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Zirpoli: What you missed while distracted by impeachment

With all of the attention on impeachment proceedings last week, you may have missed these other accomplishments of President Donald Trump. Allow me to update you.

Greta Thunberg was named the winner of Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year. Thunberg is a 16-year old traveling around the world speaking to people about the threat of climate change for our planet.

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While Pope Francis congratulated Thunberg as “A great witness of the Church’s environmental teaching,” President Trump called her selection “ridiculous” and tweeted that she “must work on her anger management problem.” First, I can’t get my head around the fact that the president of the United States picked a fight with a 16-year old girl on Twitter. Second, Trump’s suggestion that Thunberg has anger management problems is the epitome of projection.

Trump, of course, is jealous. But to be jealous of a 16-year old girl, and then publicly attack her is an embarrassment to himself, his office, and to our nation.

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Melania Trump’s “Be Best” campaign to stop cyberbullying and to promote kindness is clearly falling on deaf ears at home. She recently said, “Social media is an inevitable part of our children’s daily lives. It can be used in many positive ways, but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly.”

The first lady’s press secretary stated, “It is no secret that the president and first lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do.” Actually, most couples are not dealing with a husband who picks fights on Twitter with teenage girls.

Trump has a history of discrediting Time’s Person of the Year recipients. In 2015, Trump stated that “They picked a person who is ruining Germany” after Time selected German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In 2017, Trump tweeted that he was going to be named Time’s Person of the Year but that he “took a pass” because, “I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot.” In addition to Time stating that Trump’s story is false, no one believes that Trump “took a pass” on being selected Person of the Year because he would have to sit for a major photoshoot. More lies.

There is also the fake 2009 Time cover featuring Trump as Person of the Year found hanging in several of Trump’s golf clubs. The actual Person of the Year in 2009 was Ben Bernanke, former Chair of the Federal Reserve. How insecure do you have to be to have your staff print a fake Time Magazine cover with your picture on it?

You probably also missed the news that Trump, who once said that he “never settles” court cases, was ordered by a judge to pay $2 million to several nonprofit organizations as part of a settlement regarding the Trump Foundation. This is Trump’s second big settlement as president. In 2018 a federal court approved a $25 million settlement with students of the now-defunct Trump University.

The judge in the Trump Foundation case found that Trump allowed “his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign.” This included nearly $3 million in donations that were raised for veteran groups but were distributed by Trump’s campaign director, Corey Lewandowski.

Instead of using the funds for veterans and other charities, Trump directed the money to be used for “personal, political and business gains” according to ABC News.

Members of the Trump Foundation Board, including three of Trump’s children — Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump — were ordered to complete training on the responsibilities of serving on a nonprofit board. If a school secretary in Carroll County did this with donated school funds, she would be sent to jail, not for training.

Then there was this story: Trump signed an executive order aimed at reducing anti-Semitism on college campuses. The signing ceremony was attended by many people from the Jewish community. But who did Trump invite to speak at the event? Evangelical Christian Robert Jeffress, who Trump introduced as a “tremendous faith leader.” I guess he couldn’t find a tremendous Jewish faith leader. Jeffress was an interesting pick given his distinguished history of anti-Semitic comments.

Jeffress said that Jews “can’t be saved being a Jew” and that Judaism leads “people away from the true God to an eternity of separation from God in hell.” He has made similar comments about Mormonism, Islam, and Hinduism. What was Trump thinking? This is what he said: “I’d watch him on different shows, and I’d say, ‘I like that guy. Man, he talks really great about me, and I like people that talk well about me.’” For Trump, this is the only criteria for judging people.

He has the moral character and maturity of a 4-year-old, with apologies to all 4-year-olds.

Tom Zirpoli is the program coordinator of the Human Services Management program at McDaniel College. His column appears on Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

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