The flim-flam man or IOKIYAR
December 13, 2016
"The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme, extreme vetting." Donald Trump, August 15, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump has called for "extreme" vetting for refugees entering our country. Refugees today go through a long, extremely thorough vetting process before being allowed into America. This is good. No one wants to admit someone who might do us harm.
In the same way, it would be nice to have an "extreme" vetting process for those who want to lead our country. Hillary Clinton has been investigated more thoroughly than probably anyone in American politics and never been found guilty of any crime. In contrast, Trump has had very little serious investigation into his life and business dealings, even with his long history of government actions against him.
Now that Trump is transitioning into the White House, preparing to take on the awesome responsibilities of being president, it's coming to light how ill-prepared he is. When Trump visited the White House on Nov. 10, he was surprised at the scope of the president's responsibilities. Comprehensive vetting might have revealed this ignorance. Unfortunately, the unspoken rule is It's OK If You're A Republican (IOKIYAR), so perhaps his supporters wouldn't have cared anyway.
Trump hasn't released his taxes and probably never will, so we have no idea what obligations he has to foreign countries, obligations that may compromise America's security. We also have no idea if he's paid federal taxes or donated to charity. Clinton has been releasing her tax returns since 1977. We know where her income comes from, how much she pays in taxes, and how much she donates to charity. For Trump, we have to take his word, with no proof. But, IOKIYAR.
Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., Trump's running mate, voted for the Iraq War in 2002. He still defends that vote, never apologizing. Clinton also voted for the war, but later said it was a mistake. Republicans said her vote showed poor judgment. Pence's vote? IOKIYAR
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In 1973-74, federal investigators subpoenaed business records and emails from the Trump organization, pertaining to a federal investigation. The Trumps fought back for months. Finally, Trump admitted they "had been destroying their corporate records for the previous six months and had no document-retention program … The Trump strategy was simple: deny, impede and delay, while destroying documents the court had ordered them to hand over." (Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, 10/31/16) Republican reaction? IOKIYAR. Clinton's missing emails? "Lock her up!"
Trump has used Trump Foundation money for personal gain; he's admitted to "self-dealing," which is illegal. The Clinton Foundation rates high among charity watchdog groups and has saved millions of lives. Republican response to Trump's fraud? IOKIYAR.
Trump is dealing with foreign leaders in ways that will benefit his businesses, even if that causes problems for American diplomacy and security. His private interests seem to come before those of the U.S. We may never know how much damage he is doing, since his business dealings are not in the public record. Again, even if his business interests cause serious problems for us, IOKIYAR.
Trump Tweets whatever and whenever he wants, regardless of the facts or the dangers to America's interests. He also seems to think he can use the press as he sees fit, refusing access when he doesn't want them around. As President-elect and President, he's no longer a private citizen; he works for us. We have a right to know what he's doing, and the press has a duty to report his actions.
He and his children especially have no right to run his businesses from the Oval Office, using his power and influence to line his pockets. His children need to keep business matters completely separate from him, to avoid any conflicts of interest. If he doesn't like those restrictions, he shouldn't have run for the job in the first place. But, IOKIYAR.
For anyone who thinks Trump has a mandate from the American people to get away with this, keep this figure in mind: 2.7 million. That's how many more votes Hillary got than Trump did. The people actually voted for her; it's the idiosyncrasies of the Electoral College that gave the presidency to Trump.
If Trump wants to be a decent president, he needs to decide whether his business or his country comes first. He can't do justice to both. And he needs to let us know what he is doing. Bullying and flim-flam are no way to run a country.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at email@example.com.