The sense of panic in the Republican party as Donald Trump surges ahead of his only viable rivals, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in the race for the GOP nomination is almost palpable.
Having won all but one of the Republican primaries so far and a favorite to emerge victorious on Super Tuesday, it seems that Trump is unstoppable and that he will be that party’s candidate for the White House in November.
An outcome that would have been dismissed as beyond belief two months ago now seems inevitable.
Unless, perhaps, the Republicans reach for a card that many observers can’t believe they didn’t play weeks ago: the Mob card.
Trump’s suspicious links to organised crime were highlighted by one of my favorite American journalists, David Cay Johnston in the National Memo online magazine way back in May 2015 but have so far gone unnoticed, or so it seems, by either the GOP’s hierarchy or the media (no surprise there!).
Johnston raised the Mob issue, along with many other dubious aspects of Trump’s business career, in form of questions he posed to Trump, twenty-one in all, of which six dealt directly or otherwise with Trump’s alleged dealings with organised crime bosses.
As, Johnston put it, “Reporters, competing Republican candidates, and voters would learn a lot about Trump if they asked for complete answers to these 21 questions.”
Here are the relevant mob-linked questions posed by Johnston:
6. Trump Tower is not a steel girder high rise, but 58 stories of concrete.
Why did you use concrete instead of traditional steel girders?
7. Trump Tower was built by S&A Concrete, whose owners were “Fat” Tony Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, and Paul “Big Paul” Castellano, head of the Gambinos, another well-known crime family.
If you did not know of their ownership, what does that tell voters about your management skills?
8. You later used S&A Concrete on other Manhattan buildings bearing your name.
9. In demolishing the Bonwit Teller building to make way for Trump Tower, you had no labor troubles, even though only about 15 unionists worked at the site alongside 150 Polish men, most of whom entered the country illegally, lacked hard hats, and slept on the site.
How did you manage to avoid labor troubles, like picketing and strikes, and job safety inspections while using mostly non-union labor at a union worksite — without hard hats for the Polish workers?
11. You sent your top lieutenant, lawyer Harvey I. Freeman, to negotiate with Ken Shapiro, the “investment banker” for Nicky Scarfo, the especially vicious killer who was Atlantic City’s mob boss, according to federal prosecutors and the New Jersey State Commission on Investigation.
Since you emphasize your negotiating skills, why didn’t you negotiate yourself?
12. You later paid a Scarfo associate twice the value of a lot, officials determined.
Since you boast that you always negotiate the best prices, why did you pay double the value of this real estate?
It would be interesting to hear Trump’s answers to these questions and perhaps even more interesting to hear them asked!