This week, Donald Trump embarrassed himself once again and lost what little political legitimacy he still had, when he took to YouTube on Wednesday to offer a $5 million charitable donation in return for Obama releasing his college records and passport application.
Many are now asking whether Obama should even give this demand serious consideration. If he is to uphold his integrity, he shouldn’t give it a second thought.
Trump promised on Monday’s “Fox and Friends” to make a huge announcement that would change the course of the coming presidential election. He characterised it as “serious dirt” and “very, very big” to the point that the media would “cover it in a very big fashion.” What instead materialized was his odd ‘deal’ that expires at 5pm on October 31.
Etan Thomas aptly commented that “Trump made the media believe he had a royal flush when in fact, all he had in his possession was a joker.”
All that Trump’s stunt has achieved in the presidential race is continued disrespect for the current President of the United States and leader of the free world by suggesting that Obama is somehow both a fraud and a fake.
The fact that Romney sought, and gained, Trump’s endorsement for the presidency earlier this year only brings into question Romney’s judgement. In such a close presidential race, Trump’s poorly judged action could have an impact on the Republican Party’s chances on election day.
Last year, Obama pandered to demands from the so-called ‘birthers’ by releasing his birth certificate in the hope that this would silence further speculation. Unlike Trump’s new demands, Obama’s birthplace has fundamental implications given the constitutional provision that thepresident to be born in the United States. While Trump accused President Obama of being the “least transparent President in American history,” what does it really matter even if he is?
Fox’s Bill O’Reilly has put it best, stating that “it’s not important. He’s the President of the U.S. and what’s important is whether he can turn the economy around, that’s what’s important.”
More seriously, CBS’s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer said of Trump last year regarding the controversy the billionaire cause over Obama’s birth certificate that “there is an ugly strain of racism that’s running through this whole thing.” While Trump has stated unapologetically in the past that people who knew him “would laugh” at the suggestion he is racist, the world watched in disbelief as Trump once again targeted Obama’s credibility this week.
Furthermore, this most recent stunt simply adds to claims that Trump is a ‘lousy philanthropist,’ given the absurd conditions he’s placed on the $5 million donation. What could be seen as loose change to him should be given freely without condition to help the millions in need both at home and abroad; he should not be forcing Obama in this current situation.
Comfortingly, the vast majority of the American public have not jumped on board with Trump’s deal and many in the media have taken the opportunity to turn the joke around on him:
David Letterman: “Hey Don, I’ll give you $5 million if you release that thing on your head. Let him go! Let him be free!”
Steven Colbert: “He has to have it by 5 o’clock on Halloween because that night he’s renting out his enormous orange head as a jack o’lantern.”
President Obama even joined in; responding to Jay Leno’s probing about what it was between him and Trump, he joked that “this all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.”
Obama shouldn’t have to give into Trump’s most recent demands, if only to prevent a downward spiral of every piece of paperwork relating to every future president being dug up for public scrutiny. While it is essential for presidential candidates and the president to be transparent, such deals are definitely a step too far. What’s more important is the individual’s ability to run the country. For every second Obama has to deal with these calls, another second is taken away from the important business of running the country and getting the economy back on track.
This incident has demonstrated once again that Donald Trump should stick to what he knows – business – and retreat from the political world before embarrassing himself further and causing unnecessary political havoc.