Trump’s flaws laid bare in debate

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Bedford, N.H. (John Locher/AP)

In front of a record breaking crowd of more than 84 million Americans across the nation presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in the first of their three presidential debates. The night was overall a huge loss for Trump, whose poor performance likely came from him not having prepared for the debate and having a general lack of policy understanding. While he told lots of lies and misstatements (34-4 if you want the candidate comparison) inbetween sniffling and snuffling there were several statements, not necessarily untrue, that really stood out.

One such moment occurred early on in the debate when Clinton brought up comments Trump made in 2006 about how he hoped that the housing market would crash because “then people like me would go in and buy.” Now, a person who makes these comments in the first place is pretty deplorable, as it indicates they are all too willing to exploit the suffering of those with less for personal gain. But he had a chance to show remorse on Monday night, to ask forgiveness, or to say that after seeing what happened to families in the crash of 2008 he realized what he said was wrong. In true Trump fashion, he actually said, “That’s called business.”

It’s true for Trump, that’s how he runs his businesses. Trump University scammed thousands from people who believed in his brand, and he pocketed the money. He declared bankruptcy six times to save himself money, called himself a genius and failed to care about the everyday workers at these places that are now out of a job. He has no compassion for other people, he only takes actions for his own benefit. And he legitimately fails to understand that it is wrong to treat people like this. He only acts to serve his own goals, and that includes his motives for becoming president.

Trump also said that not paying taxes meant he was smart. First, it means his tax lawyers are smart because we all know he isn’t intelligent enough to cheat the tax code without outside help. In addition, if he was actually smart he would not have hinted that he doesn’t pay any taxes. Instead, he acted like not paying taxes made him better than everyone else.

It doesn’t. Paying taxes is an essential task for the citizens of this country. While you may hate to pay them they help provide vital services for many whom would not be able to afford them. They help pay the salaries of teachers and law enforcement, and they help provide food for children who would otherwise go without it. Occasionally they get wasted on a trillion dollar fighter jet, but in the right circumstances they do a lot of good. Additionally, it’s a duty and responsibility we collectively share. Everyone pays what they can, and we put the funds towards the common good.

The only tax records available to the public show Trump paying essentially no taxes, and he refuses to release any recent tax returns. Considering his large wealth, he should be paying his share and giving back to the country instead of trying to keep more and more for himself. This fact exposes the hypocrisy of his trickle-down economics plan. He says that cutting taxes on the rich will encourage them to invest in jobs, but in his case he clearly does not care at all about giving back to people by creating jobs or paying taxes. He says the government will squander the money, but could they really do worse than gold plated toilets and portraits of Donald Trump?  Trump himself is evidence that greed is a much more enticing alternative to giving back to society.

The list goes on and on. He was “proud” that he was the one who got President Obama to release his birth certificate, while not caring that the birtherism movement he started carried with it the ugly stain of racism. He didn’t back down from previous bodily critiques of Rosie O’Donnell and Alicia Machado. Donald Trump proved on the debate stage that he doesn’t possess the character, temperament or compassion to serve as president.

Jacob Kowalski is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at