Earlier this summer, a district of Columbia Superior Court released of Trump’s deposition and sworn testimony from his children over business losses following his comments on Mexico. A group of news outlets, including CNN and Buzzfeed, petitioned successfully for the release of the actual video from the lawsuit involving two Washington restaurateurs.
The depositions are related to Trump’s $200 million project to transform the Old Post Office building — a taxpayer-owned landmark just five blocks from White House — into a luxury hotel. Two celebrity chefs,Geoffrey Zakarian and Jose Andres, backed out of plans for his recently opened hotel after they cited his comments about Mexicans in their decision to cancel the planned restaurants. Both Zakarian and Andres filed countersuits.
The video has comic moments like Trump being asked to read a document only to confess he doesn’t have his glasses. (Apparently paying people isn’t the only thing Trump doesn’t like to spend money on. He also doesn’t spring to have a few extra pairs of reading glasses.) But most of it is horrifying.
Part of the deposition includes Trump’s admission that he never read the document, but simply signed it expecting others to have vetted it for him. When asked, “Do you understand that there is a duty of good faith and fair dealing between that’s implied on to the part of both parties in every lease deal?” Trump responds, “I don’t know.” Hardly surprising that Trump doesn’t understand the concept of good faith OR fair dealing.
The lawyer clarifies the question: “Whatever the lease says do you understand that you can’t then go and interfere in some way with the tenant’s right to open and profit from a successful restaurant?” He responds again that he doesn’t know, but says he wouldn’t interfere.
Because he doesn’t see that making openly racist statement that then meant 45% of people would make a specific point of avoiding Trump branded hotels or golfing resorts as interfering with the ability of these two chefs to operate a successful restaurant in a Trump branded hotel.
The lawyer continues to hammer Trump about whether it would be ok to impede the chef’s business in various ways (for example standing outside of the restaurant with a sign claiming he was a racist). Trump continues to say he doesn’t know but the tenant should pay rent. That’s all Trump knows. Pay the rent.
This from a man who didn’t even read the lease.
Later in the deposition, Trump is confronted with a quote attributed to him in the Washington Post. Discussing the quote, Trump accuses both chefs of “grandstanding” when they backed out. He asserts;
“I mean if they had gotten out quietly, I think it would have been better for everybody.”
When the lawyer asks Trump to be more precise about his comment “it would have been better for everyone,” Trump says:
“Well, we wouldn’t have gotten bad publicity. I got a lot of bad publicity because of the way they handled it. They grandstanded.”
So, when he makes statements that potentially cost tenants in his buildings clients and directly impede their ability to run their businesses, it doesn’t matter and they should pay the rent. However, when they decide to back out as a result, they should do so quietly so as not to hurt HIS interests.
Also notice how “better for everyone” actually means “better for me.” He really can’t conceptualize that “better for everyone” and “better for me” are NOT the same thing! Not to mention, what does he care about bad publicity since he thinks even shooting someone on Fifth Avenue wouldn’t hurt his campaign?
What becomes strikingly clear as you read the deposition is that Trump hasn’t not at all thought through the impact of his statements as a candidate on his businesses. He takes no responsibility for himself, even in terms of bringing reading glasses so he can READ THINGS HIMSELF. Trump can’t be bothered to read things for himself or bring his glasses with him to read documents. How is he going to run the country?
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