An editorial posted last night by the Gannett-owned Des Moines Register got down to business right away. “It’s time for Donald Trump to drop out of the race for president of the United States,” read its first line.
The editorial called Trump out for his self-serving, self-promoting campaign.
He has become “the distraction with traction” — a feckless blowhard who can generate headlines, name recognition and polling numbers not by provoking thought, but by provoking outrage.
In just five weeks, he has polluted the political waters to such an extent that serious candidates who actually have the credentials to serve as president can’t get their message across to voters. In fact, some of them can’t even win a spot in one of the upcoming debates, since those slots are reserved for candidates leading in the polls.
The editorial also went after Trump’s comments against Sen. John McCain Saturday, when Trump said of the Vietnam vet and POW, “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
“If Trump, our would-be commander in chief, doesn’t like POWs,” stated the editorial, “how does he feel about men and women killed in action?”
Despite Trump’s references to himself as a self-made man, he is the son of a (surprise!) real-estate mogul, and his unapologetic, large-living tendencies in his youth and penchant for self-promotion give us a historic record of exactly what Trump was doing as McCain endured years of pain in a cell in Vietnam.
From The Washington Post:
The prisoner of war survived on watery pumpkin soup and scraps of bread. He saw several fellow prisoners beaten to death, yet McCain refused to sign the confession that would have granted him a speedy release (and a publicity coup to the North Vietnamese).
Trump was living large — maybe not by today’s Trump standards but larger than most Americans. He ate in New York City’s finest restaurants, rode in his father’s limousines and began hitting the clubs with beautiful women.
The Village Voice, for its part, drew on its own 1979 series by investigative reporter Wayne Barrett to look back at just how the Barrett-described “state capitalist” made his wealth.
“I made it the old-fashioned way,” Trump said of his fortune. But Barrett’s reporting paints a picture of Trump’s background that’s somewhat at odds with the one he paints for himself today. Far from that of a self-made millionaire (or billionaire, as he insists), the image of Trump that begins to emerge looks more like the scion of a wealthy family who got ahead, in large part, thanks to family connections. Far from an independent capitalist, Trump is described as a developer who relied heavily on government largesse.
And, as an enduring lesson about being wary of those who publicly claim outsider status:
“This is a guy whose wealth has been created by political connections,” Barrett says today. And at the time the story was published, even Trump’s political connections came secondhand, through his father. The idea that he’s a business-world antidote to the world of political entanglement, as he often implies, is “ludicrous,” as Barrett puts it.
Meanwhile, Trump leads the Republican pack in the latest poll.