Of all the frauds that Donald Trump is trying to perpetrate on American voters, the most deceitful is his claim to be on the side of our country’s working people.
Before voters buy into Trump’s vague promises to protect American jobs and boost wages, they need to know something about his actual record when it comes to American workers.
Trump has turned away hundreds of American workers to hire cheap foreign labor instead at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.
The New York Times reported that since 2010, only 17 of 300 American residents who sought jobs at the club were hired. Instead Mar-a-Lago sought to fill the jobs with hundreds of guest workers from Romania and other countries.
This seems to be a pattern with Trump. In the early 1980s his contractor brought in some 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish the site of the future Trump Tower in New York City.
Given Trump’s famous attention to business details, he must have known.
Asked at a debate in November about increasing the federal minimum wage from the current poverty-level $7.25 an hour, Trump said wages are already “too high.”
Since then, Trump has tried to backtrack, but has said the minimum wage should be left to the states. In Virginia, that would keep it at — yes — $7.25 an hour.
A majority of employees at Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas voted in December to unionize. But he still refuses to negotiate a contract with the workers.
As the proportion of union workers has shrunk since the 1960s, the middle class’s share of the national income has shrunk at about the same rate. The 1950s, remembered nostalgically by many Trump supporters, was an era of strong and growing unions as well as rising incomes at all levels. That was no coincidence.
Despite Trump’s constant talk about bringing manufacturing jobs back from other countries to the U.S., his practices when it comes to his own merchandise tell a different story. As Hillary Clinton pointed out in a recent speech:
“Trump’s own products are made in a lot of countries that aren’t named America: Trump Ties are made in China, Trump Suits in Mexico, Trump Furniture in Turkey, Trump Picture Frames in India, Trump Barware in Slovenia. … And I’d love for him to explain how all of that fits with his talk about ‘America First.’”
As someone who makes a special effort to buy American-made products and to protect American jobs, I resent Trump’s hypocrisy.
Trump routinely stiffs the people who work for him — including plumbers, painters, waiters and bartenders. USA Today reported in June:
“Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will ‘protect your job.’ But… he has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans… who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.”
And let’s not forget his now-defunct “Trump University,” which existed solely to scam ordinary working people and retirees out of their hard-earned money.
Moody’s Analytics, an economic research service not noted for leftwing bias, reported in June that, if all of Trump’s stated policies become law, there would be 3.5 million fewer jobs and an unemployment rate as high as 7 percent (compared to the current 5 percent) at the end of Trump’s four-year term.
Too many American workers and American communities have failed to share in the uneven economic recovery from the terrible financial crash of 2008. But consider the contrast between Trump and his Democratic opponent in the 2016 election.
While Trump blusters, threatens and avoids specifics, Hillary Clinton has put forward a detailed plan to help struggling working families. This includes a substantial increase in the federal minimum wage and a plan to repair and update the nation’s crumbling infrastructure while creating millions of good-paying jobs. She opposes unfair trade deals that hurt American workers and she supports legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize unions without employer interference.
I believe most working people, here in Virginia and elsewhere, will see Trump’s talk about building a wall (and making Mexico pay for it!) and imposing huge tariffs on imported goods (which would invite retaliation and make it virtually impossible to sell American products overseas) for the empty nonsense it is.
Despite all evidence, Trump claims to be on the side of American workers. But the only person whose side he is on is named Donald J. Trump.