Trump doesn't respect democracy now. Why would he as president? | Editorial

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
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on June 02, 2016

This man is facing trial for fraud, yet attacks the press for questioning him.

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Donald Trump could have stood with veterans the day after Memorial Day, praised them, and finally handed over a check for the money he'd promised but so far failed to give them.
 
He could have pitched their cause as worthy of more support, and highlighted their suicide rate, their struggle to find good jobs. Their suffering from PTSD and brain damage.
 
All that would have been presidential. Yet for a man who professes to care, Trump said precious little about veterans on Tuesday. Instead, he made this news conference entirely about himself. His persecution complex was on full display as he unloaded a blistering tirade on the press.

The original reason Trump set out to do his January fundraiser, you'll recall, was because he didn't want to attend a Fox News debate and face questions from Megyn Kelly. Now he thinks he shouldn't have to face any questions about the money he promised to raise for veterans, either.
 
He hurled personal insults at reporters for daring to ask how much he was contributing, and to whom -- calling one a "sleaze," and saying the news media "make me look very bad."
 
He claimed the real reason he spent months dodging their questions is that he's not looking for credit. (This was after Trump bragged on national television about the millions he'd raised for veterans, and posed with two giant $100,000 checks).
 
Then, hours after Trump finally disclosed the actual dollar amounts and charities, the Associated Press called all 41 groups and spoke with more than two-dozen. It discovered about half the checks he wrote were dated the same day the Washington Post ran a story questioning whether he'd distributed all of the money.

Which raises an obvious question: Did Trump have to be publicly shamed into making his contribution?
 
This is the basic stuff of political reporting — not to mention that the candidate in question already faces allegations of fraud in federal court. We've heard convincing testimony that what officials did at Trump University was a scam.
 
Yet instead of just arguing his case, again, Trump took aim at the entire system. He said the court case was "rigged" against him. He stirred up racial hatred of the judge, who was born in Indiana — calling him out by name, and falsely saying he "happens to be, we believe, Mexican."
 
It was a direct attack on judicial independence and the integrity of the court. Again, it begs the question: Is this the character of the person we want as president?
 
Trump thinks he should be held to a special standard, in which anything short of praise is libel. He expects everyone to trust his lofty promises and applaud him for making them.
 
But this isn't North Korea. That's not the job of our free press or justice system. If Trump doesn't understand that, why should we believe he would respect the limits of his power as president?
 
This is the man who vowed to expand libel laws to make it easier for him to sue news organizations. And he was perfectly clear about how he'd handle questions about his governance, should he win the election. "Yes, it is going to be like this," Trump snarled.
 
On that, at least, we have little reason to doubt him.

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