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If Trump Ever Had My Vote, He Just Lost It

| October 2, 2016

donald trump cuba embargp

Bray of prigs. (Gage Skidmore)

By Nancy Smith

Donald Trump supporters can disparage many of the meritless, petty attacks on their candidate, from the so-called “Star of David scandal” to the holes-in-Melania-Trump’s-immigration story. I don’t blame them. I disparage them, too. But I must tell you this: If Trump secretly conducted business in communist Cuba while Fidel Castro was its president, the Republican presidential nominee should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, not elected to the highest office in the land.

Prosecution isn’t going to happen, apparently. It doesn’t matter that it’s been illegal since the Kennedy administration to spend money in Cuba without proper authorization, the statute of limitations ran out some time ago on prosecuting Trump, his company, or any of its executives. He’s off the hook.

This latest revelation just lost Donald Trump my vote. Not that he ever had it. And not that he cares. But here I was, still waiting to hear a single sensible plan on any major issue, see if he might — somehow, by some miracle of God — develop statesmanship skills and a presidential demeanor. I was waiting to hear him tell the truth on something,anything, about himself. But today I am officially off the fence.

His actions over Cuba, and his failure so far to admit what he did, render him indefensible.

When challenged about his companies’ bankruptcies, Trump continues to shrug and boast that he did nothing wrong. “I only use the laws of the land to protect my business interests,” he says.

However harmful his four bankruptcies were to the small businesses they left suffering and broken, even I had to admit he was right: every business bankruptcy followed the letter of the law.

But this time is altogether different. He broke the Cuban trade embargo. He flat-out broke the law. According to a very thorough Newsweek investigation, documents show the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval.

Oh, his company didn’t spend the money directly. That’s how you know what a deliberate and sneaky operation it was. “Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corporation,” writes Newsweek. “Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company — then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts — how to make it appear legal by linking it after-the-fact to a charitable effort.”

The payment by Trump Hotels came just before Trump launched his first bid for the White House. He wanted the nomination of the Reform Party, you may recall. On his first day of the campaign, he traveled to Miami where he spoke to a group of Cuban-Americans. Trump vowed to maintain the embargo and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power.

Yes, he said that, at a luncheon hosted by the Cuban American National Foundation, an organization of Cuban exiles. Want to see hypocrisy? Have a look at the videohere.

“As you know — and the people in this room know better than anyone — putting money and investing money in Cuba right now doesn’t go to the people of Cuba,’’ Trump told the crowd. “It goes into the pockets of Fidel Castro. He’s a murderer, he’s a killer, he’s a bad guy in every respect, and, frankly, the embargo must stand if for no other reason than, if it does stand, he will come down.”

He was lying like a puddle on the floor.

He put his own business/personal interests ahead of America’s.

He was trying to make up for a company that piled up losses for years. Quoting from the company’s financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Newsweek wrote, “In 1998 alone, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts lost $39.7 million.” He wanted to strike a deal in Cuba, so with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corporation. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company how to make it appear legal by linking it after-the-fact to a charitable effort.

Neither he nor his executives nor his surrogates made even a phony link to a “charitable effort.” They flouted the law instead, calculating the low risk of getting caught versus the high reward of lining up Cuban allies if the U.S. loosened or dropped the embargo, as President Bill Clinton wanted to do at the time.

I repeat: America’s strict trade bans made Trump’s undertaking illegal. Period. There is no other side of this story.

I can justify my exposure of anti-Trump bias among the mainstream media generally, because indeed, coverage of the 2016 presidential race isn’t playing out on a level field. But today I feel I owe Sunshine State News readers transparency, and I want them to know where I stand, what brought me to this point and why I now question the patriotism, let alone the character, of Donald J. Trump.

Over the years, I might not have agreed with every piece of the agenda Republicans put out there. But I always believed my party at least ran a candidate for president whose principles were beyond reproach. Until now. And I’m sorry. Not just for me, but for us all.

Maybe Trump can’t be prosecuted. But I have a feeling his Cuban-American supporters will have an even harder time than I did gagging on this Cuba lie.  If they rise up to help defeat him in Florida in November, who can blame them?

nancy smith sunshine state news columnistNancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News. She started her career at the Daily Mirror and The Observer in London before spending 28 years at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News as managing editor and associate editor. She was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in the mid-1990s. Reach her by email here, or follow her on twitter at @NancyLBSmith.

36 Responses for “If Trump Ever Had My Vote, He Just Lost It”

  1. Steve Robinson says:

    Nancy, certainly glad to see that you are not in the Trump camp, but $68,000 spent illicitly in Cuba by this adolescent lunatic is what has finally pushed you off the fence?? Well, I guess we all have our pressure points!

  2. Oh WOW says:

    Make America Great Again.

  3. Fredrick says:

    Can both of the candidates share a cell? Still have to say…. .Anyone but HRC.

  4. Sw says:

    He will blow it on his own

  5. Florida Gator says:

    But I guess it’s ok for Hillary to not claim responsibility for the deaths of 4 great Americans by declining help in Libya then lying about it and CONTINUING to lie about it and her 30,000 plus classified emails? A tad hypocritical don’t you think?

  6. Veteran says:

    And it’s OK for Hillary to run? WTF?

  7. Knightwatch says:

    Unfortunately, there is no outrage, either legal or otherwise, that will deter his most passionate followers. They are immune to his hypocrisy, to his constant and persistent lies and exaggerations, to his ugly personal insults, to his pervasive bullying, and to his inherent racism, bigotry, and woman-shaming. Nothing deters them. Nothing causes them to pause, or to think. They are infatuated by this blowhard buffoon because he promises tp protect their white Christian supremacy. To make them as rich as he is. To cure all of their ills. To make them whole again. It is a religious experience for them and Trump is their messiah.

    The only cure for Trumpism… vote for Hillary. Vote early. Get your friends and family to vote. Beat his sorry ass, bigly!

  8. r&r says:

    $68,000 is peanuts compared to what the Clintons have spent overseas to countries we’re at war with.

  9. Freddy says:

    I guess what triggered your vote were acts that you think are more severe than having Americans killed in Benghazi or deliberately erasing classified emails on an illegal private server. You have your opinions and I have mine. I vote for Trump!

  10. davet says:

    Well while everyone is so blown away by this, lets just haul the US govt in there as well. We have been leasing GITMO from Cuba since 1903 and we continue to lease that 45 miles of land to this day even during the “embargo”. . But Castro only cashed one check from our US Treasury Dept citing he doesn’t see this as a lease but as a hostel take over of land. So the US still sends a check each year to Cuba for their lease of of the land at GITMO. And we were sending money during the embargo.

  11. palmcoaster says:

    Glad one more in this side of the border not rooting for a wall building maniac than then he will jump it looking for cheap labor too, just to benefit himself.

  12. footballen says:

    Of all the murders and the Clinton foundation , selling the government to the highest bidder and this is what you find fault with? WOW!!!!!!!

  13. Tom says:

    Give me a break! He’s not doing anything that someone else would’nt do with his kind of money.

  14. Geezer says:

    “Make America Great Again.”
    Translation: get the ni***r out of the White House.

    “Donald Trump supporters can disparage many of the meritless, petty attacks on their candidate…”
    Ms. Smith: I believe that dementia has crept up on you, ma’am.

  15. palmcoaster says:

    With Trump-et players like some above and their hate dripping words we all get more reassurances that we do not need a bigot, egotistical, bandit in the WH .No and thank you!

  16. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    Reminder: HRC didn’t have emails on her server that contained classified material when they were sent. There were two emails discovered that had information that had been classified afterwards. Likewise, Benghazi wasn’t HRC’s fault – house republicans have consistently cut funding to embassy security, and were even warned by HER in 2011 that cuts like the ones they pushed through would be detrimental to out national security.

    Really, trump is the best. After his open armed embrace of David Duke and all that he stands for, his coked-up debate, his continual twitter attacks on gold star families and women, his faked birtherism, and now his almost $1 billion loss on a tax return anyone that would openly vote for him needs mental health care.

  17. What happened to common sense says:

    All this righteous indignation over this trivia, and not a word about Hilliay’s many criminalities. Me suspects a little bias on your part.

  18. karma says:

    Anyone waffling on Trump remember one thing. There is a Supreme Court vacancy, anyone who still thinks the Constitution is important may want to vote Trump.

  19. The Oracle says:

    Nancy, please don’t ever forget Benghazi. You are one of the reasons many people don’t trust journalists. From day one you were not going to support or vote for Trump, be honest and admit it. MAKE AMERICAN GREAT AGAIN. Thank you.

  20. Oh WOW says:

    Go ahead vote for Killery who gives a shit. She is the worst.

  21. flaglers finest says:

    Also not to mention Hillary has personally attacked all of her husband, Bill’s rape victims. So, moral of the story is dont go throwing stones from glass houses.

  22. Helendee says:



  23. Makeitso1701 says:

    It doesn’t matter what Trump does or says, be it illegal or insulting or worse. His Kool aid drinking supporters will always support the Chumpster.

  24. John Dough says:

    [Note: Nancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News, a conservative statewide news site. Her last column had decried the liberal media’s take on Trump.–FL]

    More and more liberal media everyday, it’s getting pathetic. People don’t even realize how much the media twist stories around. There is truly nobody to believe anymore it’s all just lies.

  25. Common Sense says:

    Trump is a serial cheater who hasn’t paid taxes in over 20 years while making millions. He has insulted women, gays, hispanics, blacks, the Pope, jews, other countries and continues to demonstrate his mental instability day after day.

    America is already great and this moron isn’t going to make it better for anyone. He is an embarrassment to this country and to inteeligent Americans everywhere.

  26. Knowledge says:

    There’s a ton of dead people in the Clinton’s past, not to mention the four brave souls who died in Benghazi. Have you all forgotten Vince Foster already? I don’t see any bodies in Trump’s past. Get rid of the politics and send the Clintons to prison for life.

  27. Marlee says:

    Florida Gator says:
    October 2, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    But I guess it’s ok for Hillary to not claim responsibility for the deaths of 4 great Americans by declining help in Libya then lying about it and CONTINUING to lie about it ….

    and….it’s OK for Bush to make up a war that killed 1,000’s???????????

  28. Flatsflyer says:

    Trump is what’s wrong with America. He appeals to the lowest form of life, the racist, the uneducated, the hateful, the Religious Right. We need to take these idiots and get them the mental health care they so desperately need. Anyone voting or even supporting Trump is truly sick. He has lived his entire life lying, cheating and stealing. He has harmed more people around the globe than Hitler. He has sold America down the drain and his followers have helped him do this. I have yet to meet a Trump supporter who served in the military, only been married one, didn’t have illegitimate children and didn’t regularly cheat on local, state and federal taxes.

  29. tulip says:

    It doesn’t matter what candidate loses or gains what votes. Whoever gets so-called elected will not be any good for this country and things might get worse.

    I see the athletes on tv deliberately snubbing the National Anthem, and no one cares or does anything about it. This has nothing to do with the elections, except that the politicians stay away from the subject. Just something that’s happening that will affect our young children and teens and a further sign of things to come.

  30. footballen says:

    You people leaned so far left you fell over. I will vote for some democrats but that murdering Hillary will never be one of them. Now I guess you can come at me with the attacks that I am retarded or really dumb or better yet somehow racist. I really do not know where you come up with this garbage.

  31. footballen says:

    You guys just lump everyone who does not agree with you into some group you label with some offensive term like racist, not ever realizing that it is YOUR manner of thinking that breeds racism.

  32. Brian says:

    “Prosecution isn’t going to happen, apparently.” “Flat-out broke the law.” “Lying like a puddle on the floor.” With your misgivings like these about a candidate, Nancy, I guess it would be safe to say that you aren’t voting for Crooked Hillary either. Maybe you’re going for Gary “what’s an Aleppo” Johnson…

  33. Joe says:

    LOL, This is moronic, 6 billion tax dollars missing from the state dept, lying to congress, insults to american people, “parental basement dwellers and basket of deplorable” Bhengazi, “it was a video” whule e-mailing family and others saying it was a terrorist attach, pay to play, Clinton foundation scam, and we could go on and on about their scandals and this is the best you could could come up with? Hilarious!

  34. carol says:

    Donald is street smart and an extremely bright businessman, exactly what this country needs.
    He has my vote and the vote of working people.
    Hillary has the vote of the moochers and freeloaders!!!

  35. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    Also, lol at Nancy Smith’s breaking point for not voting for trump. Violating the cuban embargo. Let that sink in: this pathetic shill was ok with multiple bankruptcies, inexcusable behavior towards women (including his own daughter), losing almost a billion dollars to failed business ventures, his complete an utter lack of any statesmanship skills and unfettered narcissism, his impending rape trial, trump university, establishing a charity to hide his assets while violating law and using the charity’s money to buy personal items, attacking a gold star family, his embracing for years and then saying oh well it’s not true of birtherism, his denial of knowing putin while HIS WIFE GOES SHOPPING WITH PUTIN’S GIRLFRIEND, his refusal to denounce david “grand wizard of the kkk” duke, the russian moles in high positions in his campaign – to name just a FEW. She’s divorcing herself from voting for trump because of cuba.

    What a loon.

  36. Diana says:

    Is not a matter of how much did DT spent in Cuba, the fact here is that he violated the law. It could have been a penny or a billion dollars. The law is the law and is the same for all of us.

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