Emperor Trump

Donald Trump reminds me of the children's story The Emperor's New Clothes.

If you look closely, there is no "there" there. He is an empty suit.

Let me state my biases up front. I grew up on Capitol Hill and worked for both political parties. I did everything you can do on there from running an elevator in the Capitol to serving as Counsel and Staff Director of Congressional Oversight Committees.

The investigations I led put a lot of bad guys in jail and saved the taxpayer billions of dollars. I focused on the social programs and specialized in identifying Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Put it this way. If I was still on The Hill and Donald Trump is serious about funding some of his programs by eliminating fraud and abuse from Medicare and Medicaid, I would be the person he would call.

The Emperor in the fable of old believed his people were too stupid to notice he had no clothes. Trump is so arrogant he believes he can become President without telling people what he stands for and what he would do if he is elected.

Trump won't tell people what he will do simply because he doesn't know. That's why he always talks about being "flexible." That's why his foreign policy is incoherent and his position on domestic so variable. That's why he has been on both sides of just about any issue you can name.

Trump has earned the nomination of the Republican Party largely by doing what he does best - diverting attention and manipulating the press. His entire campaign has revolved around personal attacks, insults, and name-calling.

When I worked at the Senate we quickly learned the best way to get Congress to act was to focus as much attention as possible on the findings of our investigations. We found there were four things the press invariably looked for: conflict, characterizations, quantification, and conclusions.

We got good enough at working these hooks into our press releases and the reports of our findings to routinely windup on the front page of every newspaper in the country. Good as we were, Trump is better. But the techniques he uses are the same.

Is it a coincidence Trump attacked the press on the day and almost at the exact time the judge in one of the three pending fraud cases against him released a damaging report? The press spent the next three days reporting his accusations and defending themselves, largely ignoring the more damaging story.

Conflict is compelling. For those in the news business it makes for an easy story - he says, she says. All you have to do is put together a panel on both sides and you can call yourself fair and balanced.

Leaven the conflict you create with the other elements identified and the story is irresistible. Think back through the primaries. What do you remember? Mostly, its Trump saying things like Little Marco, Lying Ted and other characterizations of his opponents, or this or that problem is "huge", and grand conclusions like "We don't have a country any more."

Trump uses these techniques to drive and deflect the news. That's how a man with five draft deferments during the Vietnam War can get away with attacking the war record of a war hero like John McCain, now claim he is big on the military, and the strongest supporter of veterans - the people who did what he would not do.

The only consistency in Trump's track record is the fact he has never show any interest in public service of any kind. There is no record he has ever done anything that didn't benefit himself or his personal interests.

Over a hundred billionaires from around the world have signed the giving pledge started by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Trump isn't one of them. His personal foundation is funded largely with other people's money and its contribution to the world is negligible to the point of being invisible.

This is a man who wants his named blazoned on everything he does in big bold letters. It is part of his brand. So you have to ask yourself where are the Trump hospitals, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens? He his quick to brag about what he has, but what has he contributed?

This, of course, is why Trump is reluctant to release his tax returns. As an investigator and former auditor, I can tell you no one gets their tax returns audited every year unless they are playing games with the tax code.

When his returns are released - if they ever are - you can bet they will show he is one of the most miserly billionaires in the world. They will show he paid next to no taxes and does business in a way that feeds people in many of the countries he now says are eating our lunch.

All this was done legally, he will say, but legal doesn't make it right. Avoiding the draft, sticking others with the financial losses caused by his bankruptcies, minimizing the taxes he pays, and ducking his responsibility to the greater community are all part of Trump's life-long pattern of shifting the burden of caring to others. They demonstrate the salient fact: The only thing Trump really cares about is himself.

Actions speak loader than words. Trump's actions, the way he has chosen to live his life, expose him for what he is. The man who says he wants to make America great has no idea how to do that.

(Bill Halamandaris is the author of The Heart to America: Ten Core Values that Make Our Country Great.)