Commentary: Trump and the art of being transparently corrupt


I overheard the voter stand by her man, Donald Trump, the day after the “Access Hollywood” tapes showed him in vibrantly misogynistic Technicolor.

“I’d rather have someone coarse than someone corrupt,” she sniffed — the latter reference being to Hillary Clinton.

What does that Trump voter smell now? Roses, no doubt.

This, though we’re learning that several major corporations, including one with pronounced Russian connections, paid Trump attorney Michael Cohen millions of dollars to do — what?

To gain insight into Trump’s thoughts? That’s pretty pricey, when Twitter is free.

To influence policy to their benefit? I think that’s called “pay to play,” something Trump accused Clinton of doing in raising funds for the Clinton Foundation.

To provide a slush/hush fund for all those “Stormy” matters in a man’s life?

It spells corruption, smells corruption. Trump isn’t even trying to hide it. Drain the swamp, eh?

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What a ridiculous discussion it is to focus on the role of Cohen. Was he selling influence? Give me a break. The dollars he received were meant to benefit one man only.

Trump supporters, so focused about probity in the presidency — at least before Trump — know what that money is for. They couldn’t care less.

Over at the White House, what a charade it is for the media to focus on the veracity of spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “Has she lost the room” at press conferences?

The poor lady is chasing moonbeams around a Maypole. She wouldn’t know truth if it arrived in a Candygram.

Of Trump, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein has said, “We’ve never seen a president who lies so routinely.” And Bernstein has covered a few liars.

I think back to that Trump voter who was so concerned about corruption.

Does she think that when a contingent of Russians showed up in Trump Tower to talk to Trump’s son and several key aides, the president-elect didn’t know it?

Does she think that when Mike Flynn spoke to the Russians about holding off on sanctions once this administration took office, he then said nothing of it to the president who would make that determination?

Some voters may not realize that it’s a crime for a civilian to negotiate with a foreign government, much less a hostile one. If Flynn did that on behalf of the president-elect, would it bother the Trump voter in the slightest?

It apparently wouldn’t bother House Republicans. They shut down their investigation of the Russian matter just in time for the world to hear about more suspicious activities in the form of Cohen “client” Columbus Nova, a firm with ties to Kremlin power player and oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

Trump said before the election that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue” and shoot someone, and his supporters would blink only at the gunshot. So far, he’s proving himself right.

So clearly is he lying that (1) either he is wholly inept at lying or (2) he knows lying doesn’t matter one whit regarding the allegiance of his never-wavering 40 percent base.

By the way, folks: He’ll need quite a bit more than that to retain the presidency.

DURING THE CAMPAIGN: Donald Trump’s many misstatements win PolitiFact’s 2015 Lie of the Year

Should he finish this term and run in 2020, it will be fascinating to see what Trump supporters pull out of their hats to tar Trump’s opponent as ethically challenged, as so many did about Clinton to justify their 2016 vote. Maybe the Republicans will find a misstatement or two from that Democrat to build into a nationwide smear campaign.

And Trump will run on the guarantee that, hey, if he’s corrupt, at least he’s above-board about it. Cue the cheers.



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