By Jim Ray
Editor’s Note: According to the Urban Dictionary, “the man behind the curtain” derived from the movie The Wizard of Oz, is someone who is in the background secretly plotting and conspiring. In this four-week series, The Presidential Prayer Team intends to reveal who is behind the curtain when it comes to the financial support of candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as well as who stands with or behind the candidates with spiritual advice and support. We believe you should “pay plenty of attention” to this information.
If you are the person who changed Donald Trump’s tire, would you please come forward and identify yourself?
There is an anecdote, which first appeared in the February, 1996 issue of Forbes magazine, of a magnanimous act of kindness performed by the New York real estate mogul-turned Republican presidential candidate.
Trump, the story goes, was on a New Jersey highway when a flat tire brought his stretch limo to a halt. A passing driver—was it you?—stopped to help the chauffeur change the tire, whereupon the darkened rear window of the limo lowered, and Trump asked the good Samaritan what he might to do repay the kindness. The man handed over a card with his address and suggested Trump might send a bouquet of flowers to his wife. Two weeks later, Donald not only sent the flowers, but also paid off the man’s $100,000-plus mortgage.
Twenty years later, the veracity of the story remains in doubt. Some details of the tale run parallel to urban legends featuring other celebrities. Donald Trump, for his part, affirmed it as true on an episode of the television show The Apprentice—but was that entertainment or fact?
The account of the flat tire mortgage-payoff encapsulates the many financial ambiguities of Donald J. Trump. It starts with his net worth—Trump says he is worth $10 billion, Forbes pegs it at a comparatively paltry $4 billion. The truth is difficult to pin down, and everything the candidate says tends to muddy the waters.
Donald Trump’s finances and his financial advisors are of keen interest to voters. After all, whoever takes up residency in the Oval Office next January will assume control of the largest economy in the world—as well as a national debt that is on the verge of becoming irreversibly ruinous. How each is managed will impact every single American.
What can be learned about the candidate’s choice of advisors?
Trump’s Top Advisor: Trump
Trump has signaled that when it comes to final decision-making, there won’t be a need for committees. Asked about consulting with foreign policy advisors on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, he said, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain … I know what I’m doing and I listen to a lot of people … but my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff.”
Certainly, decisiveness is a positive trait. Some believe many modern day presidents—from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama—have cost the nation blood and treasure because of a failure to commit to winning conflicts decisively.
But it’s also important to embrace wise counsel. “Without counsel plans fail,” says Proverbs 15:22, “but with many advisers they succeed.”
The late Fred C. Trump was clearly an influential figure in his son’s life. It was from his father that Donald learned about real estate investing and from whom he received a “small” loan of $1 million to launch his empire.
And yet, the father’s counsel was anything but sacrosanct. Early in Donald’s career when he proposed purchasing a dilapidated hotel in Manhattan, his father told him the deal was “like trying to buy a ticket on the Titanic.” But the son forged ahead, and eventually made it profitable.
According to federally-supplied information, known donors to the campaign, remaining within federal limits, include:
Large contributors to the campaign committee plus any super PACs or hybrid PACs working on his behalf, include:
Trump has frequently mentioned his friend and fellow billionaire investor Carl Icahn as someone whom he trusts—as well as a possible candidate for Secretary of the Treasury. But apart from Icahn and a small circle of Wall Street friends, he sees himself as the preeminent expert when it comes to money and negotiating.
Given that his choice of advisors—and his limited employment of their advice—provides scant insight, voters will have to decide whether past performance predicts future results. Making this more challenging is that Trump himself makes it difficult to separate bluster from substance. It is, nonetheless, inarguable that he has enjoyed great success with his investments and business interests. It is also undeniable he, like all risk takers, has had his share of failures, with numerous company bankruptcies, for example. On the whole, though, Trump has certainly done a better job managing his money than the politicians have done managing the taxpayers’. But will success in the business world translate to the government?
Your decision is a momentous one, because what you will be changing with your vote is much more important than a tire.
Jim Ray is a writer, fundraiser and consultant. He and his wife Stacey have two children and reside in Nashville, TN.
Pray the Vote is a nationwide movement to “encourage informed prayer” for the 2016 Presidential elections.
It is based on the belief that, when God’s people cry out to Him in earnest and heartfelt prayer, He will bless our nation in ways we cannot foresee. Our prayers open a window for God to work across our land.
Your prayers will change the world.
18 – (Week of) Republican National Convention in Cleveland
25 – (Week of) Democrat National Convention in Philadelphia
30 – Because state registration deadlines are so variable, suggest everyone be registered to vote in the General Election by this date.
3 – ELECTION DAY