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“This Is What I Call Un-Presidential”: Donald Trump’s War On People With Disabilities

Donald Trump, truth-manipulator-in-chief, has again run afoul of reality—this time when he spoke about his relationship with Americans with disabilities.

“Nobody gives more money to Americans—you know, the Americans with Disabilities Act—big act,” Trump confusingly said at a rally in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday. “I give tens and tens of millions of dollars and I’m proud of doing it. I don’t mock people that have problems.”

This was his defense after Trump maliciously imitated a New York Times reporter with a physical disability and followed it up by saying he had never met him and requested that the publication apologize to Trump.

“I was very expressive in saying it, and they said that I was mocking him,” Trump told the crowd in Sarasota over the weekend. “I would never mock a person that has difficulty. I would never do that. I’m telling you, I would never do it.”

He previously also made fun of columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is paralyzed from the waist down. “I went out, I made a fortune, a big fortune, a tremendous fortune… bigger than people even understand,” Trump said in July after Krauthammer referred to him as a “rodeo clown.”

“Then I get called by a guy that can’t buy a pair of pants, I get called names?”

Now, it is true that Trump has a pretty extensive track record with ADA.

His properties have been sued a number of times for violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, including one instance where a man claimed that the buses to his Atlantic City casino were virtually impossible to access in a wheelchair.

James Conlon, the plaintiff in that 2003 case, alleged that he was told on two separate occasions that there were no “buses available for use by persons who use wheelchairs who choose to leave from the Long Beach, New York departure site.”

The case was later settled.

In the most egregious case, the U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene because the Trump Taj Mahal was nearly inaccessible for people with disabilities.

In 2011, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey conducted a compliance review of Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. They discovered an extensive list of problems.

There were no signs indicating handicapped parking in the self-park garage. A number of bathrooms lacked proper Braille for visually impaired people. The pipes in the bathroom were not insulated to prevent harm when contacted. The counter surfaces in the buffet were not at a proper height for individuals in wheelchairs. The list goes on, as these were only “some of the Department’s more significant findings.”

The terms of the settlement between the company and the federal government mandated that appropriate updates be made as soon as two weeks after the agreement in order to prevent further inspections thereafter. A representative for the Taj Mahal has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast about the status of these updates.

According to its official website, ADA compliance is required for “commercial and public entities that have “places of public accommodation.” There are clear instructions for accessibility certification on the website, including updates to the original requirements from the act’s inception in 1990.

Trump’s problems went beyond his properties. In 2005, attorney James Schottel Jr. sued producers of The Apprentice for discrimination by requiring “excellent physical” health to appear on the show. Schottel, who is quadriplegic, took issue with this requirement at the time and eventually got the show to change the language on its casting call.

David F. Jacobs, a representative of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, told The Daily Beast he couldn’t speak on the record about any existing ADA complaints related to Trump properties, some of which are no longer owned by Trump himself. He instead provided a link to their website, which listed cases including the 2011 one involving Trump Taj Mahal.

These cases notwithstanding, Trump has earned the ire of American disability organizations for his recent mocking of a New York Times reporter, who challenged Trump’s claims that “thousands” of Muslim people in New Jersey were cheering after the 9/11 attacks.

“Considering there are 56 million Americans living with a disability, you would think a candidate for president would be looking for opportunities to highlight their remarkable contributions to society, not mock them,” former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge told The Daily Beast. Ridge serves as the chairman of the National Organization on Disability, working alongside former president George H.W. Bush.

“Just ask any of the companies NOD works with and they’ll tell you people with disabilities are their best workers,” Ridge added.

“Mr. Trump would be wise to remember the words of NOD’s longtime honorary chairman, President George H.W. Bush, who after signing the ADA into law 25 years ago said to those in attendance: ‘We embrace you for your abilities and for your disabilities, for our similarities and indeed for our differences.’ That is what I call presidential.

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, December 2, 2015

December 3, 2015 Posted by | Americans With Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Donald Trump | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“They’re Stuck With The Mess”: Why Ordinary People Bear Economic Risks And Donald Trump Doesn’t

Thirty years ago, on its opening day in 1984, Donald Trump stood in a dark topcoat on the casino floor at Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza, celebrating his new investment as the finest building in Atlantic City and possibly the nation.

Last week, the Trump Plaza folded and the Trump Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy, leaving some 1,000 employees without jobs.

Trump, meanwhile, was on twitter claiming he had “nothing to do with Atlantic City,” and praising himself for his “great timing” in getting out of the investment.

In America, people with lots of money can easily avoid the consequences of bad bets and big losses by cashing out at the first sign of trouble.

The laws protect them through limited liability and bankruptcy.

But workers who move to a place like Atlantic City for a job, invest in a home there, and build their skills, have no such protection. Jobs vanish, skills are suddenly irrelevant, and home values plummet.

They’re stuck with the mess.

Bankruptcy was designed so people could start over. But these days, the only ones starting over are big corporations, wealthy moguls, and Wall Street.

Corporations are even using bankruptcy to break contracts with their employees. When American Airlines went into bankruptcy three years ago, it voided its labor agreements and froze its employee pension plan.

After it emerged from bankruptcy last year and merged with U.S. Airways, America’s creditors were fully repaid, its shareholders came out richer than they went in, and its CEO got a severance package valued at $19.9 million.

But American’s former employees got shafted.

Wall Street doesn’t worry about failure, either. As you recall, the Street almost went belly up six years ago after risking hundreds of billions of dollars on bad bets.

A generous bailout from the federal government kept the bankers afloat. And since then, most of the denizens of the Street have come out just fine.

Yet more than 4 million American families have so far lost their homes. They were caught in the downdraft of the Street’s gambling excesses.

They had no idea the housing bubble would burst, and didn’t read the fine print in the mortgages the bankers sold them.

But they weren’t allowed to declare bankruptcy and try to keep their homes.

When some members of Congress tried to amend the law to allow homeowners to use bankruptcy, the financial industry blocked the bill.

There’s no starting over for millions of people laden with student debt, either.

Student loan debt has more than doubled since 2006, from $509 billion to $1.3 trillion. It now accounts for 40 percent of all personal debt – more than credit card debts and auto loans.

But the bankruptcy law doesn’t cover student debts. The student loan industry made sure of that.

If former students can’t meet their payments, lenders can garnish their paychecks. (Some borrowers, still behind by the time they retire, have even found chunks taken out of their Social Security checks.)

The only way borrowers can reduce their student debt burdens is to prove in a separate lawsuit that repayment would impose an “undue hardship” on them and their dependents.

This is a stricter standard than bankruptcy courts apply to gamblers trying to reduce their gambling debts.

You might say those who can’t repay their student debts shouldn’t have borrowed in the first place. But they had no way of knowing just how bad the jobs market would become. Some didn’t know the diplomas they received from for-profit colleges weren’t worth the paper they were written on.

A better alternative would be to allow former students to use bankruptcy where the terms of the loans are clearly unreasonable (including double-digit interest rates, for example), or the loans were made to attend schools whose graduates have very low rates of employment after graduation.

Economies are risky. Some industries rise and others implode, like housing. Some places get richer, and others drop, like Atlantic City. Some people get new jobs that pay better, many lose their jobs or their wages.

The basic question is who should bear these risks. As long as the laws shield large investors while putting the risks on ordinary people, investors will continue to make big bets that deliver jackpots when they win but create losses for everyone else.

Average working people need more fresh starts. Big corporations, banks, and Donald Trump need fewer.

 

By: Robert Reich, The Robert Reich Blog, September 21, 2014

September 22, 2014 Posted by | Bankruptcy, Plutocrats, Student Debt | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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