Column: Trump’s a classmate, but I won’t vote for him

Harvard University is rightfully proud of having awarded degrees to eight U.S. Presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
On the other hand, my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, must wait until January 2013 for its first U.S. president to be sworn in: Donald J. Trump.

(I know what you’re thinking: But what about Ben Franklin? Surely he must have been a president. How else did he get his face on the one-hundred dollar bill? But, no, Franklin was a Founding Father and a founder of the UofP, but he never occupied the White House.)

Don Trump and I both are members of Penn’s Class of 1968, and I wish I could say I remember him well, but I don’t. We probably attended a fraternity party or two at the same time, but in all candor I remember very little of those evenings. But I have been following the ups and downs of his career pretty closely over the years, and I am here to tell you that Penn and the nation would be significantly better off waiting for someone else in 2017 or beyond.

You see, Donald J. Trump is a fool, an embarrassment. He is the last person who should be in charge of anything — including a hotel, casino, golf course, reality show or a nation. He has built his financially fragile empire on bravado, bluster and BS, and nothing else, and the fact that he is being taken seriously as a presidential contender is irrefutable proof that America is headed to hell in a Hyundai.

It is true that Don Trump grew the real estate empire handed down to him by his father, but he did it with other people’s money and a deep-seated belief that garish is good. (Case in point: his hair.) That his hotels and casinos and golf courses and television shows have redefined tastelessness in America seems not to trouble him a whit. He just continues to bluff his way toward greater notoriety and celebrity, and now he’s considered a leader for the Republican presidential nomination! Please tell me it isn’t so.
I never thought Sarah Palin could look so good.

Most recently, Trump has juiced his candidacy by boldly and recklessly repeating the untruth that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. He does so, repeatedly, despite the fact that the original birth records have been publicly released in Hawaii, and the fact that the birth was reported at the time in the Hawaiian newspapers.

Leave it to Don Trump to not let the facts get in the way of a good campaign theme.

What is it about Trump that most inspires my ire and distaste? I think I’ve figured that out, too. It’s because he’s a bully. And now, incredibly — and most unfortunately for America — he seems to have been handed a bully pulpit as a serious presidential candidate.

• Calling all area homeowners with a spare bedroom. The North Fork Ospreys, the defending champions of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, have issued their annual call for host families. The former Joan Giger Walker and I hosted a player in the inaugural season, two years ago, and we can attest that it was a worthwhile experience for all concerned — player and hosts.

If you’re able to help out this summer, from the beginning of June until the beginning of August, please call Ospreys coach Brian Hansen at 631-553-3940.

• More than a month ago, I promised Orient Country Store owner Linton Duell that The Suffolk Times would not report the widely-rumored sale of his business until the deal was officially closed — even though everyone in the village seemed to know about it. Since then, I’ve checked back with him each week, only to be informed that the closing was still pending. Also since then, the paper has received several inquiries about the sale along with an unsolicited op/ed submission from a Village Lane, Orient, resident who apparently agrees with me that the changing of the guard of an institution like the Country Store is worthy of mention in the local paper. Also since then, the sales listing itself has popped up on the World Wide Web, including on Corcoran Real Estate’s website.

I checked back with Linton again on Monday. Apparently the deal still hasn’t closed. So you won’t be reading about the sale of the Orient Country Store in The Suffolk Times again this week.

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