Tower of Babble
“What I say,” says Trump, “is what I say.”
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“What I say,” says Trump, “is what I say.”
Donald J. Trump, a reality-television star erecting a mausoleum for himself behind the first-hole tee of a golf course he owns in New Jersey, first declared his candidacy for president of the United States in the atrium of Trump Tower, which he built in the 1980s with labor provided by hundreds of undocumented Polish workers and concrete purchased at an inflated price from the Gambino and Genovese crime families. “The American dream is dead,” Trump said to the audience members, each of whom he paid $50 to attend. During Trump’s primary campaign, he told his supporters that he knew “all about crazies,” loved “Wall Street guys” who are “brutal,” planned to “use the word ‘anchor baby,’ ” and preferred to pronounce “Qatar” incorrectly. Trump, who in 1999 cut his sick infant grandnephew off the Trump Organization’s health-care plan and in 2011 compared being gay to switching to a long-handled golf putter, pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act and said he’d consider trying to overturn the legalization of same-sex marriage. Trump said that his book The Art of the Deal was second in quality only to the Bible and that he never explicitly asked God for forgiveness. At a church in Iowa, he placed a few dollar bills into a bowl filled with sacramental bread, which he has referred to as “my little cracker.” Trump, who once dumped a glass of wine on a journalist who wrote a story he didn’t like, told his supporters that journalists were “liars,” the “lowest form of humanity,” and “enemies,” but that he did not approve of killing them. “I’m a very sane person,” said Trump, who once hosted a radio show in which he discussed the development of hair-cloning technology, the creation of a vaccine for obesity, the number of men a gay man thinks about having sex with on his morning commute, and the dangers of giving free Viagra to rapists. Trump denied being the voice of John Miller, one of several fictional assistants he had previously admitted pretending to be, in a recording of himself telling a reporter that he had “zero interest” in dating Madonna; that he had three other girlfriends in addition to Marla Maples, with whom he had been cheating on his wife; and that he had an affair with Carla Bruni, who later responded by describing Trump as “obviously a lunatic.” Trump, who once offered the city of New York vacant apartments in his building to house homeless people in hopes they would drive away rent-controlled tenants, sent a bumper sticker to a group of homeless veterans whom he had previously declined to help and asked them to campaign for him. Trump, whose companies have been cited 24 times since 2005 for failing to pay workers overtime or minimum wage, said the federal minimum wage should go up, and then said it should not. Trump referred to 9/11 as “7-Eleven,” and called Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren “the Indian” and “Pocahontas.” Trump, who had previously labeled a deaf contestant on his reality-TV show The Apprentice “retarded,” and had described poor Americans as “morons,” said the country was on course for a “very massive recession,” one resembling the U.S. recession of 2007 to 2009, which Trump once said Americans could “opt out of” by joining Trump Network, a multilevel-marketing company that sold a monthly supply of multivitamins purportedly tailored to customers based on a test of their urine. Trump submitted his financial-disclosure form to the Federal Election Commission, on which he swore under oath that his golf course in Briarcliff Manor, New York, which was being sued by the town for causing flooding, was worth $50 million, despite having sworn in a previous property-tax appeal that it was worth $1.4 million; and swore that his golf course in Palos Verdes, California, which he was suing for five times its annual revenue, was worth more than $50 million, despite previously having filed papers with Los Angeles County stating it was worth $10 million. Trump claimed he made $1.9 million from his modeling agency, which a foreign-born former model accused of “modern-day slavery,” alleging that the agency forced her to lie about her age, work without a U.S. visa, and live in a crowded apartment for which she paid the agency as much as $1,600 a month to sleep in a bed beneath a window through which a homeless man once urinated on her. Trump sought to exclude a recording of himself telling the nephew of former president George W. Bush that he grabs women “by the pussy” from a fraud suit filed against Trump University, a series of real-estate seminars taught by salespeople with no real-estate experience, which was housed in a Trump-owned building that the Securities and Exchange Commission said also housed the country’s most complained-about unregistered brokerages, and whose curriculum investigators in Texas described as “inapplicable.” Trump announced that he would win the Latino vote, and tweeted a photo of himself eating a taco bowl from Trump Grill in Trump Tower with the message “I love Hispanics!” Trump referred to a black man at one of his rallies as “my African American,” and pledged his support for black people at a gathering of mostly white people in Wisconsin, whom he often referred to as “the forgotten people.” “I am the least racist person,” said Trump, who was sued twice by the Justice Department in the 1970s for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to black tenants, whose Trump Plaza Hotel was fined $200,000 by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1992 for removing black dealers from card tables, who allegedly told a former employee that he hated “black guys counting my money,” who in 2005 floated the idea of pitting an all-black Apprentice team against an all-white one to reflect “our very vicious world,” and who was endorsed by leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, one of whom said, “What he believes, we believe.” Trump tweeted statistics credited to a fictional government agency falsely claiming that the majority of white murder victims in the United States are killed by black people. Trump tweeted a photoshopped picture of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who Trump had said “had blood coming out of her wherever,” standing next to a Saudi prince, who tweeted back that he had “financially rescued” Trump twice, including once in 1990, when the prince purchased Trump’s 281-foot yacht, which was formerly owned by a Saudi arms dealer with whom Trump often partied in Atlantic City, and with whom Trump was implicated in a tax-evasion scheme involving a Fifth Avenue jewelry store. Trump disputed former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s claim that Trump magazine is defunct, showing as proof an annual circular for his clubs that was not Trump magazine, which folded in 2009. Trump republished his book Crippled America with the title Great Again. Trump told and retold an apocryphal story about a U.S. general who executed Muslim soldiers with bullets dipped in pig’s blood and proposed that Muslims be banned from entering the country. At the first primary debate, Trump praised his companies’ bankruptcies, including that of Trump Entertainment Resorts, in which lenders lost more than $1 billion and 1,100 employees lost their jobs, and that of Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, a publicly traded company that Trump used to purchase two casinos for almost $1 billion, and from which he resigned after the company went bankrupt for the first time, but before it went bankrupt for the second time. “I made a lot of money,” said Trump. At the fifth primary debate, Trump defended the idea of retaliating against America’s foreign aggressors by killing non-combatant members of their families, saying it would “make people think.” At the eleventh primary debate, Trump told the crowd there was “no problem” with the size of his penis. Trump said that he knew more about the Islamic State than “the generals,” and that he would “rely on the generals” to defeat the Islamic State. Trump said he would bring back waterboarding and torture because “we have to beat the savages.” Trump offered to pay the legal bills of anyone who assaulted protesters at his rallies, denied making the offer, then made the offer again after a 78-year-old white supporter in North Carolina punched a 26-year-old black protester in the eye and said, “Next time we see him we might have to kill him.” Trump, who in 1999 called Republicans too “crazy right” and in 2000 ran on a Reform Party platform that included creating a lottery to fund U.S. spy training, said that the 2016 primaries were “rigged,” then clinched the Republican nomination for president, receiving more votes than any Republican in history. “I was the one who really broke the glass ceiling,” said Trump when his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, became the first woman to lead a major party’s ticket. Trump hired Steve Bannon, the editor of the white-nationalist website Breitbart, to replace his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who ran a firm that once lobbied for the military dictator of Zaire, and who himself replaced Corey Lewandowski, who resigned from the campaign not long after he was filmed grabbing a Breitbart reporter by the arm to prevent her from asking Trump any questions. Trump selected as his running mate Indiana governor Mike Pence, who previously backed a bill that would allow hospitals to deny care to critically ill pregnant women, and who once criticized the Disney character Mulan as a “mischievous liberal” created to persuade Americans that women should be allowed to hold combat positions in the military. In his general-election campaign, Trump said he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory, and called on Russia to hack into Clinton’s email account. Trump said that he doesn’t pay employees who don’t “do a good job,” after a review of the more than 3,500 lawsuits filed against Trump found that he has been accused of stiffing a painter and a dishwasher in Florida, a glass company in New Jersey, dozens of hourly hospitality workers, and some of the lawyers who represented him. “I’m a fighter,” said Trump, who body-slammed the WWE chairman at WrestleMania 23 in 2007, and who attended WrestleMania IV with Robert LiButti, an Atlantic City gambler with alleged mafia ties, who told Trump he’d “fucking pull your balls from your legs” if Trump didn’t stop trying to seduce his daughter. Trump, whose first wife, Ivana, accused him in divorce filings of rape, and whose special counsel later said rape within a marriage was not possible, said “no one respects women more than I do.” Trump threatened to sue 12 women who accused him of sexual misconduct, including one who recalled Trump trying “like an octopus” to put his hand up her skirt on an airplane 35 years ago; four former Miss Teen USA contestants, who alleged that Trump entered their dressing room while girls as young as 15 were changing and said, “I’ve seen it all before”; the winner of Miss Utah USA in 1997, who alleged that Trump forcibly kissed her on the lips and then told her, “Twenty-one is too old”; an adult-film star, who alleged that at a golf tournament in Tahoe in 2006 Trump offered her $10,000 and the private use of his jet to spend the night with him; and a People magazine reporter, who alleged that while she was writing a story on Trump and his current wife, Melania, on the occasion of their first wedding anniversary, Trump pushed her against the wall and forcibly kissed her before telling her, “We’re going to have an affair.” “What I say is what I say,” said Trump, who previously told a pair of 14-year-old girls that he would date them in a couple of years, said of a 10-year-old girl that he would date her in 10 years, told a journalist that he wasn’t sure whether his infant daughter Tiffany would have nice breasts, told the cast of The View that if Ivanka weren’t his daughter “perhaps I would be dating her,” told radio host Howard Stern that it was okay to call Ivanka a “piece of ass” and that he could have “nailed” Princess Diana, and tweeted that a former winner of his Miss Universe pageant, whom Trump once called “Miss Piggy,” was disgusting. “Check out sex tape,” tweeted Trump, who once appeared in a soft-core pornographic film breaking a bottle of wine over a limousine. Trump did not comment on reports that he used over $200,000 in charitable contributions to the Trump Foundation to settle lawsuits against his businesses, $20,000 in contributions to the Trump Foundation to buy a six-foot-tall painting of himself, and $10,000 in contributions to buy a smaller painting of himself, which he hung on the wall of his restaurant Champions Bar and Grill. “I’m the cleanest guy there is,” said Trump, who once granted the rights to explore building Trump-branded towers in Moscow to a mobster convicted of stabbing a man in the face with the stem of margarita glass, who was mentored by the former lead counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Gambino and Genovese crime families, who once purchased a nightclub in Atlantic City from a hit man for a Philadelphia crime family, who once worked with a soldier in the Colombo crime family to outfit Trump Golden and Executive Series limousines with a fax machine and a liquor dispenser, and who once purchased helicopter services from a cigarette-boat racer named Joseph Weichselbaum, who was charged with drug trafficking in Ohio before being moved to Trump’s sister’s courtroom in New Jersey, where the case was handed off to a different judge, who gave Weichselbaum a three-year prison sentence, of which he served 18 months before moving into Trump Tower. Trump told journalists he “made a lot of money” when he leased his house in Westchester to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. “I screwed him,” said Trump. Trump, who in 2013 said that he did “have a relationship” with Vladimir Putin, said in 2016, “I don’t know Putin.” Trump, who wrote in 1997 that concern over asbestos was a mob conspiracy, who in the 1990s spent $1 million in ads to bolster the theory that a Native American tribe in upstate New York had been infiltrated by the mafia and drug traffickers, who once implied that Barack Obama’s real name is Barry Soetoro and that he won reelection by making a secret deal with Saudi Arabia, and who in 2012 tweeted that global warming was a “hoax” created by “the Chinese” to weaken U.S. manufacturing, suggested to his supporters that the Islamic State paid the phone bills of Syrian refugees, that his primary opponent Ted Cruz’s Cuban father was involved in a conspiracy to kill President John F. Kennedy, and that U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia may have been suffocated with a pillow. During the first debate of the general election, Trump said that Rosie O’Donnell had deserved it when he called her “disgusting both inside and out,” “basically a disaster,” a “slob,” and a “loser,” someone who “looks bad,” “sounds bad,” has a “fat, ugly face,” and “talks like a truck driver.” At the second general-election debate, Trump invited three women who have accused Clinton’s husband of sexual misconduct to sit in the front row; claimed that Clinton had once laughed about the rape of a 12-year-old girl, which audio showed not to be true; claimed that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had endorsed him, which it had not; and afterward suggested that his opponent had been on drugs during the debate. Trump, who said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose supporters, told his supporters that Clinton could shoot one of them and not be prosecuted. Trump told the audience at a Catholic charity dinner that Clinton “hates Catholics,” and told his supporters that she is “the devil” and that Mexico was “getting ready to attack.” Trump, who once kept a collection of Adolf Hitler’s speeches at his bedside, told his supporters that the election was “rigged” against him, won the election despite losing the popular vote by a margin of almost 3 million, claimed that he had in fact won the popular vote, and then announced that he would be staying on as executive producer of The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, which a year earlier had fired him because he called Mexicans “rapists.” “Our country,” said Trump at a victory rally, “is in trouble.”
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."