Aljazeera says: Donald Trump is just a con man from New York

A classic saying that originated in New York conveys a clear message: If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. This exaggerated criticism of a naive viewpoint was born when a renowned con artist made a fortune selling the Brooklyn Bridge.

At the dawn of the 20th century, George C Parker repeatedly marketed the span between Manhattan and Brooklyn, sometimes twice in one week. He boldly claimed ownership of several other New York landmarks, including Grant’s Tomb and the Statue of Liberty. Methodical in his monumental schemes, he hawked elaborately forged deeds to unwitting buyers, making a fortune from public property. The gullible realised they’d been swindled only while trying to erect toll booths. The police interceded and ended their brief delusion.

Con artists weave their lies with a smirk and a wink and coax their marks with a pied piper’s tune. They lead their quarry astray with smooth talk but are essentially vulgar and abusive, concocting sinister plans and secretly mocking those who fall for their scams.

Grifters who gain the confidence of the innocent are narcissistic deceivers, enticing their prey in a cloud of fabrication. Cons relentlessly persevere, finding new marks willing to embrace their seductive trance. Victims don’t realise what they are about to lose until their valuables, hopes or dreams have vanished.

Most New Yorkers recognise their home-grown breed of con artists. From the small-time crook on the street to a racketeer in a high-rise office, the self-righteous loudmouth who has no other cares but his fortune and aggrandisement typifies this persona.

The bluffing, egocentric charlatans who believe they will never be found out or caught are hard to miss. Yet, whether ostracised or jailed, they eventually are prevented from stealing from the unsuspecting.

Crimes have consequences. Thievery is both economically and emotionally traumatic to the injured. Parker was a popular figure in his day, and it is hard to believe that his outrageous deeds succeeded. But the law caught up with him, and he spent his final years in prison on multiple fraud convictions.

Parker was a novice compared with Donald Trump. Parker pitched the sale of a mile-long bridge. Trump promotes his thousand-mile wall of hate – a dramatic symbol of his xenophobic vision for the United States and a suitable icon for his misleading ventures.

The former president’s devious enterprises, both during his term in office and in the years before, are grand and complex. His appeal and behaviour still fool millions who somehow believe a creature of the swamp is motivated to drain it. He clings to his current presidential candidacy in one of the greatest hustles of all time.

Mary Trump, the niece of the former president, succinctly said her uncle viewed cheating as a way of life.


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