Basic Instincts: The Imperial and Impervious President

By Michael Willard

An oyster and shrimp cocktail at Trump International Hotel costs $120 washed down with a $10 Sour Monkey beer. But I prefer the vendor across the street hawking a hot dog and soda pop for under $5 bucks.

The last time I was in Trump’s DC hotel was probably 30 years ago and it was called the Old Post Office at the time. It had been dolled-up as an indoor mall on the lower floor. Now, it’s a garish Trump palace.

Memories of the building were brought back to me by a retired FBI agent and friend Jack Owens, a West Virginia native who now writes books from Birmingham, Al. about a serial killer named Pock.

Pock scribbles various epitaphs on his floppy green hats with a Sharpie pen, such as “Give me Liberty or Give me Fertilizer” (he works at a nursery). By coincidence, our President is also skilled at Sharpie art.

The other day Trump altered the course of a hurricane with his Sharpie to include Alabama when the official weather service indicated “no way, Hosea.” I am not equating the two deviations — Trump and Pock — just making a casual observation on character.

Other than his macabre habits, Pock seems an upstanding guy.

My friend Jack was incensed that the building where he had his early FBI classes in a room a paper airplane toss from Director J. Edgar Hoover’s office, would be graced with the Trump imprimatur.

To Jack, this was like turning a holy shrine into a bordello, and for sure the transactions that go on there are not much different, only the prices are higher with big shots and governments hoping to curry favor with Trump.

But that’s just the way this Administration rolls.

When I saw the Donald hawking his money-losing Doral Resort in Florida as the site of the next G-7 Conference, the image of a time-share salesman in chartreuse coat came to mind.

The man is not our President. He’s the National Carnival Barker: “Step right up folks. See the bearded lady swallow the flaming sword, and, by the way, do I have some swamp land to sell.”

Trump is good at selling, and what we call in advertising “romancing the product”.

Problem is his follow through is about the same as a Class A. southpaw from the Amarillo Sod Poodles with an ERA in the stratosphere and his heat icicle slow. The evidence here, of course, is his multiple bankruptcies, not to mention international cockups that impact the world.

Then, this month, there was the №2 oddity, Vice President Mike Pence, sucking up to the boss by staying at our President’s property — another losing venture — in Ireland, several hours away from his official meetings.

The fact is — just up until mid-summer — Trumps golf outings to his own clubs have cost U.S taxpayers more than $100 million, which included two dozen trips to Florida, and 15 to his New Jersey property.

I guess this might be acceptable if Trump were getting more physically fit to tackle the country’s business and the escalating crises which sprout like mushrooms after a spring rain.

However, each day he looks more and more like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, waddling from golf cart to green.

The emoluments clause of the US Constitution is being bandied about by Democrats a lot these days, citing it as another brick on the road to why Trump should be impeached.

While padding your own pockets as President seems unseemly, I go to a higher authority for expertise.

Lawrence Tribe, a constitutional law scholar at Harvard, thinks Trump has stepped in this muck often, including two times in the same week with Pence’s Ireland stay and Trump’s suggesting his resort for the next G-7.

In this words: “There are two Emoluments Clauses, The one you’re violating when you line your pocket by having Pence stay at your resort & commute is the Domestic [Emoluments Clause]. The one you’re planning to violate by having the G7 stay at the Doral without Congress’s consent is the Foreign Emoluments Clause.”

I personally don’t believe Trump could even spell E-M-O-l-U-M-E-N-T; and, in my universe, that’s not nearly as important as the larger issues of disastrous policy decisions, such as on climate change and scrapping the Iran nuclear agreement.

Such as — and this is what really ticked me off — Trump urging that the man who attempted to steal our elections — and probably did — Vladimir Putin, be invited back into G-7 membership.

When he did that, Donald Trump upchucked his lunch on America’s clean carpet, and that is unforgivable.

Image for post
Image for post
Willard is a novelist, international entrepreneur, and public relations executive

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store