Patterico's Pontifications


Debate Absence Illustrates Trump’s Erratic and Unpredictable Character

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

Byron York, no Ted Cruz fanatic he, writes:

James and Brooks Schooley are raising a young family in this tiny Iowa community. They support Ted Cruz and brought their kids to an old church near the Bloomfield town square to hear the candidate, along with Iowa Rep. Steve King and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Schooleys like Cruz’s faith and his fealty to the Constitution. But their choice is also shaped by their wariness of the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.

“He’s not principled,” James Schooley told me, referring to Trump. “He just goes by emotion.”

“I feel like he doesn’t stick to the Constitution the way Ted Cruz would,” added Brooks. “Once you go away from that, then where’s your standard? I mean, you can do anything.”

Before Brooks finished, the Schooleys’ 10 year-old son, until then silently enduring his parents’ conversation with a visiting journalist, chimed in. “He can’t control his anger,” the boy said of Trump in a chirpy voice.

I’m pretty sure “erratic” is a word you will hear tonight from Ted Cruz. “Unpredictable” will be another.

A couple of hours earlier, at a Cruz stop 25 miles away in Centerville, Jeff and Jessica Lenik offered the adult version of a 10 year-old’s assessment of Trump. They like Cruz for his values and positions — faith, Second Amendment, national defense — and they worry about Trump’s temperament.

“He’s too much of a wild card,” Jessica Lenik said of Trump. “I understand his anger, and I get that, and I understand the people behind him. But I think he’s too much of a wild card, and without any background in the political arena, that really scares me. Too much of a hothead, I think.”

Before Cruz spoke, another Cruz supporter, a woman who didn’t want to give her name, worried that Trump just seems a little risky. “I haven’t heard anything that makes me truly feel safe with him,” she said of the New York businessman.

The hot-headed attitude clouds Trump’s judgment when he is making “deals,” as Timothy O’Brien explains in this piece.

But a well-documented and widely reported trail of bad deals litters Trump’s career as a real estate developer and gambling mogul. (Disclosure: I wrote a book about the Republican candidate, “TrumpNation,” for which he sued me in 2006 because, among other things, it questioned the size of his fortune; the suit was later dismissed.)

O’Brien documents a deal that could have validated Trump’s false boasts in 2004 of being the “largest real estate developer in New York.”

With the property, financing and plans in place, a large part of what Trump needed to do to make Television City a reality was to bring together different stakeholders: locals (like the late actor Paul Newman) who wanted parks and a less imposing development, and a mayor, Ed Koch, who had his own outsize personality and who was trying to balance the city’s redevelopment with the needs of the area’s longtime residents.

Had Trump appeased these interests, he might have made the project a reality. Instead, the author of “The Art of the Deal” quickly became entangled in an epic, only-in-New-York round of public fisticuffs with Koch in the spring and summer of 1987. The brawl devolved into name-calling — and ultimately helped doom a deal that could have had vastly different results if Trump chose different tactics.

O’Brien’s piece is worth reading in its entirety. But one prominent example was his reaction to Ed Koch when Koch refused to give Trump an abatement:

Trump doubled down, holding his own press conference and calling on Koch to resign. The battle played out in a carnivalesque stream on TV and on the front pages and gossip columns of newspapers.

Koch said Trump was “squealing like a stuck pig.” Trump said Koch’s New York had become a “cesspool of corruption and incompetence.” Koch said Trump was a “piggy, piggy, piggy.”

Trump said the mayor had “no talent and only moderate intelligence” and should be impeached. “Ed Koch would do everybody a huge favor if he would get out of office and they started all over again,” he noted. “It’s bedlam in the city.”

He showed strength! He didn’t back down! Nobody took advantage of him! Instead, he insulted Koch repeatedly.

Did it work? No. Trump failed with the project and lost big on a deal that should have been a great financial success.

Erratic. Unpredictable. And a failure.

That’s Donald Trump.

62 Responses to “Debate Absence Illustrates Trump’s Erratic and Unpredictable Character”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  2. Yup. But politicians these days are funhouse mirrors in which narcissists seem themselves, I think.

    Simon Jester (2708f4)

  3. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton appears to be losing support (it has been written that House Clinton is in a downward spiral) and Bernie Sanders remains an unrepentant socialist with an extremely radical background and history of personal failure.

    Colonel Haiku (df3a15)

  4. The real question is why Byron isn’t for cruz, really because shutdown, eleventy!!! If the top commentariat has been slightly more mature last time, maybe there would be no trump groundswell.

    narciso (b19692)

  5. he seems very similar to Ted Cruz really, in this respect

    calling Mitch a liar and alienating all his colleagues with his rambunctious attention-grabbing antics (which I applaud him for)

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  6. He wasn’t wrong about Koch or NY in the ’80s.

    prowlerguy (3af7ff)

  7. No he’s nothing like cruz,

    narciso (b19692)

  8. Greetings:

    Because steadiness and predictability has done so much for our country, culture, and society over the last couple of generations ???

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  9. Trump is erratic. That’s the word I would use for him. You have no idea where he will wind up. That’s why he wouldn’t be good for mayor of New York, even if you discount his immigration position, which may change. Surely there are other alternatives to De Blasio. (but mayor might be too lowly for Trump anyway – he would want at least to be Governor)

    Sammy Finkelman (dbec95)

  10. I think the hue and cry over our sham political selection process has achieved self-parody.

    DNF (755a85)

  11. I dunno what I might otherwise expect from heavily invested and enmeshed lawyers than that we continue this farce to their unearned profit.

    DNF (755a85)

  12. Irredeemably sinister, corrupt and incompetent:

    So let’s continue this BS and get all worked up ’bout it to boot.


    DNF (755a85)

  13. Trump’s using voters not running to lead them. That’s why he won’t show tonight. He’s gotten pretty much all he needs from the debates to keep his show on the air until his coronation. He’s likely calculating that the others won’t be able to resist tearing one another apart demonstrating the the superiority of the Trump brand over the republican brand. The winner of this mess will be the one who can demonstrate the path to a better future for the country and for each of us – not the survivor of the cage match.

    crazy (cde091)

  14. No habla and no shopping or consuming:

    DNF (755a85)

  15. This why they keep scedulimg beatings I mean debates till morale improves

    narciso (732bc0)

  16. Gr8 stuff concerning Ed Koch, Patterico.
    Amazing that it seems tRUMP is still acting like a child.

    jb (8a9f1d)

  17. I imagine his successes come when he lets his line managers and law firms do their thing without his “help.” They they call comb-over guy to the final signing, where he can take all the credit as usual.

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you don’t confuse the facts with the fiction. But Trump keeps getting involved and always steps on his crank. Not a good thing for a President.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  18. Not necessarily “failure”, Patterico. I mean, if his level of wealth is a failure, I should be absolutely spectacular. I will say though that he’s far, far less of a success than he could be or should be by this point.

    Unpredictable? With his track record, by now I think not. He’s a professional loudmouth with a penchant for suing people he disagrees with “just for fun”. The man is a thin skinned, ego driven narcissist who has proven over and over that he has no real values except those that suit Donald Trump.

    Sorry Trump supporters. You are going to have to go some to convince me this is the guy we need in the White House. The stupid thing is I get the anger and the frustration. But simple anger doesn’t carry it, and I want to see some maturity in the Oval Office, especially after 8 years of Obama.

    Bill H (dcdd7b)

  19. You are going to have to go some to convince me this is the guy we need in the White House.

    he will make america great again Mr. H

    and there’s a hat that proves it

    the other candidates do not have hats nor do they promise to make America Great Again

    QED therefore we can stipulate that Mr. Trump is the most good choice for you to pick

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  20. Trump will be nominee. Rafael cruz is a canadian citizen sociopath.

    trumpet (70995f)

  21. The core premise of Trump’s campaign — that he’s a skillful businessman who’s earned a huge fortune — is a damned lie.

    Trump’s fortune was handed to him by his father. Forbes and other financial reporting companies have demonstrated that if he’d simply put his inheritance into garden-variety mutual funds, Trump would be richer than he is now.

    He’s actually squandered several fortunes. He is very lucky, and he’s cunning enough to have stopped actually putting his own money into most deals, or even trying to do much real estate developing; instead, he licenses his name on things like golf courses and does reality-TV-type events.

    He’s famous for being famous. I could point you to two dozen vastly more successful businessmen without even firing up Google. What he’s famous for in the business community is breaking his word and going bankrupt.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  22. I adore — because it reveals so very much about Trump — the tale of his father’s $3.5 million purchase of Trump Casino chips, none of which ever was used for gambling, for the purpose of concealing how close his empire was to collapsing. Because New Jersey law made repayment of casino chips an absolute priority, one that would be guaranteed by state law to be repaid even in bankruptcy, even before secured creditors (to whom Trump had mortgaged his companies). Thus it was that of all his creditors, the hidden one, the illegal one — Trump’s dad — was the only creditor who was fully secured and not at risk of being wiped out through bankruptcy.

    He’ll screw anyone, but he’ll screw his own family last, I guess, is the message from this.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  23. Trump’s decision to avoid FOX’s death trap needs no explanation. FOX was out to destroy Trump with gotcha questions written by the FOX VP with a daughter working as Rubio’s press secretary. Additionally, FOX had recruited a Muslim and an illegal alien to bushwhack Trump from the audience.

    After Megyn Kelly’s vile War on Women attack on Trump during the first debate, which immediately followed the opening salvo of asking all the candidates to pledge their support for the eventual GOE nominee (which Trump was the only one to decline: his response was conditioned on fair and equal treatment from the GOP establishment).

    FOX is determined to knock Trump out of the race and Trump just outmaneuvered the assassins. Now they’re hoisted on their own petard. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving pack of two-faces jackals.

    ropelight (565a43)

  24. this is a somewhat netroots blog I drop by every once in a while, when I think why isn’t the sky purple:

    narciso (732bc0)

  25. I’m the first to admit that Mr. The Donald is not without his flaws for example his personality

    but what they hey let’s elect him anyways

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  26. Wait/

    “…let’s elect him anyways…”

    Um. So you will vote this time?

    Simon Jester (2708f4)

  27. who know, Simon we’re not getting to Luna Federation any sooner then expected, but we will wander through the Crazy Years a little sooner,

    narciso (732bc0)

  28. i’m not on the voting committee Mr. Jester I do morale and snacks

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  29. Paul Newman died?

    RIP – Paul Newman.

    Was it the fall that killed him?

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  30. my mom liked him

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  31. With all the money being thrown around foolishly in this election. I would expect hacks like York are first to get cash in exchange for discouraging words about anti establishment men like Cruz and trump. Gotta love to hate the R.N.C.. Donahue, traitor ryan and the rest of the team republican grease balls.

    mg (31009b)

  32. for every tim o’brien, there wayne barrett in new york, sydney freedberg in st. petersburg, the entire staff of the trailblazer in texas, whereas they find little wrong with red queen or doc brown,

    narciso (732bc0)

  33. I do appreciate informed opinion and thought about Trump the businessman, Trump and details of his history, etc.
    But the intensity and frequency of anti-Trump makes it hard to look,
    even for those who are not interested in him.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  34. I took it as given that if the GOP didn’t treat him fair the debates would be off the table. He’s been threatening not to show up for every. They had to change the time. Threatened no show to CNN if they don’t send profits to Wounded Warrior.
    It’s not like this is a surprise. Not erratic or unpredictable.

    The thing I can’t get over is how he’s handed Megyn Kelly a controlling interest on his candidacy now, when he handled her adroitly the first time. Ran her off the screen. Hiding in Tahiti.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  35. My interest is in taking Clinton and Sanders out.

    Colonel Haiku (df3a15)

  36. All in good time Colonel, stand at ease.

    ropelight (565a43)

  37. If Trump and Hillary become the nominees, there probably won’t be any debates, since neither of them permits anybody to ask them questions.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  38. that’s a bold prediction

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  39. If fox has a sanders backing mooslem lover asking questions at this debate, I would expect you all to cut the cable cabal.

    mg (31009b)

  40. o’brien is the only one who has been sued, but barrett went after guiliani, at the village voice,
    with the founder of the smoking gun, and freedberg followed the medici in the journal and later the home of politifact,

    narciso (732bc0)

  41. uncalled for, mg,

    narciso (732bc0)

  42. cruz is a canadian sociopath.

    trumpet (c82e93)

  43. If Trump and Hillary become the nominees, there probably won’t be any debates, since neither of them permits anybody to ask them questions.

    She won’t debate a fascist and he won’t debate a traitor.

    When in fact they are both part of the same hypocrisy.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  44. He’s famous for being famous.

    The Paris Hilton of businessmen. There’s no sex tape, thank God, but he’s screwed countless people anyway.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  45. I can just see him in a dispute with Putin, who is threatening the Baltic states in order to gain some diplomatic advantage, when President Trump decides to start referring to him as President Puta. Yuk Yuk. And then he wonders why there are Russian tanks in Poland again.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  46. he other candidates do not have hats

    I think Fiorina would look cool in a Fedora. Rubio probably would, too.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  47. THis still gets back to the movie “Network” where Howard Beale plays the part of Trump. As the movie goes on, he gets more and more craze, and more and more popular until — his usefulness to the network almost at an end — he is shot to death by the stars of the competing “Mao Tse Tung Hour” adroitly played by Bernie Sanders.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  48. There are probably 3 other candidates in the full scene, playing poker.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  49. actually, that phase came because he talked to Edward Rooney, a Warren Buffett figure, who told him ‘resistance is futile’

    narciso (732bc0)

  50. Bush could wear a 10-gallon hat, but there should be no cattle anywhere nearby.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  51. Santorum could wear a pointy cap, which we will tell him is for wizards.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  52. And he will believe us.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  53. heat, kitchen, see ya.

    mg (31009b)

  54. “When in fact they are both part of the same hypocrisy.”

    Kevin M (25bbee) — 1/28/2016 @ 4:33 pm

    “Madame Secretary, you can have my answer now, if you like. My final offer is this: nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.”

    – Donald Trumpet

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  55. “only-in-New-York round of public fisticuffs with Koch in the spring and summer of 1987. ”

    Hmmm….So let’s see, 2016 minus 1987 equals…..29. So because Trump stumped his toe in a business deal nearly three decades ago we should all have a case of the vapors?

    Mark Johnson (075924)

  56. he will make america great again Mr. H

    and there’s a hat that proves it

    the other candidates do not have hats nor do they promise to make America Great Again

    QED therefore we can stipulate that Mr. Trump is the most good choice for you to pick

    Sorry, Happyfeet, but QED in this case isn’t QED. Yelling “I’m going to make America great again” isn’t enough. There’s been no substance, only anger. We’re going to be finishing 8 years of that come the middle of January 2017. I just cannot face another 4-8 years of that. If he wants my vote, he needs to break out of the cycle of petulance he’s created for himself and come up with an actual plan of some sort on something.

    This man is running to become not only the President of the United States, but the acknowledged leader of the free world. An awesome responsibility I just cannot see him carrying out.

    Bill H (dcdd7b)

  57. Let’s put it this way, Happyfeet: I have more faith in Mike Huckabee than I do Donald Trump.

    Bill H (dcdd7b)

  58. Trump’s decision to avoid FOX’s death trap needs no explanation. FOX was out to destroy Trump with gotcha questions written by the FOX VP with a daughter working as Rubio’s press secretary. Additionally, FOX had recruited a Muslim and an illegal alien to bushwhack Trump from the audience.

    For chrissakes Ropelight, if Teh Donald can’t handle Megyn Kelly and a plant in the audience on Fox, just how in God’s name is he going to perform in front of a hostile press once he’s in office? He attached an “R” after his name, which clearly identifies him as a target. Better still, have you noticed just how Putin has taken Obama for a ride several times in the last couple of years? Just what do you think will happen when Putin pulls a fast one on Trump? Is Trump going to be petulant? Will he threaten to sue “just for fun”?

    He needs to suck it the f**k up and act like the man he claims he is. It’s only going to get harder from here for the nominees.

    Bill H (dcdd7b)

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