“Don’t pay them,” isn’t a contingency employed for bad service, isn’t a threat used to ensure value for money, it’s policy, the go-to position every time Donald Trump does business with anyone. It is regarded by Trump, like not paying any taxes, as “smart business.”
Where I come from it’s called theft, and it’s a peculiarity of the American legal system that such strategies are usually handled by civil courts and not where they belong, in criminal courts. Trump continues to get away with stiffing people for services rendered because his policy to rip people off hides in plain sight behind all of his other financial crimes and numerous scandals. Sooner or later, people just stop talking about it because no one will listen, and it’s simply too expensive to sue the perennially lawyered-up Donald Trump.
Trump recently had the temerity to inflict his presence on the city of El Paso, after stiffing them out of over $500,000 for resources used in a February rally. Insinuating himself unwanted and unsought after the recent mass shooting tragedy, so he could stage a photo op with victims, was his only real purpose in coming. He certainly had no intention of actually paying the city that which he owes.
Trump’s reason for not paying El Paso? Michael Glassner, the campaign’s chief operating officer, claimed that the city of El Paso invoice is ten times the amount cities typically charge. But Trump also owes some $270,000 of unpaid invoices to cities across the country. Some of the unpaid invoices are three years old. It would seem Trump simply never pays, no matter what the reason. He prefers to keep the millions of dollars he makes in contributions at these rallies all to himself, and begrudges even giving back a tiny percentage of that money to the cities that host him.
By contrast, when Beto O’Rourke received a $28,000 bill from the city of El Paso for his presidential campaign launch, he promptly paid it. That is what class looks like, by contrast to the deadbeat Trump. One can only imagine what Trump’s fanbase thinks of all this. They probably think he does it because that’s what “smart businessmen” do, and as long as Donald Trump never does it to them, they’re fine with it. Empathy for others has never been their specialty.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.