With the Republican National Convention opening in Cleveland in less than two weeks, the party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, is facing a new wave of controversies, from Trump’s tweeting of an anti-Semitic image showing Hillary Clinton against a backdrop of cash and a Star of David to his joke about Mexico attacking the United States. Today the crew interviews Trump biographer Wayne Barrett, author of “Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.” Barrett has been reporting on Trump since the 1970s.
He recalls an unusual offer from the billionaire mogul. “So he said to me, ‘Wayne, you don’t have to live in Brownsville. I have plenty of apartments,” Barrett recalls. “And so, then, at another time, he started talking to me about how he had broken this other journalist by suing him and driving him into bankruptcy.”
Barrett has been tracking Trump for decades. His 1991 biography of Trump was just republished as an ebook with the title of “Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.” Democracy Now! spoke to Wayne Barrett last week at his home, where he has largely been confined due to his battle with lung cancer. We asked Barrett about Trump’s unkept promise to build affordable housing in Atlantic City in order to build a larger casino. “He was getting all kinds of agreements from the city regarding roadways and access to Trump Castle, which is out at the marina,” Barrett said. “He agreed to build low-income housing. And he had the guy to do it. He had the guy who’d done it in New York. And they made all kinds of commitments that were written right into agreements with the city of Atlantic City. And then he failed on all of them.”
About a thousand housekeepers, cooks, bellmen and servers at Trump’s Taj Mahal Atlantic City casino went on strike on Friday and through the weekend demanding reinstatement of health, pension and other benefits eliminated during 2014 bankruptcy proceedings. This is only the latest in decades of labor disputes Donald Trump has faced at his hotels, casinos and resorts. Barrett says, “Trump’s pathway to success is littered with bodies.”
Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump has repeatedly faced charges of sexism, from implying Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly was asking tough questions because she was menstruating, to saying women should be “punished” for having abortions.
Barrett continues today even though he is largely home-bound due to lung cancer. “He’s really not qualified to run the Trump Organization. He’s not fit to run the Trump Organization. So he’s certainly not fit to run America,” Barrett said. “I think he represents not just a danger to America, but because we are such an influence in the world, it’s really a shocking threat to the world. And so, you know, I’m in a sick bed a lot, but he gets me up out of it.”
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