Trump bought a piece of land for $1 million from the son of Philadelphia’s former mafia Don, and used it to launch a gambling empire.
Another former business associate of Mr Trump, Felix Sater is an ex-convict who had gone to prison for stabbing a man in the face with the snapped-off stem of a cocktail glass. Out of prison, Mr Sater went on to take part in a $40m (£27m) stock market scam in the 1990s involving four mafia families. Mr Sater then moved into property development, which is how he came into contact with Mr Trump. Despite Sater’s previous mafia links becoming public, Mr Trump remained involved with him in a property deal in Florida for another year.
Could this myriad of associations, points of contact, and shared affiliations with known mobsters just be the price of doing business in that business at that time? Sure. And if Trump were just a private citizen, businessman, and reality TV star, he would be under no obligation to explain any of this. But he isn’t. He is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.
It’s time to stop treating Trump as a sideshow. He is being treated with kid gloves because nobody thinks he can win. Everybody is simply waiting for him to implode under the pressure of his own enormous ego and unfiltered motor mouth. But rather than plunging his run into chaos, his racist ramblings about immigrants and undignified digs at John McCain’s military service have excited some supporters. They think he speaks truth to power. They think he is the only honest man in politics. And no degree of exasperation from level headed news people and party officials seems to tamp his populist surge.
Being a loudmouth bigot, the Archie Bunker of 2016 who says what people are too afraid to say, is working well for Donald Trump. But it’s time to hold his feet to the fire. This is a man who did a significant amount of business with mass murderers whose plunder of public and private funds added up to billions. What did he know about them? Maybe more importantly, what do they know about him?We need to welcome Donald Trump to his new place in serious national politics with a cold, hard look at the crooks, conspirators, and criminals who peopled his early career. Either the Donald will attempt to weather such scrutiny, or he will disappear from the race under it. Either way, that scrutiny needs to start now.