By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO
On November 4, 2016, no one was more surprised that Donald Trump had won an upset campaign victory than one man in New York City; Donald J. Trump.
Throughout his Quixotic campaign for President, Trump had defied conventional political wisdom and used combative, divisive, and even insulting language in his quest to defeat a dozen experienced Republican candidates in his quest to be President.
His campaign had started, many suspected, four years earlier when President Barack Obama made fun of Trump at the White House Correspondence dinner.
Obama made a joke that Trump could be President because he was experienced in making tough decisions, like having to choose between hiring actor Gary Busey or singer Meat Loaf during an episode of Celebrity Apprentice.
Trump later launched a public campaign to find proof that Obama had not been born in Hawaii, and, therefore, as Trump claimed, Obama was not eligible to be president. The “birther” movement, as it became known, was a popular conspiracy theory among Republicans, and gave Trump some standing among right-wing voters.
When the State of Hawaii released an official copy of Obama birth certificate, Trump promised to deliver proof that it was a fake. For another year, Trump milked the conspiracy theory that eventually went nowhere.
From that, a campaign for President was born.
Trump launched his campaign by claiming Mexico only sends rapist, murderers, and drug dealers (and some normal people) to the US. He promised to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it. And he promised to bring coal back to save jobs in an industry that even China is running away from.
He seemed to bask in the spotlight of being considered a serious contender for President. He promised to fund his campaign personally. He promised to “drain the swamp”, alleging that Washington, D.C. was full of unsavory creatures that protected their own power at the expense of hard working taxpayers.
Trump ran the board in the primary elections and secured the Republican nomination against well-established politicians like Bush, Christie, Huckabee, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich.
The unthinkable had happened; a first-time candidate reality star business mogul with a checkered past had become the standard bearer of Ronald Reagan’s party, and was set to take on Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Political polls and experts all predicted that Clinton would run away with the election. Even Clinton herself seemed overly confident; so much so, that she failed to visit key states like Michigan and Wisconsin in the final weeks of the election.
Trump had become an aggressive campaigner, leading raucous rallies where chanting crowds yelled out “Lock her up!”, referring to Clinton for her alleged misuse of classified information. He seemed poised to be the most popular and populous election loser in history. Many thought he would use his new found popularity to launch his own media network to continue fighting the establishment he so often decried.
But late on election night, as results from key states came in, the anointment of Clinton began to look like it was in trouble. Key counties in important states for were coming in for Trump, contrary to the polling that had predicted big leads for Clinton. By midnight, it was clear that Trump would pull off the biggest upset in political of all time.
On the morning of January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Not since General Dwight D. Eisenhower had a political notice been elected to the Oval Office. It seemed like a dream come true for Trump. Or so he thought.
Trump the businessman had made his career through a series of real estate, casino, and licensing deals that had fluctuated from a claimed fortune of billions to several bankruptcies and comebacks.
His business has often raised claims of questionable financing and underhanded tactics.
His Trump University real estate program had been sued for millions of dollars in a fraud case. And Trump had often surrounded himself with colorful characters with even more colorful pasts.
Upon his election, Trump decided not to divest himself from his complex web of hundreds of companies, and, instead, left his two sons to run the empire. Many critics charged that his continued business ownership would create conflicts of interest with being President. Never had anyone with such diverse and complex businesses been elected.
Then the fangs came out. Lawsuits were filed claiming Trump had violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution (which prohibits gifts from foreign governments) every time officials from other countries stay at a Trump hotel or golf course.
Last year, a Special Counsel was appointed to investigate possible interference by Russians in the 2016 election. The investigation has been looking into multiple people connected to Trump in connection with foreigners, including Trump’s son, son-in-law, and close advisers.
As we all know, several people close to Trump have already been convicted of various crimes, including this week’s convictions of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. Flynn. Gates. Papadopoulos. And those convictions may only be the start of an increasingly tightening noose around Trump.
Federal and state investigators are continuing to investigate and seem to be gaining access to Trump’s business dealings and internal business operations. With each passing day, the once tightly controlled private business empire of Donald Trump is becoming more and more public.
A losing campaign for Trump could have set him up to make millions or billions as a media mogul. Maybe he thought a close losing campaign would make his business empire even more valuable or reap greater financial gains through new relationships.
But, in the end, becoming President could prove to be the worst thing to have happened to Trump, and may expose his family and close associates to legal jeopardy. His past personal relationships, payoffs, and deals are all under the microscope now.
Millions of young Americans dream of becoming President someday. For Donald Trump, that dream may become a nightmare, and an expensive one at that.
Be careful what you wish for. It just may come true.