The Devious Donalds…Cut Buddies from Way Back
WARNING: Bullshit Artists at Work!
“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit….
The bullshitter is involved in a program of obfuscation, not merely the substitution of truth for lies.”
Dr. Harry G. Franks, Professor of Philosophy at Princeton
Princeton philosopher Harry G. Franks became so intrigued with the phenomenon of bullshit and the practice of bullshitting he wrote a 67 page treatise on the subject titled On Bullshit. Although I know but little of philosophy, nor am I curious enough about bullshitting to write an extended treatise on the subject, I feel not the slightest doubt that I know bullshit when I hear it and can spot a bullshit artist miles away. I seem to have a built in bullshit detector that allows me to detect bullshit before it leaves the bulls ass. So when I pull yo coat to a bull shitter bet the family jewels on it: Donald Trump, and his mentor in the art Donald King, are virtuoso performers in the ancient art of bull shitting! And when I saw them hooking up at a political rally in Cleveland I thought of that old Louis Jordan hit “Beware Brother Beware!”
The first time I saw Donald Trump in person was at a press party to announce the forthcoming fight between “Iron” Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks for the Undisputed Heavy-Weight Championship of the World. It was a unification match because both fighters held a portion of the Heavy-Weight crown awarded by different sanctioning bodies. Since the fight game is all about glitz and hype, The Donald was right in his element as the princes and powers of the fight game and various VIP hangers on assembled in the Grand ballroom of The Plaza, a famous old New York landmark hotel that was recently purchased by “The Donald” – as he was known back in the day – and given a face lift and plastered with the Trump name.
Located at Central Park South, with a view of the magnificent Arboretum, everything about the newly refurbished hotel was plush. The lively crowd was dressed to the nines; the cuisine and drinks were exquisite; it was big time Big Apple style. Trump was the MC and controlled the mike like a Bronx B Boy. My most poignant memory of the occasion was that upon first sight I could see that Donnie Trump was a pure bullshit artist. His opening remarks consisted entirely of an accounting of his “brilliant real estate deals.” I thought right off he might well be the most shallow important person I have ever met.
In this he reminded me of nobody more than Don King – Trump’s mentor in the lucrative fight game – whose personal history and style beguiled “The Donald.” Their stories could not have been more different. Donald Trump was born to the purple with a silver spoon in his mouth. Freddie Trump, his father, was a strong family man and patriarchal autocrat, who had amassed millions of dollars from the real estate business in the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, employing scurrilous racial exclusion policies and other questionable business practices such as employing mobbed up construction contractors.
Trump is a life-long New Yorker who wanted to be a big baller in the Manhattan real estate business and gain national celebrity. Don King was born and bred in the gritty mid-western town of Cleveland – aka “the mistake by the lake” – and badly wanted to escape the drudgery of factory work and live the glamourous life. He pursed this dream with a relentless determination without regard to social conventions or the law and finally realized it in the big time boxing business.
One came from a lily white privileged environment where he had never worried about paying his rent, nor knew anybody who did, and the other grew up in a community where almost everybody was a couple of paydays away from financial disaster and many thought “ho money is better than no money.” One spouted the “Golden Rule” and acquired their fortune with the protection of the police, the other pursued their fortune by deceiving and dodging the long arm of the law guided by the belief that “A po man can’t fool with the Golden Rule in a crowd that don’t play fair.”
Yet they had certain traits in common. Both believe in the “rule of gold;” they are both megalomaniacs and born motor mouths; bunko artists /salesmen who believe they can sell icicles to Eskimos. And they will say whatever suits their purpose; regardless of its relationship to the truth. Both are authoritarian personalities who love the limelight and flaunt their wealth in the vulgar ostentatious fashion of street hustlers. Of course, Don King is a street player from Cleveland, a cold-blooded gangster who was deadly to his adversaries, but he was rescued from that dangerous life after a stint in prison for murdering one of his soldiers who had stolen $600 from him. King has two dead bodies to his credit: he stomped one to death and shot the other in the back.
Don King: “Only in America!”
Patriotic Gangster or Shameless Bunko Artist?
King talked his way into the boxing business by cultivating a relationship with a rising young heavy-weight named Cassius Clay, whom urban legend has it was introduced to King by the popular singer/bandleader Lloyd Price, who years later would put together the concert that accompanied the title fight between Muhammad Ali and the fearsome George Foreman in Zaire Africa called “The Rumble in the Jungle.” It was through his association with Ali that King rose to prominence as a boxing promoter, virtually monopolizing big fight promotions for a couple of decades during the last third of the 20th century. It was Don Kings prominence in the fight game that brought him into an association with Donald Trump, and at one point they became thick as thieves. Compared to the wily streetwise King, Trump was like the “white boy lost in the blues” as the song goes.
A White Boy Lost in the Blues
Mesmerized by the Master Player
“There is nobody like Don King,” says Donald Trump
In the videos and photographs of the Trump and King together it is King who comes across as the master and Donald the apprentice…which was definitely the case when it came to the glittering milieu of World Championship boxing – which was in a golden age. What King offered Trump was a chance to make millions, and become a figure on the world stage, by putting on his world title boxing matches – which attract more mega-stars from more fields than any single event – at Trump’s venues in Atlantic City, breaking the monopoly of Las Vegas – especially Caesar’s Palace – on the big fights with international appeal. The power of the Casinos to generate big money by attracting the “high rollers” from around the world is what had caused fight promoters to abandon Madison Square Garden in New York, which was known as “The Mecca of Boxing,” for Las Vegas. Together Trump and King decided to make the sleepy seaside city on the Atlantic Ocean the new Mecca of Boxing.
Hence they formed a lucrative partnership and did indeed make Atlantic City a major player in the fight game, especially after 1985 when Trump convinced state legislators to scrap the luxury tax and reduce the event tax by 50%. The exhibition of boxing matches King promoted at Trump’s Castle and other venues he controlled – like the Atlantic City Convention Center, where he built a walkway between the two making it easy for fight fans to get to the gambling tables – began in 1986 and included a who’s who of boxing talent in that period. The world class fighters under contract to King that appeared in Trump’s venues beginning in 1985 include: Hector “Macho” Camacho, Julio Cesar Chavez, Gerry Cooney, Vinnie Pazienza, et al. Their crowning achievement in the boxing business was the World Heavy-Weight Championship unification match that featured Michael Spinks vs. “Iron Mike” Tyson. Boxing is a unique business, by the time Trump got in the fight game the promoter’s business was the selling of rights: To television, live site owners, and concessionaires.
As a Casino owner Trump’s business was to calculate “the drop” – which is to say accurately estimate how much money the “high rollers” in the fight crowd would “drop” on the gaming tables gambling in the Casino before and after the fight. This is a risky business because the site owner must pay a substantial fee in order to acquire the fight; the fee for the Spinks -Tyson rights was three and a half million dollars. Given the popularity of the fight this was a well calculated risk and resulted in a seven and a half million dollar drop – even though the fight lasted only 90 seconds!
Two Champions: Tyson and Spinks
King put Trump in position to make millions in a single night!
The party Trump gave to announce the fight displayed the vulgar opulence worthy of a man who aspired to be King of New York City. The co-champs were joined in a voluptuous feast attended by boxing wise guys, glitterati from the fight crowd, journalists, et al. I was there as a writer with deep ties to the Spinks camp because I had been head of public relations for Butch Lewis Productions, which held the promotional rights to all of Michael Spinks fights. I got a close up look at Trump during the party and my first impressions have proved lasting. His entire conversation was a celebration of himself. He was all Id, and came across as a narcissistic bore who was as shallow as a dry creek bed during a drought. When I got lost on the way to the bathroom and stumbled upon Trump and Tyson’s wife, Robyn Givens, in a hidden alcove away from the crowd, the way they jumped and stiffened up upon seeing me left me with the suspicion that they might have been playing stink finger.
Having considerable experience in seducing OPP, I usually know one when I see one.! And now, based on new evidence that has come to light, and Trump publicly admitting he is a serial pussy snatcher, I am convinced that my original hunch was right! For instance, writer Harry Hurt, author of “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump,” tells us he heard many rumors about Trump banging Robyn, and reports having seen them alone together – just like me – and also tells how Trump was overhead bashing Robyn’s incompetence at the art of fellatio!
Then we get this bizarre story from the book Trump Nation, written by New York Times reporter Tim O’Brien. According to O’Brien, during one interview the rumors about his dangerous liaison with Robin Tyson came up and O’Brien tells us:
“Tyson sat down in Donald’s corner office hundreds of feet above Fifth Avenue and the two men chatted for about fifteen minutes before the boxer got to the point. Donald recalled their conversation in detail.
“Mr. Trump, could I ask you a question?” Tyson asked.
“Whatever you want, Mike,” Donald responded.
“Are you fucking my wife?”
“Are you fucking my wife? Everyone’s telling me that you’re fucking my wife.”
Tyson then pulled out a copy of Vogue magazine that features a picture of Ms. Givens wearing a Trump Princess hat from Donald’s yacht.
“Everyone’s telling me that you’re fucking my wife and I think you’re fucking my wife,” Tyson said.
“Mike, let me tell you something: I never ever even thought about it. And I heard those rumors and they’re disgusting. In fact, I called you a couple of times to tell you that I heard those rumors and it pisses me off. And I never, ever even thought about it. She’s your wife, she’s with you, she’s loyal to you, and it’s total bullshit.”
“Mike it’s absolutely bullshit, it’s false,” Donald reiterated. “I give you my word.”
“Could I lie down on your couch?” asked Tyson.
“Because I’m so tired I just want to nap.”
“Sure, go ahead.”
Needless to say, after reading this I became convinced that my suspicions were on the money. I had not thought about it for years, and then I heard Tyson relate a tale about catching Robyn in a car with blond actor Brad Pitt – the sable beauty seems to have the hots for blonds – under suspicious circumstances in his much acclaimed one man Broadway show spinning anecdotes from his amazing life. But when Trump became a candidate for President, and Mike Tyson stepped forward as a vocal enthusiastic supporter of the man rumored to be banging his boo, I started thinking about the issue again. From all appearances it seems that “Iron Mike” is actually a Mammy Cut wearing poot-butt Whittol – which is old English for a willing Cuckhold. Trump played him off just like his mentor King would have done; the apprentice learned the con well from his mentor – the Master bunko artist.
Dancing with the Stars!
Jesse Jackson, Trump, King, and Ebony/Jet publisher John Johnson
I suspect that it is hard to overestimate the extent to which Trump’s way of dealing in the world has been influenced by Don King, who not only introduced him to the colorful characters in the big time boxing game, but to luminaries of the Afro-American community, and even heads of state. Human nature being what it is, Donald Trump could not help but be impressed with men like Reverend Jesse Jackson, an activist/thought leader on questions of vital importance to the nation, and John Johnson, the publisher of Ebony and Jet Magazine, publications that survived dramatic changes in the magazine market that had wiped out several gargantuan white magazines such as Look and Life.
After all, when Trump started out in business he had a Wharton degree in Real Estate Finance, plus the benefit of his father’s money, advice, and connections in the construction business. And he was a straight white male. Trump had the complexion and the connections from jump street! The only thing these black men had in common with him was that they were straight! They had none of his advantages plus had to deal with the burden of blatant racial discrimination! How could Trump not be impressed with their achievements?
Donnie and Dad Chillin with Butch and King at the Spinks-Tyson Fight
Everybody loves the limelight of a World Heavy-Weight Championship fight
A Ménage a Trois?
King Introducing Trump to President Bush
Trump was beguiled by this black Gentleman Gangster who schmoozed with Presidents
Butch Lewis introduced me to the business of boxing; he sought me out by virtue of a couple of articles that I wrote about the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommie Hearns World Welter-Weight Championship unification match. The articles were titled “The Sugarman and the Mo-Town Cobra: Notes on Those Wonderful Welter-Weights” and “The Sugarman was Just Too Sweet for the Motown Cobra: Notes on the Poetry of Pugilism.” These two essays not only brought me to the attention of Butch Lewis, they also got the attention of Sugar Ray Leonard, which resulted in my nearly promoting the match between Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler for the Undisputed World Middle-Weight Championship.
Playthell and Partners Negotiating with Sugar Ray
Sugar and Marvelous Marvin was the Dream Match
I got my first real impression of Don King’s character when I went to work for Butch; before that King was just a verbose colorful bullshit artist who was probably the best promoter since P.T. Barnham i.e. the quintessential bullshit artist. It was the nature of the game. However the portrait Butch painted of him was of a ruthless criminal and con-man whose word meant nothing and he would beat you for every dime if he could. Butch explained how he began his career in the boxing business by chauffeuring Joe Frazier around in a limo he borrowed from the used car dealership where he was a salesman. This is how he met Don King.
The reputation that Butch had in the boxing business as a “never say die” competitor imbued with what sociologist call “the eternal optimism of the hustler,” and a great salesman who could sniff out a deal where others saw nothing, was on display when he first approached Don King. Hanging around on the fringes of the game Butch recognized that he had to come up with a unique angel to break into the business. His opportunity came when King made the match between Muhamad Ali vs. Leon Spinks for the Heavy-Weight Championship in 1978. Two years earlier Spinks had captured the attention of the sporting world by winning the Olympic Gold medal in dramatic fashion. A compelling part of Spink’s story was that he was a member of the United States Marine Corps when he fought in the Olympic Games.
In a very creative move Butch decided to approach King with a proposal that he sell the fight to the US Navy to be broadcast by close circuit to their troops on military bases and ships at sea. Since butch would be working purely on commission, which means if he couldn’t close the deal King wouldn’t owe him a penny, The Don said hell yeah! It was a no lose proposition for him. Well, Butch pulled it off. To King’s astonishment, he sold the fight to the Navy! Butch used to say that’s what made Kings hair stand up in that wild fashion that gave him the look of a cartoon character experiencing an electric shock. However, Butch had done the deal on a verbal commitment and King welched on the agreement and robbed him, played him like pimps play whores.
He didn’t take all of the money…just most of it. Then, adding insult to injury, King had the unmitigated gall to offer Butch a Job! Butch was so incensed he not only turned down the job but bought a high powered rifle and began to make serious plans to kill King. Fortunately, Butch thought the better of it and decided to become his business competitor instead. Thankfully, due to the superb writings of Jack Newfield – a great investigative reporter and die hard boxing fan who had them dress him in a boxing robe and gloves on his death bed – we have learned that the dirt Don did to Butch was par for the course in his dealings with fighters.
Newfield’s documentary film on King “Only In America” tells it all in the words of the people King Screwed. I am appending a clip of the film at the end of this essay. The same character flaws and dirty dealings that we see in Don King we can also observe in Donald Trump. The hype and bullshit, the pathological lying; the screwing of contractors who he refused to pay after they have completed work for him; the megalomania; the love of the limelight; his avoidance of paying taxes – King was unsuccessfully prosecuted by the government on tax fraud charges – that keeps him under audit; the character assassination of his competitors, for instance King called Tyson’s first manager Bill Clayton “Satan.” It’s all there.
There is another King trait that we also see in Trump, and it could well be his undoing politically. And that his ability to abandon relationships and forget promises to those who work with and support him on the spur of the moment and adopt opposite positions if it suits his interests. Two examples will suffice. When anti-apartheid groups in the US organized a boycott against entertainers or athletes performing in South Africa because of the anti-black policies of their Nazi like all white government, Don King talked Heavy-Weight Champion Mike Weaver into defending his crown in South Africa. He cloaked his appeal, as well as his rationale to the anti-apartheid groups, in the argument that because weaver was such a magnificent example of African manhood – being that he is ebony black with magnificently sculpted muscles – his destruction of the white South African champion would raise the morale of the African resistance.
In the period before the fight King was full of bluster about “black brotherhood,” practically casting himself as a liberator of black self-confidence in South Africa. However, when the white south African knocked Mike Weaver out, Weaver recalls Don King stepping over him as he lay dazed on the canvas in his mad rush to embrace the white South African, who was now under contract to King due to a clause in the contract. Hence the south African was now King’s new Heavy-Weight Champion! All the black liberation talk quickly evaporated like an ices sickle in the African sun.
As I write, Trump is also engaged in a blatant bait and switch. Many of his most ardent supporters in the untutored mob that played such a critical role in his election to the presidency did so because he promised to build a wall on the Mexican border; make the Mexican government pay for it; “drain the swamp of lobbyist for special interest;” punish companies that relocate overseas; and protect essential elements of the “social safety net” like Social Security and Medicare. Trump also pledged not to scrap the Affordable Health Care Act, which millions of his supporters rely on for medical treatment, until a “better and cheaper” medical care plan was in place. In fact he said: “I don’t want a single day to pass” between scrapping “Obamacare” and coverage under the new plan. He also pledged to place a ban on Muslims visiting the US and mass deportations of foreigners living in America without proper papers.
Alas, he is now retreating on many of these promises before he has been officially sworn in. And he is doing it with a smile, saying that he never meant to be taken literally. The president elect has all of the characteristics of a bullshit artist who is all bunko……no wonder the Reverend Al Sharpton, who know both men well by virtue of the fact that they were once cronies, said on national television: “If you really want to understand Donald Trump, just think of him as the white Don King!”
Homeboys Hangin Out on the Town
Trump, Rev. Sharpton and King
Interview of Jack Newfield on Don King
Playthell G. Benjamin
The Village of Harlem
Originally Published at “Commentaries On The Times”
During the Trump Campaign in 2016