There's a small but distinct difference between a magician and a con man. Both seek to distract while performing a sleight-of-hand-type move. But while a magician does it to entertain, a con man performs his trickery for personal gain. Many of his followers might consider president-elect Donald Trump a magician because they believe his promise to bring good new jobs to American workers. But in reality he is a con man of the highest order.
On December 29 Trump posted this on Instagram:
This is Trump's sleight of hand. He tells his supporters that he will "hire American" while at the same time he staffs his domestic businesses with foreign workers. Just recently Trump's Virginia winery, now owned by his son Eric, requested Department of Labor permission to hire six full time foreign laborers to prune grape vines.
Trump is also hiring 64 "guest workers" to staff his Mar-a-Lago resort for the winter. Last year he brought in 69 foreign nationals to work there, doing jobs that many unemployed Americans were certainly capable of doing.
There is also the matter of the various Trump products, which, as The Washington Post documented, are made in a variety of countries around the world. If Trump really wanted to "hire American," he could have been making those products here for years. It's pretty safe to assume that Americans aren't packing their bags and moving to places like China to work in factories that are making Trump-branded merchandise. Clearly, Trump's greed precludes his hiring American workers when a cheaper alternative is available.
The "buy American" claim is just as bogus. The Wall Street Journal reported in October that while Trump was pretending to support the American steel industry, Trump buildings were being constructed with foreign steel.
There's also the matter of the "buy American" amendment that was recently proposed for a water projects bill being considered by Congress. That provision, co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle and North Carolina Republican Walter Jones, was rejected by the GOP controlled House. Democrats have used Trump's own words in attacking the Republican position on the amendment. Yet the president-elect himself has been curiously silent on the topic.
No doubt some of his backers will want to make a distinction between Trump's business practices and what he is promising for his administration. But when buying American and hiring American haven't been priorities for businessman Trump, why should we have any confidence they will be priorities for President Trump?
While all this is going on, Trump's supporters are paying no attention to the man behind the curtain. They're too distracted by his words to notice that he's picking their pockets.