Conservative New Hampshire Republican Party leader and corruption
fighter Andy Martin has known Donald Trump longer than almost anyone else in
politics or business, going back to 1978. Andy is the only person who can lay
claim to having “hired” Donald Trump, when he approved Donald’s application to
move into Andy’s condominium building. Andy will be writing about Trump in the
days ahead. But as Andy comes back from a leave-of-absence planning his 2016
“war room,” he sends Donald an open letter with some suggestions and reactions to
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Martin writes an open letter to Donald Trump
(July 22, 2015)
I have been aware of you to you longer than almost anyone
except your closest associates and family. Way back in 1978 when you were newly
married I sat on the board of directors of Olympic Tower and received your
rental application. I “hired” you to move in. When you were planning the Trump
I was an informal consultant to the
architects, Swanke Hayden Connell. Until recently I actually had a set of the
blueprints for Trump Tower
stored in my basement. In the 1980’s Spy Magazine had both of our names on one
of its lists.
Last January I was attending a luncheon at Mar-a-Lago and
you popped in to greet the guests. I saw you in a casual, informal setting.
And, your wedding was held at my church in Palm Beach.
You didn’t invite me but I followed what was happening from the parish; PB is a
A close friend told me you would not run for president this
time. I told him he was wrong; I was confident you would run, and I was right.
(Read my “Psychological Profile of Barack Obama” and you will see I do a pretty
good job of psychological profiling.) I predicted in February, 2007, eight
years ago, Obama would be a failure in the Oval Office, see link  below.
So I think it is a fair assessment that based on decades of
familiarity I may understand you better than anyone else in the political and
Preliminarily, I need to make it clear that I am not
endorsing or supporting any of the presidential candidates. I am committed to
the defeat of Jeb Bush but otherwise would support any of a number of qualified
candidates, including you. But because of my antipathy to Bush (“it’s personal,
not business”) I am avoiding any endorsement that Bush could turn around and
use against anyone I supported.
1. The McCain imbroglio
As I said, I am not supporting any candidate. But even some
of your strongest supporters cringed when you launched into an unprovoked
attack on prisoners of war and John McCain in particular. McCain had given you
a big opening to slam his poor political judgment and failed leadership.
Instead, you gave a textbook example of your own failure as a potential leader.
I am not going to argue about what you said during and after
the incident. The tape does not lie, and the tape is devastating. You tried to
recover but there was no way to recover from the original remarks. In this
letter I will suggest an approach that could put an end to the McCain
situation. I hope you will accept the benefit of my half century in politics.
Learn from my experience.
Because of your opposition to Jeb Bush, and my opposition to
Jeb Bush, I want to rescue your campaign from yourself. You can undo the
damage, but you have to act smart.
2. Follow your own rules and advice
You are running based on your record as a spectacularly
successful businessman. Great. Notwithstanding what the political class says,
and notwithstanding the snickers of the media class, there is nothing wrong
with “porting” success from one area of life to another. General Dwight
Eisenhower wasn’t a politician. But his existing non-political skills and
experience allowed him to conduct a presidency that in retrospect is receiving
increasing respect. I see no reason why a seasoned business executive cannot
step into the Oval Office and be an effective president.
In a New York Times article (see link  below), apparently
based on an in interview, you left the impression that you don’t prepare for
speeches and you are treating a campaign for the presidency as an afterthought.
Question: Is that the way you run your business, the way you built a successful
empire? Not at all.
Would you go to a real estate or mortgage closing without
reading the documents in advance and preparing? Of course not. Would you sign a
contract without reading it? Of course not.
And yet you went to Iowa
without any preparation; you previously announced your candidacy without a
prepared text. You can’t treat communication as an afterthought. You can be both spontaneous and
disciplined. That is the essence of a successful communicator. Very often I
will see you give an excellent speech, and then you undermine the premise of
your presentation with extraneous remarks.
In New Hampshire
in April you said you wanted to be taken seriously as a candidate. Then you
proceeded to deliver an unserious speech.
You are a supremely disciplined businessman, which is why
you have survived failures as well as successes. So why would you reverse course
and run an undisciplined campaign, why would you treat communication, the
essence of the process, as an area where you are totally lacking in discipline?
Instead of discarding and ignoring the principles that made
you a great businessman – which is, after all, your calling card as a candidate
– you should adopt and adapt and apply your successful principles to your
campaign. Instead of being a sloppy candidate whom the media expects to self-destruct
trough your own lack of discipline, do the opposite: Discipline yourself.
3. The “laws of television”
I criticized John McCain as an incompetent candidate in
2008, please see link  below. And I created a phrase to explain how television
works, which I call “the laws of television.” The laws of television also apply
There are different sets of “laws” for television, some for
when you are a host, and some for when you are a candidate. You can be an iconoclastic
candidate; but if you violate the laws of television you can’t succeed.
There is nothing wrong with aggressively critiquing your
opponents. You can dish it out, and they have to take it. But McCain was not a
candidate, and you attacked him for his service in the military, not his failed
political leadership over the decades. You gave the media a gotcha moment – by
violating the laws of television.
McCain’s criticism of your supporters in Arizona
was pathetic, part of his longstanding vitriol and hostility to conservatives
in his own state.
I tagged McCain as someone who violates the law of TV way
back in 2008. Which is why he lost. Don’t be a loser like McCain. Focus your
attacks where they mean something, and discipline your speech (yes, the “D”
word again). McCain gave you an opening to bash him for his ineffective
political leadership and you blew it. Attacking McCain where he is
invulnerable, his military service, was a mistake. The media were ready to pounce,
and they did. And so did your opponents.
The spats with Rick Perry and Lindsay Graham are indeed
sideshows. The critical comments about POW’s will have a more lasting impact if
you don’t take corrective action.
So how do you work your way out?
You performance in Iowa
gave hope to all of your enemies that your inability to control your
extemporaneous remarks would finish you off with l’affaire McCain, or with some new gaffe.
I encourage you to keep on striking hard blows against the
political gentry. That’s your job. But measure your speech by whether it
advances your cause, to ensure you don’t undermine your own campaign. Obey the laws
of TV and you might just win. Come across as angry and petulant on TV every
time you are criticized and you can’t win. The American people love payback;
have at it. Go after McCain or any of the others when they attack you, but be careful
how you swing the bat. That is all I am asking.
4. Contrition is everything
Presidential press secretary Ron Ziegler is memorably said
to have remarked that “Contrition is bullshit.” In the presidential process,
and in the leadership process, contrition is everything. Your answers in Iowa
last Saturday to non-McCain matters were less than stellar.
Go to church this Sunday. Apparently, for the first time,
ask God for forgiveness. Acknowledge that it is not only experience and wealth
that define a person; his or her spiritual health is also an essential aspect
of any leader’s personality and profile.
You were married at Bethesda
instead of a clerk’s office. You must have some beliefs. Nurture them.
Integrate them into your daily routine. And, most of all, begin every day with
a prayer, and end every day with a prayer. Humility and contrition will not
make you a weaker man; they will make you a stronger leader who can lead
Americans in the right direction. You don’t have to change who you are to make
amends with God. The very essence of Christianity is universal forgiveness and
Much more than just speaking about your own talents and
success, speak about your belief in a higher authority, in a greater calling
than just yourself. Those Marines and sailor who were massacred in Chattanooga
did not die for themselves. They wore a uniform that called them to a greater
sense of duty and commitment. Likewise, John McCain is far from a perfect man;
but when he wore a Navy uniform he owed loyalty to a cause more significant
All of us are flawed, often in many ways. But we are also
capable of rising above our own limitations. As you seek to lead this nation,
kneel humbly. At my church where you were married, this Sunday all of us will
make the confession of sin. There is no shame in confession, only honor. Only
through confession, humility and contrition can you hope to lead the American
people. If your goal is to win, be a winner with God. Your performance in Iowa
was spiritually underwhelming. Don’t take your base for granted.
McCain is not the brightest bulb but he gave you a lesson in
contrition. Instead of demanding a personal apology he shifted your guilt to a
broader base of victims, veterans and prisoners of war in general. He looked
bigger by doing so.
My suggestion: pick up the phone and call McCain. It is a
gracious gesture that will charm your supporters and disarm your adversaries. If
you want to erase the impact of the McCain imbroglio, just pick up the phone
and call him. Say you are sorry you reacted without thought. Make a kind
gesture. Your polls will skyrocket. Bottom line: if you pick up the phone, the
McCain exchange could become a winner. If you fail to pick up the phone your
candidacy could be impaired more than you realize.
Right now you are playing defense. And you will be on
defense as long as the media can keep the McCain ringer around your neck. A
simple phone call and a gracious conversation can make it all go away. You
started the process on the O’Reilly Factor. Take the next step and make the
call. You will be glad you did.
5. Don’t betray the faith of those who put their trust in
Finally, you and I know that millions of Americans are beginning
to put their faith and trust in you. Please do not betray them. Many loyal,
hard-working Americans have been disappointed by the political process, by the
scripted nature of presidential campaigns, by the governmental process in Washington,
and by the diminution of America’s
greatness due to the self-inflicted errors of our leaders.
Winning a nomination or winning the presidency is no easy
task. There is no shame in trying and not succeeding. But if you run in a way
that leaves a bad taste, or embarrasses you and allows the media to claim a
“victory” in defeating you, then you will have breached trust with those many
Americans who are desperate for a real change in Washington.
If you run an honorable and competent campaign, even one
characterized by hard blows at your opponents, you will gain and retain the
trust of the American people and ultimately you will strengthen, not undermine,
the political process.
But if you run a campaign that is not honorable, then you
will have left a bitter taste in the mouths of millions of Americans and
contribute to the cynicism they feel towards our government and leaders. Don’t
Use your God-given talents to lead our politics in a positive
direction the same way you have led in business. You are not a perfect person,
but you are an honorable person; bring honor to the presidential campaign and
you will cap a successful career in the private sector with a genuine and even
monumental contribution to the public arena. Run as an honorable man and you
might even win. Without honor there is no hope of victory. With honor and
decency you might be surprised to find yourself as “President Trump.”
I’ll have more to say about your campaign in the days ahead.
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ANDY MARTIN - A BRIEF BIO:
Andy Martin is a
legendary New Hampshire, New York and Chicago-based muckraker, author,
Internet columnist, talk television pioneer, radio talk show host, broadcaster
and media critic. With forty-seven years of background in radio and television
and with five decades of investigative and analytical experience in Washington, the USA and around the world, Andy provides
insight on politics, foreign policy, intelligence and military matters. For a
full bio, go to: www.AndyMartin.com;
also see http://www.boycottabc.com/executive_director.htm
He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of
Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City
University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).
immigrated to Manchester, New
Hampshire 100 years ago; today his home overlooks the Merrimack River and he lives around the corner from where
he played as a small boy. He is New Hampshire’s leading corruption fighter and
Republican Party reformer.
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