Letter to the editor submitted by Max Wiesen, Greenwich
My grandfather used to say, “You don’t have to be nice to your friends, but always be nice to your enemies.” He was a humble man, an immigrant who developed several successful businesses, but who was quiet, respectful of others, and never spoke ill of other people. He owned paper mills in upstate New York, and almost weekly visited his mills dressed in jeans and a cotton shirt, ready to work the forklift along with the men. The workers never unionized, and considered grandfather to be one of them. His Rolls Royce was parked in a barn on a small farm that he had purchased near in the area. He left the luxuries of his Fifth Avenue apartment behind.
My father, likewise, was kind, and respectful of everyone he met. He would not countenance a negative comment made about anyone, even people who had been unkind to him. In his retirement, suffering from congestive heart failure, he nevertheless taught English as a foreign language to immigrants from many different countries, and relished telling my mother about all the things he had learned from conversations with people from other cultures.
Neither of these men made friends with others who they felt to be corrupt, which brings me to the topic of Donald Trump, who has made a career of gathering “clones” of his old attorney, Roy Cohn. Here we have this “Runyonesque” world of Roger Stone, David pecker, Michael Cohen, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and others, mostly from lower middle class backgrounds, grasping for recognition and power, smirking, robotic, or strangely invisible.
Sadly, my father and grandfather have passed away, but I cannot imagine how shocked they would be, if they were still alive, to hear Donald Trump denigrate, diminish or mock those who criticize him. How sad they would be to witness trump’s braggadocio as he thrusts his refrigerator-sized body forward, thumb and index fingers on his small hands forming an odd circle.
Saddest of all, both of my beloved ancestors would be surprised that Mr. Trump, at age 72, has not learned that the key to successful negotiating involves “being nice to your enemies,” even if, as would be the case with Donald Trump, it is feigned.