Donald Trump has a long history of going for the jugular, by any means, fair or foul. (Usually, foul truth be told.) He has attacked his opponents mercilessly, and without a hint of wisdom. He has called them corrupt, weak, jokes, liars, clowns, frauds, and typical politicians. No one got more of his poisonous verbal effusions, accusations, and criticisms, than Hillary Clinton. He did his best to make her appear crooked, corrupt and weak. He claimed she was a puppet for Goldman Sachs, owned by special interests and she was a going to give our country to big donors. In short, he called her pretty much everything but the boogieman.
Already his past vitriol is being swept under the rug, ignored by the media. Sadly, that means that a lot of short-memoried people may not realize what is happening. Lisa Lerer laid out five ways that Trump has become the criticisms he leveled against Clinton, already.
1. GOLDMAN SACHS
Then: “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs,” Trump said at a South Carolina rally in February, when he was locked in a fierce primary battle with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. “They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”
Now: A number of former employees of the Wall Street bank will pay a key role in crafting Trump’s economic policy. He’s tapped Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn to lead the White House National Economic Council. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary nominee, spent 17 years working at Goldman Sachs and Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, started his career as an investment banker at the firm.
Trump is following in a long political tradition, though one he derided on the campaign trail: If Cohn accepts the nomination, he’ll be the third Goldman executive to run the NEC.
2. BIG DONORS
Then: “Crooked Hillary. Look, can you imagine another four years of the Clintons? Seriously. It’s time to move on. And she’s totally controlled by Wall Street and all these people who gave her millions,” Trump said at a May rally in Lynden, Washington.
Now: Trump has stocked his Cabinet with six top donors — far more than any recent White House. “I want people who made a fortune. Because now they’re negotiating with you, OK?” Trump said, in a December 9 speech in Des Moines.
The biggest giver? Incoming small business administrator Linda McMahon gave $7.5 million to a super PAC backing Trump, more than a third of the money collected by the political action committee.
3. NEWS CONFERENCES
Then: “She doesn’t do news conferences, because she can’t,” Trump said at an August rally in Ashburn, Virginia. “She’s so dishonest she doesn’t want people peppering her with questions.”
Now: Trump opened his last news conference on July 27, saying: “You know, I put myself through your news conferences often, not that it’s fun.”
He hasn’t held one since.
Trump skipped the news conference a president-elect typically gives after winning the White House. Instead, he released a YouTube video of under three minutes. He also recently abruptly canceled plans to hold his first post-election news conference, opting instead to describe his plans for managing his businesses in tweets. “I will hold a press conference in the near future to discuss the business, Cabinet picks and all other topics of interest. Busy times!” he tweeted in mid-December.
4. FAMILY TIES:
Then: “It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office. They sold access and specific actions by and really for I guess the making of large amounts of money,” Trump said at an August rally in Austin.
Now: While Trump has promised to separate himself from his businesses, there is plenty of overlap between his enterprises and his immediate family. His companies will be run by his sons, Donald Jr and Eric. And his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have joined Trump at a number of meetings with world leaders of countries where the family has financial interests.
In a financial disclosure he was required to file during the campaign, Trump listed stakes in about 500 companies in at least 25 countries.
Ivanka, in particular, has been caught making early efforts to leverage her father’s new position into profits. After an interview with the family appeared on “60 Minutes,” her jewelry company, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, blasted out an email promoting the $10,800 gold bangle bracelet that she had worn during the appearance. The company later said they were “proactively discussing new policies and procedures.”
Ivanka is also auctioning off a private coffee meeting with her to benefit her brother’s foundation. The meeting is valued at $50,000, with the current top bid coming in at $25,000.
“United States Secret Service will be Present for the Duration of the Experience,” warns the auction site.
Trump on Saturday said he would dissolve his charitable foundation amid efforts to eliminate any conflicts of interest before he takes office next month.
Trump, with his billionaire cabinet and lack of experience, is shaping up to be exactly what he alleged Hillary Clinton would be. As it turns out his constant demonization of everything Clinton is beginning to look like a primer in how he will act as president.