By LaKeshia N. Myers
In his most famous song, “The Gambler,” Kenny Rogers taught a valuable lesson:
“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table,
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done”
What many don’t realize is that Donald Trump is indeed a gambler. Not only was he the owner of several casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Las Vegas, Nevada; he has gambled with our country’s economy, our tax dollars and gambled with American lives.
Prior to taking office Trump gambled with the notion that he could be elected and withhold his tax returns—a voluntary custom dating back to the presidency of Richard Nixon.
Every U.S. president from Nixon onward has freely released his tax returns annually, and the IRS automatically (since the 1970s) has audited the tax returns of presidents and vice presidents. He refused, even lying to the public on numerous occasions about the tax returns. He gambled and he won.
Since Jan. 20, 2017, President Trump and his administration have also gambled with the economic future of this country. While touting a massive “tax cut”, the president actually increased our national debt by $7 trillion dollars. According to Newsweek, “Trillions of dollars have been added to the national debt over the past few months due to massive financial stimulus spending to address the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, economists point out that the debt was already increasing significantly prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Before the pandemic, the total debt had increased to more than $23 trillion in January. This occurred despite strong economic growth during Trump’s first three years in office” (Newsweek, 2020). Economists pointed to the Trump administration’s major economic legislation—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017—as the main driver of increasing debt during the president’s first three years in office. Again, he gambled (with our money) and he won.
There is also the issue of the president continuing to earn significant amounts of money while serving in office. Most presidents who happened to be independently wealthy have placed their assets into a blind trust. But not president Trump. His trust allows him to still withdraw funds, and he turned over daily operations of the Trump Organization to his children (who are also heavily involved in the operations of the White House). According to a 2020 Forbes magazine article, from 2017 to 2019, the president’s businesses made an estimated $1.9 billion of revenue. The bulk of this revenue was paid for by us. U.S. taxpayers have paid exponentially for extensive stays at Trump resorts such as Mar-a-lago, where the president spends most weekends and holidays. Of course, the meals and lodging of his staff and entourage are paid for by the federal government and that price tag is a whopping $753 million dollars. In any other situation this would be considered “double dipping” or using one’s position for personal gain, but, alas, Mr. Trump has gone unchecked throughout the duration of his presidency and struggling Americans are left footing the bill. Once more, he gambled and won.
Which brings us to a deep examination of our president’s concern—or lack thereof—for American lives. In September, it was reported that Donald Trump was made aware of the looming effects of COVID-19. On tape, Trump told journalist Bob Woodward the coronavirus was “deadly stuff” while publicly downplaying the severity of the virus. Knowing the virus was airborne, deadly, and that there was no cure, he downplayed the viciousness of the virus, telling the public it was “a hoax.” Even suggesting that Americans take unauthorized medications and/or inject bleach in order to lessen the chances of infection and death.
Meanwhile, he neglected states that had Democratic governors as a means of punishment and failed to fully enact the Defense Production Act (DPA). The DPA would have reverted existing manufacturing companies to produce needed personal protective equipment (PPE). To date, there have been over 10 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 200,000 deaths, many of which could have been prevented had we done the work necessary when the virus first took hold back in March. Alas, another roll of the dice for Trump, but this time, a very public loss for the American people.
But as any real gambler will tell you, the day will come when you eventually crap out. Nov. 3 was that day. The majority of Americans decided they’d had enough and they wanted out of this nightmare that left them used, abused and holding the bag. And while Donald J. Trump may be in denial about the results of the election, deep down he knows his days are numbered and his luck has run out, because we finally found an ace that we could keep.