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The Poor Need Not Apply

On Wednesday, Donald Trump, at a 2020 election campaign rally in Iowa … STOP. Reread that, please. Yes, in office only five months, Trump already is campaigning for reelection. Compelling case for term limits, yet this is not the point of my essay.

Nor is it the point of my essay that while at this event, Trump defended his Cabinet appointments—a bunch of billionaires, like former Goldman Sachs president and chief operating officer from 2006 to 2017, Gary Cohn, who now is Trump’s economic adviser. (You know, same Goldman Sachs that Trump condemned, during that other campaign, for controlling Hillary Clinton. Same Goldman Sachs Trump used to underscore Clinton’s alliance with Wall Street.)
Here’s what Trump said to his Cedar Rapids audience: “In those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?”

And:

…this is the President of Goldman Sachs! Smart! Having him represent us, he went from massive paydays to peanuts. The peanuts, the little tiny…These are people that are great, brilliant business minds.

It is also not my point to emphasize that Cohn can well afford “peanuts” now, since he left Goldman Sachs in January with a $285 million payout. Or that he can well afford “peanuts” now, since his net worth is $600 million.
Trump also said this, and I’m nearing my point: “In those particular positions and I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?”

He then stressed that his appointees don’t want the money. “…they’re representing the country. And they had to give up a lot to take these jobs. They gave up a lot.” Isn’t Trump failing to acknowledge that the economic group most representative of this country is not the billionaire class?

Um, and they, the uber-wealthy appointees, actually didn’t give up a lot. They left with a lot. And when they leave D.C. they leave with a lot.

Back to Trump’s not wanting a poor person. Is a poor person someone who’s made peanuts, or less, all his or her life? Most American workers will never see the peanuts these appointees among Trump’s Cabinet and other posts are making now. These appointees who “gave up a lot” to take these jobs for, well, peanuts.

Reflect on what Trump is saying to his supporters, the many who voted for him because they believed he listened to them, listened to them and then gave voice to their urgent needs. He wasn’t just going to make America great again; he was going to make them great again. But essentially he equates poverty with lack of intelligence. Again, “In those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person.” Can you imagine Trump’s wanting a poor person in any influential position? Only wealthy people deserve a seat at his table. The poor are nothing, but … poor.

These are the people Hillary Clinton called Deplorables.

The irony, and my point here, is that Trump also believes they are Deplorables.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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