There have been many efforts by our nation’s press corps to postulate a Theory of Trump both before and after the 2016 presidential election. He’s tired! He’s Bannon’s tool to destroy the state! He didn’t really want to be president!
And all that’s probably true. But it’s possible to string together a complex web of theories that all point to one concept capable of absorbing each of these theories and more- Donald J. Trump is a Shitty Super Villain.
Good super villains evenly match and sometimes mirror their adversaries. Batman’s calculation and logic is met with chaos and psychological manipulation in the Joker, Superman’s cheesy selflessness and wholesomeness challenged by the greed and decadence of Lex Luthor, Professor X’s mission of coexistence and tolerance matched by the heighten-the-contradictions philosophy of Magneto, and so on.
Trump, a pretty obviously racist and greedy asshole who has nonetheless become history’s most successful popularity contest loser, has long focused his villainy on people less able to defend themselves, like children, small-business owners, and young women. But if I wrote up a scenario where the Trump Organization skimmed money from a child cancer charity as a fictional story, it would be dismissed by publishers as far too on-the-nose:
The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity’s efficiency: Because he can get his family’s golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Trump tells Forbes.
That’s not the case. In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free–that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.
Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.
And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.
Donald Trump, aspiring super villain. And like most of his ventures in life, be they marriages, real estate projects, or terrible designer vodka, he’s really shitty at it.