The Case Against Donald Trump
From fraud, to failure to pay workers, to child rape. Trump is due in court, not the White House.
The election is now less than a week away. As it draws ever-nearer, what is at stake in America – and the world – cannot be over-emphasized.
I’ve begun this column several times and discarded each version. I first laid out the timeline since Friday, Oct. 28: FBI Director James Comey delivered his October surprise in the form of a vaguely-worded letter to the Republicans in Congress, copied to the Democrats, that he might or might not have some emails from Hillary Clinton that needed addressing. These emails were on the computer of Clinton aide Huma Abedin and had allegedly been discovered when investigating in an entirely separate case, the allegedly sexting of underage girls by Abedin’s estranged husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner. In a subsequent letter to his own staff, Comey revealed a little more. He hadn’t actually seen these emails. Comey didn’t have any idea if they were duplicates of emails already examined and discarded in his previous investigation of Clinton’s email server while Congress was investigating the Benghazi embassy attack.
Over the next few days it was revealed that Comey has held back information about Donald Trump’s involvement with Russia. This is key as Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, also worked for Vladimir Putin, the Russia proto-dictator Trump regularly lauds. A series of articles by top investigative journalists like Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald proved disturbing. Commentary by Dr. Sarah Kendzior, an expert in authoritarian regimes and a columnist for several international publications, underscored the worrying biases inherent in Comey’s laser focus on Clinton to the exclusion of Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sent a scathing letter to Comey demanding to know why he was interfering in the election and why he had not released the information about Trump and the Russians.
Oct. 30, Comey revives a dormant Twitter account, @FBIRecordsVault, to release FBI files on Trump’s father, Fred, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation.
I am eager to hear Comey explain why documents praising Fred Trump and attacking Clintons were released by @FBI 7 days before election.— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) November 1, 2016
The files on the Clintons are full of redactions, leading to yet more innuendo. The file on Fred Trump lauds him as a philanthropist. Fred Trump was actually a member of the KKK who was investigated by the Department of Justice several times, including once with his son Donald, for racial bias in housing rentals.
Nov. 1, Trump began telling early voters at his rallies that they could change their votes if they now wished they’d voted for Trump instead of Clinton. He continued to say his supporters should "monitor" polling places in states where he "should" win if there wasn’t vote tampering. He has specifically cited my city, Philadelphia, which is majority black and a Clinton stronghold for Pennsylvania, a state Trump needs to win, as a place where elections are "rigged."
Nov. 2, Jane Doe in court documents, the woman who has filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging she was raped by him when she was 13, was due to appear at a press conference with her attorney, Lisa Bloom. The case is scheduled for trial in mid-December.
Another court case for fraud against Trump University, is schedule for later this month.
According to Bloom, who posted a link to the full legal complaint on Twitter Jane Doe was at her office the entire day, but was too frightened because she has received myriad death threats, to appear at the press conference. Crisis counselor Leah McElrath reported on the sequence of events on Twitter.
Lisa Bloom just announced that, due to death threats, the woman accusing Trump of child rape is NOT speaking publicly today. pic.twitter.com/z2O7ZAs3YA— 🌊 (@leahmcelrath) November 2, 2016
There are several videos of Trump’s alleged victim detailing the events in the court documents on YouTube. (NSFW)
In addition to the child rape charges, Trump faces accusations of sexual assault from a dozen women, including a reporter and several former Miss Universe contestants. Trump has not only denied the charges, he has asserted they are "fiction" created by the Clinton campaign. While giving a speech in Gettysburg in October, Trump asserted he was going to sue each and every one of the accusers after the election. He has also insisted that none of the women was attractive enough for him to sexually assault.
Last summer The Daily Beast reported on another sexual assault involving Trump: an alleged violent rape and physical assault of his first wife, Ivana. The incident is detailed in the book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.
The book, by former Newsweek reporter Harry Hunt III, details a harrowing event in which Trump allegedly tore hair from Ivana’s scalp and then violently raped her. Ivana told friends about the attack at the time. But Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen is quoted by The Daily Beast as saying "You can’t rape your spouse."
Set aside (for the moment) the myriad accusations of sexual assault. Set aside all the legal cases against Trump – there are currently 75, according to detailed accountings by USA Today, Slate and other news sites.
What about the involvement with Russia – not just a foreign power, but an actual enemy of the U.S.? Comey may be keeping the details under wraps until after the election, but journalists are not.
What about the banishment of the free press? Trump pens up reporters at his rallies and has banned some news organizations altogether. He has repeatedly embraced Putin, who jails dissident reporters. He has also praised Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who is currently waging war on rebels in Syria and has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. Assad jails and tortures journalists and asserted in July that American journalist Marie Colvin was responsible for her own death in a 2012 bombing in Homs. Trump has also praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. There is only state-sponsored press in North Korea, which is considered by human rights organizations to be the most repressive regime in the world.
What about Trump’s running mate? Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is considered the calm and rational one, but he’s set aside money for conversion therapy of LGBT teens and thinks electroshock therapy to make them heterosexual is okay. He’s also defunded Planned Parenthood – a move Trump also supports. His defunding of clinics in Indiana let to an HIV outbreak. And he’s jailed women for having abortions.
Trump has called several times for the assassination of Clinton, has worked with conspiracy theorists to de-legitimize her likely presidency by claiming she’s suffering from a hidden illness and intimated that her relationship with Huma Abedin is more than collegial.
When Trump refused at the final debate last month to accept the results of the election, even his own party – and his own running mate – were given pause. The day after the debate there was a flurry of outcry and then...nothing.
Trump has never recanted that statement. But no reporter or cable news anchor has asked him about it since.
When the Comey letter was made public Oct. 28, the U.S. stock market plunged. Since then global markets have been in flux and market analysts have all said the same thing: The world fears a Trump presidency.
For 18 months I have been reporting on the election here and elsewhere. Hundreds of articles and thousands of tweets. I have said again and again that Trump is a dangerous demagogue. I have illumined all the many reasons why – although due to actual space and time, have not even covered every detail.
It’s mere days now, yet I am still getting tweets from folks on Twitter asserting that Clinton is the problem, not Trump.
It’s past time to call that fantasy out for the lie it is.
As Oprah said last week, you don’t have to love Hillary Clinton. That good ole boy chestnut that you must want to have a beer with a candidate – although Hillary does drink beer and seems to enjoy it with supporters on the campaign trail – to vote for them is nonsense. People preferred a beer with George Bush to Al Gore and John McCain to Barack Obama.
And does Trump even drink beer? And would he with a mere citizen?
Some Bernie Sanders holdouts are still sporting their #JillNotHill hashtags. But Stein has repeatedly shown herself to be a woefully unqualified candidate who first attempted to ride Sanders’ coattails (he refused to join the Green Party ticket with her and has said Clinton must be elected). Stein has since embraced many of Trump’s policy ideas, has a similar affinity for Putin and as recently as Nov. 2 said Trump is a better choice than Clinton.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s VP Bill Weld has repeatedly said he supports Clinton and knows she will be a good president. After the Comey letter Weld, former Republican governor of Massachusetts, spoke out, saying he was outraged by Comey’s tack so close to the election. Weld calls Comey’s attempt to interfere in the election "disgraceful."
Former Attorney General Eric Holder said Comey was an "honorable man," but said he’d made an egregious error that needed to be corrected. Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer during the second Bush Administration, said Comey had not just violated FBI protocol in discussing an investigation in progress, but in doing so 11 days before an election, had violated the Hatch Act.
Trump supporters with influence have continued to attempt to undermine Clinton. On Nov. 1, conservative pundit and avid Trump supporter Sean Hannity told his audience that President Obama, the First Lady and Sen. Elizabeth Warren – three of Clinton’s most hearty and important surrogates – had all unfollowed her on Twitter and scrubbed their accounts of tweets in support of her and would no longer be campaigning for her.
Although a quick scan of each account would have proven otherwise, Hannity not only went with the story but put it up on his own Twitter account. The lie spread and is still touring Twitter, even though he was forced to apologize and correct the story.
Meanwhile, Trump is reminding himself – in public – that he has to stay cool through November 8 to win the election, as reporter Ali Vitali, who covers the Trump campaign for NBC News, noted Wednesday night:
Trump's lead tonight: "we are going to win the WH...Just we've gotta be nice&cool, nice&cool. Right? Stay on point Donald, stay on point." pic.twitter.com/2bjE3NsjfM— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) November 3, 2016
On Nov. 2, in an interview after several rallies for Clinton, President Obama said Clinton is held to a different standard because she is a woman.
The Columbus Dispatch reported: "Just a week before Election Day, President Barack Obama raised the specter that many men are supporting Donald Trump because they are sexist.
"Hillary Clinton is consistently treated differently than just about any other candidate I see out there," Obama told 5,800 at Capital University’s indoor sports complex.
"I just want to say to the guys out there. I just want to be honest. There’s a reason why we haven’t had a woman president before," he said.
"I want every man out there who’s voting to kind of look inside yourself and ask yourself if you’re having problems with this stuff — how much of it is that we’re just not used to it?"
In a different interview the President said, when asked about the Comey letter, would not be supporting Clinton so vociferously and enthusiastically if he were not fully convinced there were no issues and suggested Comey should not have sent the letter prior to the election.
As the clock ticks out on what has been the most tendentious election in most of our lifetimes, there really should be no question about who we support for president. Do we go with the sexual predator who has said he’d use nuclear weapons, who can be baited for days on end with a tweet, who has attacked literally every ethnic and racial group in America, who has called women words we never hope to hear again, who supports LGBT conversion therapy, who has no actual plans for the country except "build a wall" and "ban the Muslims"? Do we go with the man who is supported by the KKK, KGB and FBI – none of whom have America’s interests at heart?
Or do we go with the woman about whom President Obama said, "she’s smart as a whip and the hardest worker I have ever known"? The woman who has spoken out when it mattered for those on America’s and the world’s margins.
Anyone who sees and treats women this way is unfit to be president. pic.twitter.com/aRXRfItr0r— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 2016
Now is not the time to parse words or feel leftover slights from the primary. Now is the time to exercise our civic duty and our duty as women and LGBTQ people to stand for the civil rights of America’s most marginalized people with the person who will stand with us.
Now is the time to say I’m with her. You have the opportunity to elect America’s first woman president and save the world from a demagogic white supremacist who likes nuclear weapons and hates women and people of color.
It’s not even a choice, is it?
Victoria A. Brownworth is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer and the author and editor of nearly 30 books. She has won the NLGJA and the Society of Professional Journalists awards, the Lambda Literary Award and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She won the 2013 SPJ Award for Enterprise Reporting in May 2014. She is a regular contributor to The Advocate and SheWired, a blogger for Huffington Post and A Room of Her Own, senior politics reporter and contributing editor for Curve magazine, contributing editor for Lambda Literary Review and a columnist for San Francisco Bay Area Reporter. Her reporting and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nation, Ms Magazine and Slate. Her book, Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic won the Lambda Literary Award, From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth won the 2012 Moonbeam Award for cultural & historical fiction. Her new novel, Ordinary Mayhem, won the IPPY Award for fiction on May 1, 2015. Her book Erasure: Silencing Lesbians and her next novel, Sleep So Deep, will both be published in 2016. @VABVOX