Money goes to money, they say, and county Republicans wanted to see if it’s true. On March 11, the Onondaga County Republican Party hosted a fundraiser headlined by the tycoon Donald Trump. It cost $100 per person to attend. Pony up an additional $500, and you could have your photo taken with “The Donald.”
Trump is a popular anti-Obama crusader; he has forged a rather dubious political career by verbally attacking the president. The Donald even takes credit for forcing the president to produce a birth certificate.
“Today, I’m very proud of myself, because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish,” Trump said at a news conference April 27, 2011, in New Hampshire. “I was just informed, while on the helicopter, that our president has finally released a birth certificate. He should have done it a long time ago. Why he didn’t do it when the Clintons asked for it? Why he didn’t do it when everyone else was asking for it, I don’t know. But I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue. Now, we have to look at it, we have to see, is it real? Is it proper? What’s on it? But I hope it checks out beautifully. I am really proud, I am really honored.”
Of course, the release of the Hawaiian birth record didn’t satisfy Trump. “A lot of people are questioning his birth certificate,” The Donald told CNBC on May 29, 2012. “They’re questioning the authenticity of his birth certificate. I’ve been known as being a very smart guy for a long time. I don’t consider myself birther or not birther, but there are some major questions here, and the press doesn’t wanna cover it. The press just refuses to cover it. Now, if that were somebody else, they would be covering it, and they’d be throwing people out of office. But they don’t want to cover it. So it’s interesting.”
Trump expanded his assault by questioning Obama’s education, demanding that he release his college records. Obama, who transferred to Columbia University from Occidental College in 1981, graduated from Columbia in 1983 and graduated magna cum laude with a doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1991. He went on to helm the prestigious Harvard Law Review, the oldest operating student-edited law review in the United States.
None of those bona fides impressed Trump. He continued disemboweling attacks on the president.
“The word is, according to what I’ve have read, he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental,” Trump said at the New Hampshire presser. “He then gets to Columbia and then gets to Harvard. I heard at Columbia he was not a very good student, and then he then he gets into Harvard. How do you get into Harvard if you are not a good student? Maybe that’s right, maybe that’s wrong, but I don’t know why he doesn’t he release his records. Why doesn’t he release his Occidental records?”
Trump continues his campaign, offering $5 million as an incentive for the president to release various records. “Now, I have a deal for the president,” Trump declared in a YouTube video Oct. 25, 2012. “If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications, and if he gives his passport applications and records, I will give to a charity of his choice—inner-city children in Chicago, American Cancer Society, AIDS research, anything he wants–a check, immediately, for $5 million.”
Witnessing this assault on the first African-American president was painful, especially painful for black men. You see we–black men–have always had to present our “papers,” whether the task is as simple as applying for a minimum-wage job, returning home from the store, a simple traffic stop or proving that you are a college graduate.
I doubt if Trump has ever been asked by a law enforcement officer, “Where are you going and where are you coming from?” We black men have to prove constantly that we are something other than a racial stereotype.
In the NBC News special called The R.A.C.E., an acronym for Racial Attitudes and Consciousness Exam, Trump was at it again, this time commenting on the plight of the black male.
“A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market,” The Donald said. “I think sometimes a black may think they don’t have an advantage or this and that. I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I believe they do have an actual advantage.”
Political parties send messages when they bring in outside guns to raise money. In the case of Donald Trump, we need to ask whether he represent the values of the Onondaga County Republican Party and its members. Their last mayoral Republican “party-selected” nominee, Otis Jennings, has become a Democrat. (That dance may remind some that Trump himself, a Republican during the 20th century, registered as a Democrat from 2001 to 2009, before jumping to the Reform Party and back to the GOP in 2012.)
The Black Republicans Club, once a proud organization hosting events trying to broaden the party’s appeal to the African-American community, has disappeared into thin air. Some former members have become non-enrolled, while others have gone back “home” to the Democratic Party. The Onondaga County Republican Party couldn’t fill a Denny’s booth with what’s left of its black Republican organization.
But back to the man who made the words “You’re fired” a byword of the ongoing recession. Trump, whose net worth is measured in the billions, remains one of the most outspoken and under-informed critics of the Obama administration. In his bid for re-election, Rep Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) needs only to tell people of color and like-minded allies that the Onondaga County Republican Committee has chosen as its public face a man who hates Obama.
Even a conservative observer, George Will, can smell a rat lurking at Trump Tower. “The cost of appearing with a bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me,” Will said May 27, 2012, on ABC’s This Week. “Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics.”
I couldn’t have said it any better myself.