Election 2016

Robert Reich: I Had Coffee With a Trump Supporter—Here's How I Left Him Speechless

“He’s not a businessman,” I said. “He’s a con man."

Photo Credit: Borja Andreu / Shutterstock

I finally found a Trump supporter—this morning when I went to buy coffee. (I noticed a Trump bumper sticker on his car.)

“Hi,” I said. “Noticed your Trump bumper sticker.”

“Yup,” he said, a bit defensively.

“I hope you don’t mind my asking, but I’m curious: Why are you supporting him?”

“I know he’s a little bit much,” said the Trump supporter. “But he’s a successful businessman. And we need a successful businessman as president.”

“How do you know he’s a successful businessman?” I asked.

“Because he’s made a fortune.”

“Has he really?” I asked.

“Of course. Forbes magazine says he’s worth four and a half billion.”

“That doesn’t mean he’s been a success,” I said.

“In my book, it does,” said the Trump supporter.

“You know, in 1976, when Trump was just starting his career, he said he was worth about $200 million,” I said. “Most of that was from his father.”

“That just proves my point,” said the Trump supporter. “He turned that $200 million into four and a half billion. Brilliant man.“

“But if he had just put that $200 million into an index fund and reinvested the dividends, he’d be worth $12 billion today,” I said.

The Trump supporter went silent.

"And he got about $850 million in tax subsidies, just in New York alone,” I said.

More silence.

“He’s not a businessman,” I said. “He’s a con man. "Hope you enjoy your coffee.”

Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His website is www.robertreich.org.

 

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