For weeks now Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns. His obstinance flies in the face of modern political ethics. Every candidate for president for more than half a century has agreed that the public has a right to know about their prospective leader’s financial standing and relationships. But Lord Donald has designated himself as exempt from the burdens of his peasant predecessors.
The unfairness of the privilege he granted himself was revealed yesterday following his mealy speech on “The Age of Terror.” Actually, it had nothing to do with the substance of the speech since there was little in it that could be called substantive. However, he also published the speech on his website with footnotes that tell the tale of his hypocrisy. Bear with me as this story unfolds.
At the point in his speech where the alleged billionaire harangues Hillary Clinton for having the audacity to want to make some money herself, Trump notes that:
“…as she threw the Middle East into violent turmoil, things turned out well for her. The Clintons made almost $60 million in gross income while she was Secretary of State.”
First of all, Trump’s faulty premise that it was Clinton who caused all the problems in the Middle East is ludicrous. Blaming his political opponent for the centuries of strife that have dogged the region is a display of his pitiful ignorance.
Secondly it’s rather offensive that a man who was born into wealth is so disturbed by the success of others. Especially when he used his family connections and skeevy ethics to swindle people out of their money. Neither of the Clintons came from well off families and their success was due to their own hard work. In Trump’s world the lower classes should know their place and stay there.
More to the point, his description of the Clintons’ good fortune needs to be fleshed out a bit. The $60 million the family earned over four years was divided between both Bill and Hillary. What Trump doesn’t tell you is that Hillary’s contribution during that time was only about $68,000, plus her State Department salary. Those earnings came from books that she wrote before becoming Secretary of State. Consequently, it was Bill’s speaking engagements and consulting that brought in more than 99 percent of the family’s income.
Which leads us to the revelation of Trump’s epic hypocrisy. Here is what Trump cited as his source for Clintons’ income in the footnotes of his speech transcript: “William J. Clinton & Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, 2009 (and 2010, 2011, 2012).”
That’s right. Trump got the data from her tax returns. Tax returns that Clinton voluntarily released as part of her duty to the public she serves. Tax returns like those that Trump continues to refuse to make public. And yet, Trump still doesn’t get that releasing his tax returns is critical to understanding his fitness for office. There must be a serious cognitive disconnect in Trump’s brain if he can openly exploit the availability of Clinton’s tax returns without noticing the hyper hypocrisy of his own refusal.
And that’s not all. While perusing Trump’s footnotes for this article, another hypocrisy just screamed out for attention. Trump has made the media the prime target of his campaign vitriol. Particularly in recent days when he has taken to calling them “the worst human beings in the world.” Why then does he cite the mainstream media so much in his footnotes? Apparently the corrupt and dishonest scum at the New York Times are credible enough to cite fifteen times as support for his speech. CNN, a network he’s been boycotting since June, was cited thirteen times. The Washington Post, whose press credentials he has revoked, was cited eight times. For some reason his favorite news outlet, Fox News, only made the grade six times.
So on the one hand, Trump believes that these news organizations are lying heathens conspiring to destroy him. On the other hand, he considers them trustworthy journalistic assets that validate his claims. That’s just another of the contradictions that define Trump as a logic-challenged narcissist who will twist everything to his advantage no matter how absurd.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
The bottom line is that when Trump needs information to malign his foes the availability of tax returns is essential. And when he needs the media to lean on for support or exposure they are his best friends. Otherwise tax returns serve no purpose and the media serve Satan. What this tells us is that Donald Trump resides in an egocentric world that depends on contradiction and hypocrisy to make any sense at all. Those aren’t exactly the sort of personality traits one looks for in a president or, for that matter, any other job.