Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, left, is seen outside the Federal Courthouse in Newark, N.J., with Roger Stone in 1999.
Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, left, is seen outside the Federal Courthouse in Newark, N.J., with Roger Stone in 1999. (Daniel Hulshizer / AP)

Though obscured for two years by a GOP-run Congress, a Constitution-empowered legislative branch does exist. Trouble is, President Donald Trump has been slow to get the word. As if to cling to the clout he wielded until Jan. 3, he snarls about how "proud" he feels to renege on a prior deal, march to the drum of Ann Coulter, and largely shut down Uncle Sam throwing two million souls and their families in limbo or out of work (“President Trump says he’ll give State of the Union address after shutdown ends,” Jan. 24).

So meat goes uninspected. Planes inadequately tracked. Crop forecasts are left blank. Parks shuttered. At bottom, the basic social tenet "pay for work performed" gets shredded by an Electoral College-installed, rich-by-inheritance solipsist.


Let's step back to get the lay of the land. In 2016, Mr. Trump styled himself a "self-made billionaire" who scarcely could contain his concern and empathy for working folks. Credulous if not gullible, news sources and swing voters alike gave him something akin to absolute faith.

In truth, by age 8 he was a daddy-made plutocrat. In his 30s (in 1979), he found a site for Trump Tower and on it a 12-story building had to come down. According to author David Cay Johnston, he recruited (of all people) 200 undocumented laborers. He handed them sledgehammers. He refused to supply goggles or safety hats. Or, in time, their pay.

If ever a public figure was a bane and not a boon to workers, it would have to be this fake-as-a-three-dollar-bill aging Richie Rich with attitude. On the stump in 2016, he declared he would perform derring-do no mere mortal would attempt: forcing a sovereign nation to cough up scores of billions to fund a wall it did not want. "Mexico will pay," he vowed. For some reason, once more I did not believe him.

Aside to the Trump base: His failure to collect does not entitle him to pull a switcheroo where he shakes down the broad sweep of taxpayers. You (those whom he claims would excuse him if he plugged someone on Fifth Avenue) fell for "Mexico will pay." We, the non-base, did no such thing. So you Trump-eters need to remove your paws from our pockets. If you want a wall, you can man up, chip in, and buy one.

And as an aside to swing voters: The proof is in the pudding at the food bank. President Trump's lack of concern for workers scarcely could be greater. Just as Congress needs to hold him to account for what he calls "this Russia thing," so we the people must take him to task for lying his way into power. And for not exactly giving it to us straight once there. Not to be a curmudgeon but 8,000 documented whoppers in two years don't push the envelope, they explode it. They cannot bespeak anything but serious trouble (such as we now see).

If ever a swing voter could hope to find the right time to swing as far as possible from a nightmarishly unhinged, endlessly deceitful party and its leader, this well could be it. As the Nixon-Agnew-era pop song enjoins, let us not get fooled again.

John McQueen, Frederick