Donald Trump claims that the accountability for failure falls on the leader … or at least that’s what he said when Barack Obama was president:
Leadership: Whatever happens, you're responsible. If it doesn't happen, you're responsible.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2013
But both as a businessman and as president, Trump has a track record of shying far away from responsibility. Here are some of his favorite tricks:
1. Criticize your subordinates
In 1990, Trump blamed three recently deceased Trump Organization executives for the failure of the Trump Taj Mahal casino. “I just saw things that I wanted changed,” he said. “People were put into positions that I didn’t agree with.”
As president, he continually berates Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter over his performance. He attempted to trivialize the work of the FBI investigating him by firing Director James Comey and, more recently, celebrating the removal of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
2. Blame the system
In 1989 Trump purchased an airline and branded it the “Trump Shuttle,” promising to bring luxury to airline travel. When it failed spectacularly, he blamed the economy and airline industry, not himself. “I know I did what was right to make it a successful and desirable business,” he said of the shuttle. Airline insiders he hired disagreed.
Similarly, when Trump’s national health care proposal failed, he took to Twitter to blame Congress and took to dismantling the Affordable Care Act with no alternative, asserting there was nothing they could do but eliminate coverage for millions of Americans.
3. Distract with racist rhetoric
When Trump’s for-profit education company, Trump University, faced lawsuits accusing the corporation of scamming and defrauding “students,” Trump argued that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel would be biased against him because of his Mexican heritage — a racist and baseless objection.
Trump also made sweeping statements from the Oval Office about immigrants from “shithole countries” after federal judges ruled that his travel bans were unconstitutional, in an effort to divert attention from the unfavorable ruling that checked his decision-making power.
4. Exaggerate your success
Donald Trump is committed to inflating his wealth and virtue, contending in 2015 that he was worth $9 billion, while according to Forbes he was worth less than half that sum. In a similar vein, Trump filed an unsuccessful lawsuit in 2006 against an author who wrote that his net worth was closer to $150 million, instead of the billions he claims.
This self-aggrandizement continued forcefully into the first days of the Trump Administration, when former Press Secretary Sean Spicer argued that Trump had “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” despite robust data to the contrary. Trump still claims that people love him and exaggerates his own approval while in reality, polls show that the public disdains his presidency.
Trump Business Practices
Trump said he’d run the country like his businesses, but that doesn’t bode well for the country. Given the number of lawsuits, fines, unpaid workers, conflicts of interest, and other unethical and illegal business practices, how do we know who’s really making the decisions and what their goals are?