Saturday, October 5, 2019

Joe Biden Needs To Respond To The Trump Challenge

Joe Biden is ahead in the polls, but he still has a way to go to seal the deal.  If his prime qualification is winability, he will have to show that he can be a strong and declarative candidate, not just good old lovable (and stumbling) Uncle Joe. To get the nomination, he will need to show that he can make strong arguments, be adept, perhaps even subtle, but strong and even close to eloquent. In any event, convincing and persuasive.

So if I were to advise Joe, I would tell him that now that he has appeared in Trump's crosshairs, it is a prime opportunity for him to show his mettle – can he pivot and take the case to Trump, run against him now?

So here's a  version of the speech I would advise him to give.

The Speech

I have a son, Hunter, whom I love very much. He's not a kid anymore, he's 49 years old, but I don't have to tell parents out there, no matter how old they get, they're still your kids, and you never stop loving them. You don't approve of everything they do, they don't listen to your advice, but they are your kids, and you love them, and you give them your unconditional love.

Hunter has come under into the crosshairs of the great machine of destruction called Donald Trump. Obviously, Trump doesn't care about Hunter, he's trying to get to me. He and his minions are accusing Hunter of taking a position as a member of the board of directors with a Ukrainian energy company, and in that position, using his connection with me to make money for that company by getting contracts for them with the United States. I guess that's his charge, Trump is never that clear as he rants and raves. He just says, “It's dirty.”

Should Hunter have taken this position? It was legal for him to do it, he did nothing unethical or illegal while he was in the position, and he was well paid. But, I'm sure the fact that he carried the name “Biden,” and that I was Vice President of the United States at the time, helped him get appointed to this job. Let's face it, when your father is Vice President, you get offers you wouldn't get otherwise. He didn't ask me about it, and I didn't give him any advice, and his company didn't benefit from their indirect connection to me in any way that I know about.

But now Donald Trump can't leave that alone. He's got to find something wrong and bad, and if he doesn't find it, that doesn't matter to him, he makes it up anyway, makes accusations, lies and impugns and smears and does as much harm as he can, just because that's what he does.

You have to hand it to Trump. He really is a genius, not a stable genius as he claims, but he's a genius of destruction. If there is a person or an institution that gets in Trump's way, or even just gets near him, watch out! And now he suspects that I will be in his way of securing a second term, and there is my son, Hunter. Trump figures that Hunter is fair game, because to him, everyone is fair game. John McCain was fair game. If he can slime John McCain, surely he can slime Hunter and me. To him, he is the only person in the world who exists.

Since this attack is on me, even though he is using Hunter as a ploy, I am the one who needs to respond. That is what I intend to do. First I will respond directly to the charge, and then I will take the challenge that Trump seems to be issuing, and address corruption in government, most specifically, his own. And then I'll add a few words about the destruction that Donald Trump has brought to this country.

The Charges Against Hunter And Me

The basic charge that seems to be leveled at us is that Hunter took this position and then used his connection with me to the advantage of the company. Trump also says, what was Hunter doing in that remunerative position when he has no obvious qualifications. Let me answer those questions.

Well, it's well known that Hunter has had a tumultuous life, starting when his mother and sister were killed by a runaway driver in an auto accident when he was not yet three years old. Since then he has achieved many things, but he has also been wracked by demons, including drug addiction. To his great credit, Hunter has been up front about this. He bared all for a magazine article in the New Yorker. And as he has had his severe problems, Hunter has benefited from his association with me. Others have been there to help him up. In truth, although Hunter is a bright and capable person, this position that Trump refers to, is in fact something that he would not have gotten save for his association with me. Children of people in high political office have avenues open to them that other people don't, and they often take them. This is unfair. Life gives advantages to some that it denies to others. I recognize this, and I hope that people will look at the record of what I have tried to achieve in life and realize that I have sought all my life to give the advantages to others that the rich and well born, and public officials such as myself, already enjoy.

Should Hunter have taken this job with the Ukrainian company? If he had asked me, I would have said no. He made a lot of money for it, and it was very tempting and I understood why he did it. It was an opportunity for him that helped him out financially, and he knew that he would not do anything corrupt. Nevertheless, I would have told him, find another way. But he is in his 40's, and he's got to figure things out for himself.

But the most important thing is this, not whether or not he benefited from his family connection to get this position, but rather – were the interests of the people of the United States compromised by his taking that job? My answer is simple – no, no, not in any way, never, a thousand times no. Hunter never contacted me, directly or indirectly, about any of his business, and I would never have listened if he had.

But, you don't have to take it from me. There have been several investigations, they have been deep and thorough, and they have all come up with one conclusion. There has been no fraud, no influence, no corruption as a result of Hunter's taking this position.

Trump and Corruption

Donald Trump is, as we know, a terrific liar. One of his greatest talents is to take what he is guilty of and attribute it to others. He did this most jaw-droppingly obviously and publicly against Hillary Clinton in one of the debates. She accused him of being a puppet of Russia – a charge that we have seen to be totally true, of course. But what did Trump do? He turned on her as a not very bright bully in the schoolyard will, and he said, “You're the puppet!” Unbelievable – Hillary, a puppet of Russia! Believe that, and there's a bridge he's like to sell you. But, it was so breathtaking a lie that it was hard to counter. We are used to people trying to saying things that are at least somewhat truthful, but this was just breathtaking.

But what I'm pointing out is this: look at the technique – take your major flaw and attribute it to others, even if it couldn't possibly be true. That's what he does, and that's what he is now doing to me. Me, corrupt? I've been so uncorrupt that for virtually all my life in the Senate, I was the least-wealthy senator. I had to mortgage my house twice to send my kids to college. Look, is this what millions of parents do every year, I'm not complaining, I'm just saying that if there's anyone not corrupt in public life, it's me.

On the other hand, let's turn the spotlight where it belongs, on Trump, his family, and his associates. There has never been a family or an administration in the history of the United States that comes close to the corruption of the Trump Abomination.

Most people assuming high office in the country forego any further profit. They are working for the country. Not Trump. Money is his God. He has given up none of his holdings. If you want a meeting with Trump, you stay at his property. If you are a government wanting access, you rent out floors in Trump properties. If you are the military, you schedule your troops to fill up their planes at Trump filling stations, you put your overnight stays at Trump properties.

The Trump family is the most acquisitive, values-free family in the history of the Presidency, bar none. No one comes close. If you are China, do you want to do business? Grant Ivanka licenses and copyrights. A Gulf nation wants to do business? Grant Jared a $90 million cash infusion.

[Biden should insert here a list of the items of corruption – there's so much, one has to choose only highlights.]

So, Mr. Trump – you want to call out Hunter on his judgement? You too, Mr. Giuliani? Let's go at it. You have a pair of deuces, and I have a royal flush. You are a bunch of corrupt liars, and you have no business running this country, because you are running it into the ground.

The Trump Slime Machine

Corruption is a disease that eats its way into the body of the country. We shouldn't allow it to happen, and I have faith that we won't. But just as vicious a vice is the lying. Trump and Giuliani have such warped personalities that they don't care. They just take dirt and throw it around. Truth? Truth is for suckers (like paying taxes, as Trump has said.) The lie is the thing, keep repeating it until it becomes fact. This is the Trump modus operandi, his MO. Even though everyone knows this, Trump's genius is not to care. Trump is out there ruining the good name of this country, making the country a laughingstock internationally, giving away America's largesse to other countries who are not our friends, dirtying our name, and getting away with it by lying, lying, lying. If you like to lie, if it is second nature to you, if you do it repeatedly and effectively, if you do it loudly and incessantly, and if you are in a position of responsibility, there is no limit to the damage you can do.

This is the truth that Trump's lies have taught the world.

So, to finish this up, Hunter has his weaknesses, just as I have mine, and just as all of us have ours. But most of us try to do the best we can, to honor ourselves, our families, our country, and try to be the best people we can be. I doubt, though, that we can say this about Donald Trump. He is just a scourge, and he glories in being that.

One of the most important things I can do for the United States, the country I have loved and served for all my life, is this: I'm calling out the Trump lies, and I'm asking everyone to pay attention to them. Don't overlook them, and don't laugh at them. Take them seriously, and reject them, and reject him for who he is and for all the bad behavior he glories in, all the destruction he purveys. Realize that these lies and this liar are bad for us as a nation, bad for every single one of us.

We need to find the truth that will set us free, and the truth is that Donald Trump's lies can lead us to our destruction.

Budd Shenkin

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