Here's the deal. Police in Santa Maria, CA say a 20-year-old driver was cited for crashing into cars near a pro-Trump demonstration Sunday, and witnesses detained him at the scene until officers. The Trump administration has begun gathering driver's license data from at least four states as it seeks to count how many undocumented people live in the USA, a top priority for the president as.
President Trump has long claimed to be a fierce defender of the 'forgotten' American. In his unsettlingly dark inauguration address, for example, Trump declared: 'The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. ... And I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever let you down.'
But Trump has long made a career of letting down just these sorts of Americans.
Despite his fiery rally rhetoric and over-the-top working-class bluster, Trump's hypocrisy on this score has always been gobsmackingly obvious, since in his former life as a real estate tycoon he left a long trail of small businesses and independent contractors feeling bilked or burned.
Granted, fights between developers and contractors over payments are not uncommon in the construction and real estate business. But consultants and lawyers in the industry say that Trump's tactics — like using last-minute excuses to either refuse payment or renegotiate terms — were especially cutthroat and petty.
Let's take a brief (and hardly comprehensive) tour of some of the Americans left burned by the president.
1. Trump's personal driver
Trump Driver Coronavirus
This is the latest entry in Trump's ledger: Noel Cintron, 59, says he worked as a chauffeur for Trump and his family for 25 years. On top of a mammoth unpaid overtime bill — 3,300 hours in the last six years — Cintron says he only got a raise twice after 2003: to $68,000 in 2006, and then to $75,000 in 2010. The second bump came with a requirement that Cintron give up his health benefits. All told, Cintron is suing Trump for at least $350,000 in damages.
2. A Philadelphia cabinet maker
Edward Friel Jr. owned a family business that harked back to the 1940s. During the Atlantic City boom four decades later, he landed a $400,000 contract to make slot machines, bars, desks, and other furniture for Harrah's at Trump Plaza. But Trump refused to pay the final bill of around $84,000. Friel's son suspected that Trump also used his clout in the industry to block the company from getting other Atlantic City contracts. Friel had to file for bankruptcy a few years later.
3. A paint seller and event workers in Florida
After putting in long hours for a special event at Trump National Doral, a Miami resort, 48 servers had to sue for unpaid overtime. The settlements averaged around $800 per worker, but went as high as $3,000 in one case. On top of that, a paint shop owner named Juan Carlos Enriquez also sued Trump's business, claiming he never got the final payment for a paint shipment to the same resort. In 2017, after a three-year legal fight, a court found in Enriquez's favor, and ordered Trump's company to pay the final $32,000, plus $300,000 in legal fees.
4. A drapery business in Las Vegas
Back in 2007, Larry Walters got an order for over $700,000 of curtains, pillow covers, and bedspreads for Trump's hotel in Sin City. Walters said additional orders grew the job to $1.2 million, but the developer, a joint venture LLC called Trump Ruffin, only paid $553,000. Eventually, Walters responded by halting work and keeping the remaining fabric as collateral. Trump Ruffin sued, and sheriff's deputies actually showed up at Walters' business to take the fabric away. Knowing they could drag the legal fight out, Walters eventually settled for $823,000 — about $380,000 short of what he said he was owed. He closed the business in 2011.
According to court records, Walters never had a dispute with any other client.
5. A toilet maker in Atlantic City
It was 1988 when Forest Jenkins won a $200,000 contract to install toilet partitions at Trump's Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. For a modest business like Jenkins', it was a huge score. But thanks to the enormous debts Trump built up, the casino went belly up just a few years later, and the payment never came. After years of fighting in bankruptcy court, Jenkins only got $70,000 back, and was nearly ruined in the process. According to CNN, dozens of other contractors on the project went through the same ordeal.
There's plenty more, like the jewelry store owner who was strong-armed out of his kiosk in Trump Tower, or the West Palm Beach chandelier company that Trump sued to avoid paying half of a $34,000 bill. Even lawyers who helped Trump in his fights with contractors later got into payment fights with Trump himself.
Of course, not everyone who ever worked with Trump is unhappy, and he's won plenty of his legal fights. Reuterslooked at over 50 court cases and liens related to Trump projects: 'The majority said they were paid in full and happy to work for him but at least a dozen said they had been left out of pocket or had watched as other contractors were short-changed.' A far more sweeping investigation by USA Today found Trump was involved in over 3,500 lawsuits during the last three decades. 'At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings' were from contractors claiming they got stiffed. USA Today also found '24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage.'
Trump says this is just business. 'Let's say that they do a job that's not good, or a job that they didn't finish, or a job that was way late. I'll deduct from their contract, absolutely,' Trump once said. As for Noel Cintron, Trump's longtime driver, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said he was always 'paid generously and in accordance with the law. Once the facts come out we expect to be fully vindicated in court.'
With these sorts of disputes, who you believe often comes down to whose integrity, honor, and moral character you have more faith in.
As to how Trump stacks up on those metrics, I leave it to readers to judge.
Donald Trump won the Indiana primary on Tuesday night, and Ted Cruz dropped out of the GOP race. This turn of events makes it highly likely that the man who has said that he’d ban Muslims from entering the U.S., that Mexico is sending rapists and drugs to our country, and that a woman should be punished if she has an abortion — among other statements — will be the Republican presidential nominee.
Here is a comprehensive list of the sports figures who’ve endorsed a Trump presidency so far.
1. Retired college basketball coach Bobby Knight
Knight endorsed Trump, and then Trump thanked the former coach for helping him win Indiana.
2. Golfer John Daly
3. Retired NBA player Dennis Rodman
4. Retired MLB outfielder Johnny Damon
“I want (Trump) for president,” Damon said. “I’m a Trump fan ever since I met him seven or eight years ago. Everything he does, he does first-class – his hotels, his businesses, his golf courses. The issues all the other politicians failed to discuss, (Trump) is bringing us up to speed.”
5. Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz
“I always found him to be a good-hearted person,” Buchholz said.
6. Retired NFL player and coach Mike Ditka
“I think that he has the fire in his belly to make America great again,” Ditka said, “and probably do it the right way.”
7. Retired boxer Mike Tyson
“Why wouldn’t anybody like that?” Tyson asked. “A guy that came from where he came from and doing what he’s doing? And now this is where he’s at now.”
8. Jets center Nick Mangold
Mangold introduced Trump at an Ohio rally, calling him “number one at his position” and “a great person.”
9. Bills guard Richie Incognito
10. Retired Patriots tackle Matt Light
“I’m for common sense,” Light said at a Trump fundraiser in Massachusetts. He also said he didn’t see a reason to get involved in politics before Trump’s candidacy.
11. Retired linebacker Shawne Merriman
Merriman said that Trump has always been a good friend.
12. Retired Yankees player Paul O’Neill
13. Retired UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz
“It’s just not Mexicans that we have worry about,” Ortiz said. “It’s the Muslims, it’s the radicals, that come in that have the opportunity to come in from to our country and do the thing with terrorism that’s hindering our country. We shouldn’t be afraid to walk around and look over our shoulders and some guy has a bomb in his pocket or something stupid.”
14. Retired NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens
“This may be what the country needs and Trump,” Owens said. “He’s a guy who won’t put up with B.S. and has what it takes to change how government is run. With that being said, Trump … you’re hired.”
15. Bills head coach Rex Ryan
“We’re all here tonight because we all support Donald Trump,” Ryan said at a rally in Buffalo.
16. Retired UFC fighter Chael Sonnen
“I’m a huge supporter of Trump,” Sonnen said. “When people talk about him, I hear all these political analysts, they’re just terrible. That’s another space if I had enough time I would just go and take over because they don’t even know what they’re talking about. They put on their fancy suits, they sit behind their microphones, they collect a paycheck and they don’t know a damn thing about what they’re talking about.”
17. Retired NBA player Latrell Sprewell
Sprewell posted then deleted, a tweet in support of Trump in February.
18. President of MMA and UFC Dana White
White gave his endorsement on TMZ sports.
19. Retired MLB baseball player John Rocker
“I wish someone, excuse the frankness here, would have the sack, would have the backbone to make unpopular comments,” Rocker said. “And when folks come out—mainly media, special interest groups, factions, things like that—and just start hammering them and demanding apologies. I’ve always wanted to see the person that’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ve made these comments, these are my beliefs, and you know what, if you don’t like it stick it. I’m not apologizing, I’m not changing,” Rocker said. “I think that is something that millions and millions of Americans have been waiting for probably a decade or two to hear something. Maybe even since Reagan.”
20. Retired college football coach Lou Holz
Holtz said he’s stayed at Trump’s hotel and played at his golf course, and that “he does nothing but go first class in everything. He wants this country to be first class as well.”
21. Retired wrestler Jesse Ventura
“If Donald Trump were to ask me to be his running mate,” Ventura said, “I would give it very serious consideration because anything to break up the status quo of this country … This country needs to be shaken up. It needs to be shaken to its very core, and Donald Trump is doing that.”
22. Some University of Iowa student-athletes
23. Tom Brady (but only sort of)
Brady said he hoped Trump would be elected, then said he was just “supporting his friend,”then said he never endorsed Trump, and then he cut a press conference off when he was asked to talk about it.
24. Retired football player Herschel Walker
“There’s not a doubt in my mind right now he is my frontrunner,” Walker said. “I’m not going to say anything negative about him because it’s not true.”
25. NASCAR CEO Brian France
“I’m here to tell you he wins with his family,” France said. “Any of his children, you’d be proud to have them as part of your family. That’s how I judge a winner, how somebody manages their family, raises their family.”
26, 27, 28, and 29. NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman, Dave Ragan, Chase Elliott, and retired driver Bill Elliott
They all appeared at the same rally as France to endorse Trump.