Stannard: Now there are seven
By Bob Stannard
"I feel very badly. I haven't been dealing with him for a very long period of time. I don't like that project. I thought it was being done for showboating reasons." Donald J. Trump upon learning of the arrest of his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
Is seven the lucky number? Yesterday we learned that another one of the president's former campaign manager was arrested for defrauding the president's supporters who want to build a wall between the United States and Mexico; the same wall that Mexico was going to pay for.
The plan concocted by Brian Kolfage, founder of "We Build the Wall," was to solicit donations from Trump supporters to privately build the wall. Ironically, they had to do this as the president was unsuccessful in negotiating the support needed in Congress, thus calling into question his self-proclaimed negotiating skills.
Kolfage was having trouble raising funds. Enter Steve Bannon.
Bannon is still very connected to the right wing donor base. A red flag should have been raised when the "We Build the Wall" foundation declared that 100 percent of donors money would go straight into building the wall that the president was able to do. Had this been true this would have been the first foundation to ever use 100 percent of its revenue toward the professed goal. There are always administrative costs associated with and foundation. The scam was fishy from the start.
Bannon's role was to reorganize the foundation to become a 501(c)-4. This would allow donors to donate anonymously. These are sometimes known as "dark money" non-profits. They were able to raise over $25 million from 250,000 donors who were led to believe that this group was really going to do what they said they'd do. "We Build the Wall" did build half a mile of the wall on private land. But not 100 percent of the raised funds went towards the wall.
According to the indictment Kolfage allegedly pilfered almost $400,000 for his personal use. Bannon allegedly was able to siphon off $1 million dollars for himself. It's starting to feel like maybe the people working for the president are really not very good people and not altogether very smart either. The one thing that they do appear to be good at is getting caught.
Could it be a larger problem? Could it be that the president is either not a very good judge of character, or worse; maybe he's one of them. The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report last week that made it clear that Trump's campaign did collude with Russia.
This comes as no surprise to those who have read all there was to learn from his, and his family's, actions. Remember, he was impeached for trying to blackmail a foreign leader to solicit help in the 2020 elections.
We have a president who has lived a corrupt life. He's stiffed those who worked for him. He's cheated on his wives. He's bilked people out of money with a fake university. He's stolen money from his own charity that was set up for kids with cancer. That got him and his family banned from serving on any non-profit organization for a while. He's done business with mobsters for many years.
It's simply who he is. To his core he's been a morally bankrupt person from the time he was a young boy competing with his siblings for his daddy's attention. Think about what has transpired in America in the past nearly four years. Think about how our standing in the world has diminished. Think about how America has become the laughing stock of the world. Give some thought to the number of people who this president has hired who have been forced to leave under a cloud of corruption. Think of the ineptitude we've all witnessed as he mismanaged and lied to us about the pandemic and look at where we are now because of his inability and unwillingness to listen to experts. We won't even know the level of destruction this one man has imposed on our nation for years to come.
After all that he has put us through, now there are seven. Seven people in his inner circle who have either been indicted, arrested or convicted and sent to jail. All three of his campaign managers have been arrested; albeit the charges were dropped on one of them.
What does all this mean? It means that when you have a president trying to convince you that he is the "law and order president," it should be clear to all of you by now that he is the polar opposite of law and order. He is a crook and conman.
The only unresolved issue for Nov. 3 is whether or not you're going to continue being the mark or are you going to move us away from the worst four years in recent history?
Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Journal.
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