Does Donald Trump think that the job he's running for is mob boss?
You might think so.
He's had lots of interaction with mob figures over the years. To some extent this is unavoidable given the work he has done, which has involved building construction in New York City. If you do that on a substantial scale for very long, you'll mostly certainly have some interactions with the mob. So the fact of some connections isn't legitimately an enormous deal.
But the relationships seem to be more than fleeting. "There have been multiple media reports about Donald's business dealings with the mob, with the mafia," former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said on February 28. "Maybe his taxes show those business dealings are a lot more extensive than has been reported."
Politifact added that "It’s important to note that Trump hasn’t been charged with any illegal activity, and it’s reasonable to argue that he was unaware or even a victim in some cases. But Cruz has a point that the mogul has been linked to the mob for decades."
David Cay Johnson, the great financial investigative reporter who has been looking into Trump and money for many years, concluded there were serious issues. As Politico reported about his findings, "In his signature book, The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump boasted that when he wanted to build a casino in Atlantic City, he persuaded the state attorney general to limit the investigation of his background to six months. Most potential owners were scrutinized for more than a year. Trump argued that he was “clean as a whistle”—young enough that he hadn’t had time to get into any sort of trouble. He got the sped-up background check, and eventually got the casino license. But Trump was not clean as a whistle. Beginning three years earlier, he’d hired mobbed-up firms to erect Trump Tower and his Trump Plaza apartment building in Manhattan, including buying ostensibly overpriced concrete from a company controlled by mafia chieftains Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano. That story eventually came out in a federal investigation, which also concluded that in a construction industry saturated with mob influence, the Trump Plaza apartment building most likely benefited from connections to racketeering. Trump also failed to disclose that he was under investigation by a grand jury directed by the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, who wanted to learn how Trump obtained an option to buy the Penn Central railroad yards on the West Side of Manhattan. . . . No other candidate for the White House this year has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks."
But all this isn't the key point.
It's that Trump seems to have looked over at mob bosses and extrapolated that this is how a president could and should effectively do his job. Commentators in Europe speculated that he was really running for mob boss of the United States, based on his demeanor and even patterns of talking, and approach to many issues. His unilateralism - a stunning lack of recognition of the relative roles of the Congress and Supreme Court and states and other participants in our government, is right in line.
He's running for mob boss. Problem is, we don't need one. - rs