Donald Trump is now the leading contender on the Republican nomination for president, and the same question in my mind is getting more and more eager for an answer, as many of my classmates have asked before: Why is Donald Trump the way he is?
It’s crucial to look at someone’s family influences and youth when judging this person’s character, for those are evident imprints on his or her beliefs. Not permanent, but difficult to change.
Like father like son: Fred C. Trump
Donald Trump is known for denying facts, especially when confirmed evidence show that his father Fred C. Trump was arrested after a Klan riot in Queens back in his earlier years.
According to Washington Post, on Memorial Day 1927, 1,000 white-robed Klansmen marched through through the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens. The parade eventually exploded into an all-out brawl and seven men were arrested.
A report uncovered by the technology blog Boing Boing clearly stated that Fred Trump of 175-24 Devonshire Rd. in Jamaica was among the arrested Klansmen. It was not clear what role Fred played in the brawl, but based on the propaganda illustrated from fliers that were passed around in Jamaica beforehand, “Native-born Protestant Americans dare to organize to protect one flag, the American flag; one school, the public school; and one language, the English language.”
Comparing Donald Trump’s comments and campaign, it’s evident to say that similar belief has been passed down the Trump bloodline along with all the bank accounts.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Trump denied his father’s arrest when the report came to light last year, “This never happened. Never took place. He was never arrested, never convicted, never even charged. It’s a completely false, ridiculous story. He was never there! It never happened. Never took place.”
Also, when he was asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether he would condemn the praise of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, he claimed not knowing anything about white supremacy and declined to disavow Duke’s comments.
However, denial doesn’t mean it’s false information. It’s a tactic, but it won’t last long.
When Donald Trump began his career in real estate, according to CNN, Fred C. Trump, was one of richest individuals in America, with a net worth of roughly $200 million. (The equivalent today of $1 billion) Fred built 15,000 apartments in Brooklyn and Queens, which generated a river of cash that he used to retire debt and invest in new projects.
Many were his tenants, including folk singer Woody Guthrie. However, Guthrie didn’t have much nice things to say about his landlord Fred C. Trump.
In a recent discovery on Guthrie’s writings by Will Kaufman, a professor of American literature and culture at the University of Central Lancashire in Britain, Guthrie suggested that black people were unwelcome as tenants in the Trump apartment complex, near Coney Island.
According to Kaufman, Guthrie signed a lease at the Beach Haven apartment complex in December 1950. Guthrie wrote about his new “lily-white neighborhood” like this:
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project
The Justice Department sued the Trumps in the 1970s for discriminating against blacks. According to the New York Times, a settlement was eventually reached. But at the time, Trump Management noted the agreement did not constitute an admission of guilt.
Growing up in an environment as such, Donald Trump might as well inherited the concept of “us” and “them”- Native-born Protestant Americans and Aliens.
The young, and privileged Donald Trump: From Military Academy to Show Business to Real Estate
According to Washington Post, Donald Trump was sent to the New York Military Academy by his father in 1959 to be straightened out because of his history of trouble at school. “I liked to stir things up,” Trump wrote in his book “The Art of the Deal.”
He didn’t do very well in the first few years and remained a supply sergeant when his classmates had already become lieutenants. However, when Trump reached his senior year, he was named a captain. He commended his officers to keep strict discipline. “I did very well under the military system,” Trump recalled, “I became one of the top guys at the whole school.”
But not long after, he was removed from from the captain duty to a new job on the school staff. Another prestigious position but with no commanding power.
Trump said he was promoted to that position but his former cadets recalled it differently. They said the school administrators transferred him after a freshman named Lee Ains complained of being hazed by a sergeant under Trump’s command. The school officials were concerned that his style of delegating leadership responsibilities while spending a lot of time in his room, away from his team, allowed problem to fester.
But given his family background and status, Trump got to switch position with a cadet instead of being simply removed from duty, even though the cadet, Bill Specht, who had been at or near the top of his class since arriving at the academy, was not happy to. But order was order, he immediately cracked down on hazing in Trump’s old group, said Ains.
Trump always had a way to somehow claim success even if he did not achieve it at all. He had always been very confident and full of himself. Perhaps the somehow self-formed success played a big part in his self esteem assurance.
Tracing Trump back before his presidential bid began
Before Donald Trump became a developer, he invested in “Paris is Out!”, a domestic comedy that began performances on Broadway in early 1970.
According to the New York Times, the young Trump went to Broadway producer David Black with some money from his developer father and an interest in what it might be like to be a Broadway producer. He made Black a deal: he would pay half of the cost for his name to be placed equally with the producer on the posters and in Playbill. Black took the deal and accepted his investment of $70,000.
Richard Seff, the writer of “Paris is Out!”, recalled the young Trump as “a young heir apparent, beginning his life with his father’s business, who used to drive up to the theater in his white convertible.”
Black also recalled that Trump liked putting his name in fields other than real estate, foreshadowing his interest in TV reality show “The Apprentice” and the recent presidential campaign.
Unfortunately, the show was a flop and its closing ended Trump’s career as a Broadway producer.
But it wasn’t all bad. Trump went back to real estate, and started his career as a developer with his father’s “small loan” of $1 million, according to CNN. “It has not been easy for me,” Trump said. “My whole life has been a ‘no’ and I fought through it.”
Kudos to Trump, he didn’t waste his father’s fortune like some other rich kids. But for most college students and immigrant descends, his effort is hardly counted as a result of hard work.
With the “Trump” name on his forehead, he was privileged to be welcomed into banks, insurance companies and the New York City Hall. He may have been told “no” on occasions, but with his father’s assistance, Trump could be almost unstoppable.
At the time, Fred Trump was already a mogul and possessed much the political power, earned through donations to various candidates, according to CNN.
When Donald Trump made his first big deal to replace the Commodore Hotel with a brand new Hyatt, he depended much on his father’s name and credit with lenders, which was worth tens of millions of dollars and impressed the trustees who sold the development rights of the hotel site to Donald Trump, according to Wayne Barrett’s book in 1992, “Trump, the Deals and Downfall”.
The young Trump couldn’t get the money all by himself. According to Barrett, Fred guaranteed half the $70 million cost of the project and Hyatt guaranteed the other. Fred was so instrumental in overseeing the project that he attended contract signings and, as was his custom, handed out souvenir silver dollars to those present. He even reassured the city officials, “I’m going to watch the construction and provide the financial credibility.”
Donald Trump was thoroughly schooled by his father, he knew to become a friend and donor to politicians in order for his projects to be approved much easier. His family wealth had always helped him out. His siblings could loan him enough money to allow him stay in business at a time when he was $900 million in red, as reported in the New York Times.
According to Trump’s book “The America We Deserve” published in 1999, he called politicians who claim their humble beginnings losers, “their families have been losers for years and years and ‘Elect me, because I’m a loser.’”
Most Americans have humble beginnings, are our families all losers in Donald Trump’s eyes? Where is the “American Dream” spirit?
Lastly, a word with ‘angry Americans’
I understand Donald Trump might be appealing to some people, he has brought reality show into presidential election. It is more amusing this way, indeed.
However, this is your future we’re talking about here.
There are three things I’d like to address about Donald Trump
Donald Trump is famous for denying facts and comments that are negative about him. No child ever asks to be made this way. It’s not entirely Trump’s fault that he turns out to be so offensive like this, his family background and experience as a young man could contribute greatly to his personality.
He completely lives in his own head, in which the world is below him and everybody adores him. He believes that by denying certain evidence and name calling, the problem will be solved and people will forget about it.
We all know that if you want to solve a problem, you have to acknowledge it first. Donald Trump tries to convince that he gets along with everybody and he was always good at school, while all evidence show otherwise. The “get along” in Trump’s eyes is the type of relationship that based on long-term financial exchange, which he inherited from his father. It’s effective in business, but could turn into a completely different story when it comes to foreign policy. People do smile at the sight of cash, but do you plan to make “donations” to officials of other countries using tax money? I don’t think so.
Also, he is simply incapable of coping with complex issues such as immigration and education. Trump was born wealthy and never had to work too hard for anything. He claimed he was a self-made man but without his father Fred C. Trump, we wouldn’t even know his name. You could not expect him to truly understand the struggles of immigrants, students, and lower-income Americans who might work two jobs just trying to make it in life.
We can assume If Trump gets in the White House, he might just relax by the pool, make a reality TV called “Trump’s House”, and leave the rest to other officials, much like his academy days.
2. Modern Racism/Discrimination
Many people have called Donald Trump a racist and misogynist because of his offensive comments. The problem is not exactly on him, but the ones who laugh freely at his jokes and are rooting for him.
About 50 years after racial segregation ended and women finally have rights in this nation, racism and discrimination have taken a different form and embed themselves into jokes and stereotypes. People think as long as we don’t show resentful expressions toward others and we don’t directly insult someone based on their skin or gender, it’s not counted as racism or discrimination.
Donald Trump’s appearance and his poll just proved how much more America still needs to go on the journey to reach equality for all.
3. Kindergarten Rule
May everyone be reminded, this isn’t the first time someone tries to create a common enemy in order to climb up to power- Native Americans, Jews, Japanese-Americans, blacks, “Communists” in America, and now Mexicans and Muslims.
It’s a powerful and effective way to unite people under one commander, but extremely dangerous for a nation. Think about your kindergarten years, remember the one child in your class that everybody avoids or calls “eww”, and how all the other kids bond with each other based on the common resentment towards this one child. Well, it’s the same principle.
Angry Americans, blaming everything on one group of people is not going to solve any of the problems. You need someone capable of empathy for you and for others to truly dig into the problem, analyze the cause, and come up with an effective strategy.
Look back in history, will neglecting Mexicans, Muslims and refugees help you and your nation in any way? Nope, it never did.