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Op-Ed: Judging Donald Trump by the company he keeps

If Donald Trump was elected president he would become the oldest person, at 70 years old, to take the oath of office in American history, unseating Ronald Reagan who holds the record today at 69. Yet he is perceived as new and invigorating. While it may be true that the Trump campaign is not beholden to special interests, the former reality TV star has been buying politicians for years. He contributed over $500,000 to Democrats in the years prior to 2012 when he began to donate heavily to Republicans. Yet he is an outsider, never mind the doomed-from-the-start campaign for the Reform party’s nomination in 2000, the talk of Oprah as a running mate, or the exploratory committee in 1988, Trump has never been involved in politics, supporters say.
However when it comes to Donald Trump’s campaign, accuracy takes a backseat to emotions. What the Donald says doesn’t have to be true, it just has to feel good. That’s why I wonder if Trump supporters would be at all curious about the people backing their guy.
Take for starters Donald Trump’s top lawyer and political adviser, Michael Cohen, the son of a Holocaust survivor. He now sits on six of Trump’s property boards, as well as Co-President of Trump entertainment.
Surprisingly enough Cohen is a democrat, who voted for Barack Obama, although he says he regrets that now and went sailing with the late Ted Kennedy. But past votes and sailing trips aside, Cohen is known for setting up the website Should Trump Run? with billionaire playboy Stewart Rahr in 2011. Not to be outdone by Donald Trump’s flamboyant behavior, Stewart Rahr was arrested in 2012 for pulling a gun on an elevator operator at Trump Towers. He was taken by police to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center’s psychiatric ward and no charges were filed.
Donald Trump’s top lawyer, Cohen, is a fan of lawsuits, notably suing the owner of a Southampton mansion for $500,000 stating that the vacation home he rented for a month at the sum of $150,000 didn’t have air conditioning or big enough beds for his family. However the mansion did have a three-storey elevator, spa, and gym as well as 11 bathrooms. Don’t you just hate it when your elevator works fine but the AC is on the fritz at the mansion you’re renting for vacation?
Cohen, who is a registered Democrat, is also a fierce supporter of his boss, going as far as to say that a wife can not be raped by her husband, when defending Trump in the press against allegations he sexually assaulted his ex-wife Ivana, a statement he later apologized for. However, Cohen is not one to apologize, often preferring instead to go for the jugular.
“If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.” Michael Cohen told ABC News in 2011.
After meeting with African-American pastors, Donald Trump picked up the endorsement of Harlem Pastor James David Manning. The head of ATLAH ministries is known for calling President Obama a “long legged mack daddy,” referring to Obama’s deceased mother as “white trash” and a “floozy” as well as recently saying Starbucks is using “gay semen” in its coffee.
With this in mind and his flip-flopping support for Republicans, well-known allegations that the building that bears his name in Manhattan was built by illegal immigrants, and outrageous statements on nearly a daily basis, is it any wonder why Jeb Bush called the former Apprentice star “a chaos candidate.” Or despite the press and the flamboyance, many conservatives would much rather support two first term Senators, a pediatric neurosurgeon, and a CEO with no government experience over a man the media lauds over as the front runner.
If a man is judged by the people around him and by his actions then who is Donald Trump?

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