Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump likely more interested in putting on a show than he is in governing

Learning Wednesday that President-elect Donald Trump plans to tell us in two weeks about the details of how he will avoid conflict of interest between his new governmental duties and those of his business interests reminds me a bit too much of Dennis Rodman.
We'd respect him more if daughter put in charge

Remember the one-time professional basketball star whom we used to think was a tacky jerk, until he became an integral part of the Chicago Bulls’ second streak of three championships in the 1990s?

I REMEMBER THE day in a Chicago newsroom that we got a “tip” – Dennis was going to be married! We were even given a time and place where something would happen. One of those “Be there, or be square” moments.

Sure enough, at the appropriate moment, a limousine showed up. Several voluptuous women dressed in tuxedoes and top hats climbed out – then came the bride. Which turned out to be Dennis himself!

Dressed in a bridal gown (you can make the appropriately tacky joke now about the inappropriateness of Rodman wearing white), the actual “happening” was the publishing of a ghost-written book of Rodman’s memoirs.

Rodman did go on a couple of years later to briefly marry actress Carmen Electra. But the whole thing was a stunt orchestrated by Rodman (who in his own goofy way was a Trump supporter – he also once sang “Happy Birthday” to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un) to gain attention to himself. Nothing more!

WHICH IS WHAT I seriously expect to happen on Dec. 15 when Trump, according to the messages he posts about himself on Twitter, holds a press conference in New York to discuss his business interests.
It was all about selling the books -- which now can be bought at used book stores for $0.50.
If we believe Trump, he has attorneys drafting up “legal documents…which take me completely out of business operations.” He also claims he is “not mandated to do this under the law…” but says he wants to focus on his new presidential title.

“The Presidency is a far more important task!,” Trump writes.

Which, to me, sounds like the early tips we got all those years ago saying that Rodman was about to get married.

NOW IT IS not unheard of for presidents to be people of some significant financial means. The usual method for dealing with this is for the newly-elected public officials to put their assets into a blind trust – by which they surrender control of them for the duration of their time in the White House.

But Trump is an egomaniac (would a sane person feel compelled to name so many projects around the globe after himself) who would never want to surrender control. Which is why I wonder what the scheme will be that he will unveil on Dec. 15 to create the illusion of shifting control over Trump Enterprises.

The early speculation was that Trump’s grown children would wind up assuming greater control – with daughter Ivanka perhaps becoming the new big boss while her father tries not to make a complete mess out of the country.

But does Trump think his kids wouldn’t give him back control of the company once his presidency is complete (a moment that a large share of our society will be anxiously awaiting)? Or is he really more interested in putting on some sort of stunt to assuage his ego – rather than focus on the task at hand.
RICKETTS: Now 'our' man in D.C.?

BECAUSE IF IT were really just about Trump wanting to eliminate the appearance of a conflict of interest, he could issue the statement today. He could take the action, then go about picking the rest of his cabinet officials (with Todd Ricketts of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs now being named as deputy Commerce secretary, is he now the highest-ranking Chicago contact within the White House?) who will advise him in the ways and means of governing.

The delay seems more about staging, just like any agreement he ultimately signs may be something intended to create the appearance of separation while also ensuring he’ll still have control. This is the man, after all, who initially tried arguing that a president cannot have conflicts of interest.
He's back, as an actor. Will Trump return to real estate?

So when Trump, the twit who Tweets, says he’s leaving his businesses “in total,” we shouldn’t presume that he’s backing away from his financial interests any more than Rodman became a happily-married man on that day some two decades ago.

Or any more than one-time California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger when he said upon his election in 2007 that he’d never appear in a Hollywood film again. Did we really need “Escape Plan” (‘The Terminator’ paired up with ‘Rambo’) or multiple versions of “The Expendables” that have been released since then?


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