SUCKER PUNCHED by TRUMP, REDUX

©2015 jbjd

Donald Trump obviously knows a little about federal election law. After all, he finally managed to file papers with the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) to begin collecting money and run for President of the United States on June 22, 2015. DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. But he was talking about running for President back in 2011. As a Republican. He even hinted back then, if he lost the Republican primary, he might run as a 3rd party candidate. Is Donald Trump Serious About a 2012 Run for President?  Ultimately, he decided not to run in 2012. Or in 2000, or 1988.

Point is, if Mr. Trump is intellectually (and fiscally) competent to be our President, surely he understands the connection between filing papers with the FEC and conducting a campaign. It’s simple: in order to accept donations and turn them into campaign expenditures, including paid political advertisements; a candidate for President must first file papers with the FEC, which monitors the financial transactions. Sounds simple to me. Then, when President Obama filed his nomination papers on April 4, 2012, and began collecting and spending money for his renomination; why did Trump insist the timing of those campaign expenditures resulted from his – Trump’s – ongoing prodding, and were not just run-of-the-mill paid political advertisements? Why didn’t he take advantage of the opportunity he had, by virtue of his ‘bully pulpit,’ to educate the general public about some of the inner workings of the political process?

A few years ago, I wrote a column entitled TRUMP to LEMMINGS: DO NOT LOOK BEFORE you LEAP! (copied below, for your convenience) in which I detailed support for my opinion, Trump is just another snake-oil salesman, distinguished from Obama only by the color of his skin (and whatever is his latest party designation).

I haven’t changed my mind. Donald Trump is either too stupid to be President; or too sinister. Take your pick.

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My mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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TRUMP to LEMMINGS: DO NOT LOOK BEFORE you LEAP!

©2012 jbjd

Today, in a calculated display of hubris rivaled only by a production spawned from President Obama’s re-election campaign, Donald Trump has unveiled his much touted October “bombshell“: a “deal” to entice Mr. Obama to produce both his college and passport applications and records. Trump promises that jumping through this hoop “by October 31,” and “to my satisfaction,” and “if it’s complete,” will yield a check for $5,000,000 to Obama’s designated ‘charity.’ (I put the word ‘charity’ in single quotes because in addition to listing a well known outfit like “American Cancer Society”; he lists not only the umbrella enterprise of “AIDS research”; but also the generalized category “inner city children in Chicago.”) He couches his request in terms of acting on behalf of the people, to end their “questions” and “anger.” Yes, he knows that the President will be doing a “great service for the country” by allowing them to “know something about their President.” In short, by releasing the documents Trump mentioned, the President suddenly will “become transparent.”

Of course, some of us know, no “thing” coming out of this dog-and-pony show will inform anyone where Barack Obama was born.

For starters, notice that Trump qualified his reference to Obama’s “long-form birth certificate” by adding (after an obvious pause) “or whatever it may be.” It’s the “whatever it may be” which should have been the tip-off, Trump is wearing his circus barker hat. Why do you suppose he is ‘hedging his bets’ as to the ‘document’s’ authenticity?

As I explained in SHE SAID / HE SAID: SCRIPTING the 04.27.11 LAUNCH of PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE back on April 1, 2012 (and other articles linked therein), what was released on April 27 was the political ad campaign conceived, executed, and launched by the President’s re-election campaign, the contents of which were fully protected by the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on restrictions on political speech. Featuring the image of the mock-up of a long-form birth certificate, the ads ran on internet sites such as WhiteHouse.gov/blog. (Emphasis added.)

Do you suppose that Mr. Trump, in April 2011 still a possible contender for the Presidency; doesn’t recognize a political ad campaign when he sees one?

Trump asserts he forced the President’s April 27 release of this advertising image: “I’m very honored to have gotten him to release his long-form birth certificate…” Presumably, he means, in a desperate attempt to quell doubts as to the President’s birth status which have swirled unabated for more than 3 years, since the primary in 2008; it was his – Trump’s – many references to concerns as to whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen, uttered as a (pseudo) Presidential candidate in the spring of 2011 which compelled the release of the document at this particular time. (Again, crediting the release of the certificate – “or whatever it may be” – to the President, as opposed to correctly attributing the release to the President’s re-election campaign, cannot have been an innocent oversight.) But, of course, Trump had no more to do with either the substance or the timing of the April 27 appearance of the long form image; than any of the other millions of Americans challenging the narrative of Obama’s birth and demanding some sort of documentation. In fact, its release was triggered by the formal announcement of the President’s re-election campaign 3 weeks earlier, on April 4, and the accompanying mandatory filing with the FEC which then allowed the solicitation of funds in his name by the newly formed re-election campaign, funds which the campaign immediately translated into expenditures on political advertising such as the long-form ad. In other words, it was the official (read, legal) kick-off of the President’s re-election campaign which provided the first opportunity to address what were ongoing eligibility issues that could jeopardize his re-election. (The formal kick-off of the President’s campaign was also accompanied by previously scheduled events associated with the re-election campaign, including a stint on Oprah and a major NY fundraiser, also on the 27th. Id.)

SHE SAID / HE SAID contains not only a lucid (albeit lengthy) explanation of the long-form image as a campaign expenditure; but also references several other articles on the “jbjd” blog, dispelling the long-form myth, including  HOW to WRITE SMART CANDIDATE ELIGIBILITY LAWS in your STATE (and make applying to get on the ballot harder than applying to get into Harvard), which points to the lethal problems associated with allowing candidate ‘self-authentication.’ Indeed, did you notice that Trump’s deal for Obama’s records never specifies who must transmit these records, or to whom these records must be submitted? And while he says, the documents must be “complete” and to his “satisfaction”; he never specifies, who will determine whether these criteria are met. Because he knows better.

For example, during the recent Presidential debates; Obama verified the authenticity of some of his ‘facts’ by citing their source was “reporters.” What if these same “reporters” verify any forthcoming records? (See Pooh-poohing Pulitzer) And recall that Annenberg Political Fact Check staffers with no expertise in document authentication confirmed, the mock-up of the President’s Certification of Live Birth, and accompanying ad copy, were real. (See RUMORS, LIES, AND UNSUBSTANTIATED ‘FACTS’) Assuming she is being sincere in this heated exchange with John Sununu from the Romney campaign; Reporter Soledad O’Brien is only one of millions of Americans who still wrongly believe, what APFC says must be true.

UPDATE 09.17.15: The original video is no longer available. In its stead, here is a link to a page explaining what happened between Ms. Soledad and Mr. Sununu on CNN; and points to the recent metamorphosis to the ‘factcheck’ URL. http://www.tcunation.com/profiles/blogs/soledad-o-brien-political-hack-constantly-getting-caught-in-the

In sum, Donald Trump knows better than to contend that any ‘documents’ forthcoming through this publicity stunt will increase the knowledge of the American people about the circumstances of our President’s birth; or diminish our ire at what many of us feel is a con. On the contrary; by failing to take advantage of media opportunities like this, to educate the public that, legally, the April 11, 2011 long-form release by the Obama re-election campaign was only part of a political ad launch; and worse, by cynically encouraging the Obama campaign this opportunity to repeat that ploy; Trump only broadens the con, and exacerbates our ire.

Obviously, Mr. Trump thinks most Americans are as foolish as does President Obama.

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My mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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