These two words are probably most associated with developer, author and television personality Donald Trump.
The entrepreneurial businessman was recently a guest speaker at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1908, the club is a private social organization and open for membership to those associated with journalism. A number of prominent individuals have spoken there.
As most people know, Trump is not timid about sharing his opinions — especially in the area of politics. His May 27 speech did not grab any headlines in the national press, but his concerns and warnings probably should have.
Like most Americans, the Wharton School of Business graduate is worried about the direction of our nation. He said our country’s leadership is “incompetent” and “not respected.” Important heads of state from other nations view us as “stupid.” Trump referred not only to the present administration, but to the Bush years as well.
Our recent history has provided no bragging rights.
“We’ve had no successes in years,” he asserted.
Case in point: The United States has spent $2 trillion in Iraq. As a result, we’ve weakened their country, destroyed thousands of lives, and now the Chinese are getting the oil.
Almost $1 trillion has been spent in Afghanistan, while China is grabbing the mineral rights. Millions of dollars are being routed to President Karzai and tribal leaders. Yet the Afghan leader would not meet or shake hands with President Obama during his recent visit to the war-torn country.
“The Chinese think we’re dumb,” revealed the star of “The Apprentice.” His Chinese friends say they can’t believe we are foolish enough to import their products tax-free, while they manipulate their currency — making it impossible for us to compete.
Japan is another example. We import millions of their cars duty-free while they deny entry of our agricultural products. The reason? They simply don’t want the competition.
“Why aren’t we smart like we used to be?” Trump asked the audience. Perhaps it’s the lobbyists that have taken over Washington.
He brought up delay of the Keystone Pipeline to illustrate his point. It’s not so much appeasement for the environmental fringe that has delayed the project, but opposition from Wall Street. They have extensive investments in oil and gas and do not want to see prices fall.
Trump said his Saudi friends think we’re not too bright as well. They can’t understand why the United States is sitting on its natural resources, while giving them $1 billion per day to export crude.
As a side note, he mentioned that some politicians are wrong by cutting social programs. If we built our country up as we did in the past, we wouldn’t need to reduce needed services, he said.
Trump concluded with his belief that we are in “very serious trouble” as a nation. Unless we act quickly and acquire competent leadership, we are doomed.
If there was a flaw in his press club presentation, it was Trump’s incessant need to boast about his business successes. Personally, I did not find this habit a hindrance. However, it might have been irritating to others if expectations were for a display of modesty from a highly successful individual.
Unfortunately, this characteristic can distract from his “wake up” message. When some other journalists write about “The Donald,” they often report on his style rather than the substance of his views.
Trump warns that disaster lies ahead for the economy when Obamacare is finally and fully implemented. He predicts it will happen after the next presidential election in 2016.
Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer.