Donald Trump and the Odious Company He Keeps

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"…I don't know why you like this guy (Trump)…He's a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot. He doesn't represent my party. He doesn't represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for... He's the ISIL man of the year," so said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

According to Proverbs 13:20, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” In common parlance this has come to mean, you are judged by the company you keep and so it should be with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

As Trump realized that the delegate counting process involves more strategy than simple math he hired veteran Republican strategist Paul Manafort to assist him in this process. They say that you can tell a lot about a person by who they turn to for advice. In this case, Trump turning to Manafort speak volumes.

During the 1980 Presidential campaign, Manafort was an integral part of the Reagan brain trust that developed the “Southern Strategy”. Never forget Reagan’s “states’ rights” speech at the Neshoba County Fair and the signal he sent to racists and bigots alike.

The symbolism is not lost on African Americans and others who understand history. The fairgrounds is just a few miles away from Philadelphia, Mississippi and the hallowed ground where in 1964 Civil Rights workers, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were brutally murdered. Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times, that Reagan’s speech was, “…a coded declaration of support for segregationist sentiments.”
This messaging fits right in with Trump whose language unlike Reagan, Trent Lott, Tom Tancredo and so many others before him is not so coded or subtle.

Manafort seems to have never met a despot or dictator he could not help. According to Time Magazine Manafort’s firm (Black, Manafort) helped to polish the image of Angolan guerrilla leader and head of UNITA Jonas Zavimbi. The firm was charged with the responsibility of assisting UNITA in obtaining financial support from the US. “Dole (Senator Robert Dole) had shown only general interest in Savimbi's cause until Black, the Senate majority leader's former aide, approached him on his client's behalf.

Dole promptly introduced a congressional resolution backing UNITA's insurgency and sent a letter to the State Department urging that the U.S. supply it with heavy arms. The firm's fee for such services was reportedly $600,000.”

Manafort’s firm worked to rehabilitate the image of the dictator of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko. Remember, Mobutu working with the CIA overthrew the government of Patrice Lumumba in 1965. According to The Guardian, “…he plundered and looted his way to an estimated $5bn (£3.1bn), with homes in Switzerland and France. During the cold war, he enjoyed financial support from the US, whose then president, Ronald Reagan, called him "a voice of good sense and goodwill…"

The New York Times wrote, “The struggle in that Central African country (Zaire) is between freedom and oppression. Mr. Mobutu is a Machiavellian murderer who wants to stamp out the flickering flames of democratization in Zaire.” Somehow, Manafort and his minions found Mobutu to be worthy of support and his reputation worth reclaiming.
In 1985 Manafort worked with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

After being put on trial in the Philippines in 1986, Marcos was found guilty of violating the human rights of some 10,000 Filipinos and ordered to pay a total of two billion dollars in compensation to the victims. According to The Daily Beast “In 2004, Transparency International listed him as one of the world’s 10 most notorious leaders of the previous two decades (along with Mobutu Sese Seko, another Manafort client).

They estimate Marcos embezzled between $5 million and $10 million from his people. Almost 50,000 Filipinos have filed claims for reparations for crimes against them during Marcos’s era of martial law, according to the Philippine news site Rappler.com.”

In American primary campaigns candidates tact to the more extreme sides of their respective parties in order to win the nomination of their parties. They then try to move towards the center of the political spectrum in order to win the general election since the country in neither as liberal nor conservative as the parties wish they were.

There’s a real problem with Donald Trump and his extreme hate-filled rhetoric. Anyone who says, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you…They’re sending people that have lots of problems…They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people” has no place on the mainstream American political stage.

This is not the articulation of a mentality that will keep America safe. It will only be used to turn more people against us.

Trump has called for called for surveillance against mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S. This sounds more like a throwback to the racist mentality articulated by Chief Justice Taney in the Dred Scott decision, “...can negro whose ancestors were imported into this country and sold as slaves…become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument (the Constitution) to the citizen…”

Simply put, do the protections of the Constitution apply to everyone in this Country? Taney said no! “they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them.”

Trump’s call for suspending the Constitutional protections for American Muslims is not the world view of a person who is campaigning to become the “leader of the free world”. This is the world view of a bigot who either does not understand the protections guaranteed to all citizens or chooses to ignore them. Not to mention, according to Trump, "The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families...”

Senator Graham said that Trump is a “…race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.” Graham must be on to something. Trump should not only be judged by what he says but also by the company he keeps. It’s not only what you say; it’s what you do. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds…” Romans 2:6

Will Trump become like Zavimbi, Mobutu and Marcos before him; the next despot client that Manafort can place in his “winners’ category?

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Leon,” on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: wjl3us@yahoo.com. www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com © 2016 InfoWave Communications, LLC

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