-mails to Hillary.

      Not denouncing someone does not mean you agree with them. Perhaps he just chose not to comment. Hillary was endorsed by former Ku Klux Klan member Robert Byrd and kissed him for endorsing her.

    • Gary Tobin

      Mr. Day. The points you claim are not very sharp. Do you think your opinion or assumptions are based on Trump not coddling specific groups? Do you think the whole of America deserves equal rights and equal treatment or should some get special treatment?

      • Donald Day

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Yes Gary, that’s what I’m saying.

        • Gary Tobin

          and further–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

          Do you think our government, Fed, State and Local, are on the right course for the people in pursuit of liberties and happiness?

          In your opinion, are we all treated equal? If not, give a couple examples.

  • Tom White

    Apparently, only Republicans can be racists, or whoever Day and Mackey declare.

    • Ron Mackey

      Tom, in 2016 it’s the Republicans’ turn but you don’t see anything wrong as usual.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Tom, you know better than that! I would never assign that distinction to Republicans alone. It’s rampant, look around. It’s still here, no exceptions.

      • Ron Mackey

        Lisa, thanks. T knows better but his dislike for me causes him to make those kinds of statements. The KKK came to being with Democrats in power but once LBJ signed a series of Civil Rights laws then things changed real fast. The south was all Democrats but with now being given their right to vote they turned their back on LBJ and the Democrats and they became Republicans and with that the KKK found a partner and protection from the Republicans because both groups didn’t want blacks to have any power. Nothing has changed, recent polls show Trump getting just one percent of the black vote. 1%.

  • Donald Day

    When’s the next Klan meeting, people?

    • Gary Tobin

      Probably scheduled the same time as the rest of the hate groups fighting for race supremacy.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Right after the Panther meeting.

    • BOE SPY

      Trump has been condemned as a racist because Hillary says so. Then people list circumstantial evidence to support the claim. Utter foolishness. We get bogged down in nonsense and completely ignore the issues.

      Hillary accepted an endorsement from a KKK member, Robert Byrd, and hugged the guy. Literally embracing the Klan. Trump got an unsolicited endorsement for David Duke. Let us think about that. I am sure Duke realizes his endorsement is not a positive thing. If you were Duke, would you endorse the person you wanted to win or the person you wanted to lose? Just think it through. Duke endorses the person he is paid to endorse. So who do you think paid Duke to endorse Trump?

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