(With apologies to Booth Tarkington)
The ‘magnificence’ of the Trumps began with Frederick Christ ‘Fred’ Trump, who acquired his wealth by building and selling housing to soldiers who returned from World War II and their families.
Their gilded splendor lasted throughout all the years that son Donald took over his father’s company, later renamed The Trump Organization. The younger Trump hit his stride in 1980s when he partnered with the Holiday Inn to develop an impressive $250 million hotel and casino complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
However, among all the riches he acquired, young Donald also gained a reputation for a certain unrestrained unkindness which amounted to stiffing sub-contractors and others who worked to renovate his many properties. He was considered by many, a princely terror.
Grown people expressed themselves longingly, that they would live to see the day when that boy, Donald, would get his comeuppance.
“Something’s bound to take him down, someday. I only want to be there!”
In the 1990s, even while the magnificence of The Trump Organization struggled to pay $9 billion, young Donald’s personal debt soared to $975 million.
However, through economic downturns, (and multiple marriages), this now middle-aged prince not only managed to survive but thrived, and those who fervently wished to see him get his comeuppance would have to wait.
In the 2000s, Donald J. Trump saw himself, his family and his fortune rise to such heights that he believed himself invincible and began to test the political waters with that same brand of unrestrained unkindness he had shown earlier.
Mexico, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
But he saved his unkindest cuts for the current president and his political opponent.
“ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. And, I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”
In two years, that princely terror had not only overrun scores of political opponents, but would go on to best his democratic rival by winning the electoral vote managing to become President of the United States.
The times were indeed smiling on now, old Donald. Not only had he not released his tax records, as he promised during his campaign …
“…my taxes are under routine audit… I [will] release my tax returns when audit is complete…”
But thanks to a loophole in the constitution, he was able to place his financial holdings in a revocable trust managed by his two sons and daughter but still under his control. Thus, upon completion of a new hotel in the heart of the very city from which he ruled — Trump International Hotel Washington, DC — he was able to acquire more wealth by renting to foreign diplomats.
However, lurking behind his many victories were many misdeeds of questionable character and likely illegality.
Two years into his presidency, the man who ruled by way of the latest technology called Twitter, held sway over a group of supporters who distrusted the government and believed the lies and conspiracies the golden-haired terror spun. This malignancy had grown to include 17 investigations.
While the president and his lawyer continued to profess his innocence…
“…collusion is not a crime,”
…the language that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team were tasked by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is quite specific:
“…any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a). If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.”
Among the 17 investigations under way by Mueller and others:
1: Coordination between Donald and Russia on the attacks on the U.S. election process including manipulation of information.
2: Middle Eastern influence: Wired magazine writes (Dec. 17), “two key figures are known to be cooperating [with Mueller]: Middle East would-be power broker George Nader and Blackwater mercenary group founder Erik Prince.”
3: Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort has already been convicted of 8 felonies with regards to money-laundering. Deputy manager Rick Gates has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI.
4: Trump Tower Moscow project: not long after Donald’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison for 8 felonies, Cohen admitted lying to Congress about a pending real estate deal in Russia. Donald claimed, multiple times, that he had no business dealings in Russia. When asked why his own lawyer would admit such a thing, Donald retreated to his usual defense: “…he’s lying very simply to get a reduced sentence, OK?”
5: Trump Aides: “national security adviser Michael Flynn,” Wired reports, “and foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to charges related to their campaign and transition contacts with Russia.”
6: Obstruction of Justice: by firing FBI Director James Comey, Donald admitted, in an NBC interview, that, a) he was going to fire Comey regardless of a memo from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; and b) that the purpose of the firing had to do directly with investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
7: Campaign Conspiracy and the Trump Organization’s Finances: contrary to his statements, recent evidence has shown that Donald personally directed payments to two women with whom he had affairs – a clear violation of campaign finance laws.
8: Trump inauguration funding: based on evidence obtained during the Cohen investigation, prosecutors are examining “$107 million raised and spent by the Trump inauguration committee,” Wired says.
Additional investigations include: Foreign Lobbying, Investigations by the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, Investigations by the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Investigations by New York City, New York State, & Other State Attorneys General into the Trump Foundation and Trump family members.
Alone in his Oval Office, with a “partial” government shutdown of his own making, something had happened. A thing which, years ago, had been the eagerest hope of many good citizens could now possibly come to pass: Donald John Trump might, at long last, receive his comeuppance.
However, those who continue to suffer most are the more than 800,000 federal workers and government contractors financially damaged during the shutdown, not to mention the few million supporters who continue to believe a man whose gilded-mendacity is only exceeded by his strutting narcissism.
In years to come, the “magnificence” of the Trump legacy will likely be evaluated in the same manner as Shelly’s Ozymandias:
“…And on the pedestal, these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”