Former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston has forged a nice little late-in-life career as one of America's most vitriolic Trump haters. He's written a Trump-hating book, It’s Even Worse Than You Think, and he regularly pops up on MSNBC whenever a dose of anti-Trump venom is desired.
Appearing on today's AM Joy, Johnston reached back in history to slur the President, claiming that his grandfather, Friedrich Trump, built the first Trump fortune by "running whorehouses."
That is a claim that is unverified at best. Gwenda Blair wrote the most definitive biography of the Trump family. And as per this Washington Post article, Blair "was careful not to say that Trump ran brothels. I think we don’t quite know that.”
In 2015, the liberals at Snopes.com addressed the question: "Did Donald Trump’s Grandfather Make His Fortune in Prostitution?" Snopes ruled: "Mostly False."
Note: Johnston prefaced his "whorehouse" claim by trotting out the lurid description of President Trump as "the head of a white-collar crime family," one who "spent his entire life as the third-generation head of a criminal organization."
Note segundo: Reid completely mischaracterized a statement Trump reportedly made to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. She has Trump complaining to Coats that because of the investigation into him, "I can't do anything with Russia. There's things I'd like to do with Russia: with trade, with ISIS, and they're all over me with this."
She then turned to Johnston, plaintively asking: "what kind of a guy does that?" Reid seemed to be suggesting that Trump was interested in doing personal business deals with Russia. But a consideration of Trump's statement makes clear that he was decrying the fact that the investigation was impeding his ability to do trade agreements between the US and Russia, and to work with Russia to defeat ISIS.
Here's the transcript.
April 20, 2019
10:48 am EDT
JOY REID: On March 25th, 2017, three days after a meeting in the Oval Office, the President of the United States called in Dan Coats, who was DNI, and again complained, not about Russia intrusion in the election, not about what was done to this country, but about the investigations, saying words to the effect of "I can't do anything with Russia. There's things I'd like to do with Russia, with trade, with ISIS, and they're all over me with this." What kind of a guy does that?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, the head of a white-collar crime family who's spent his entire life as the third-generation head of a criminal organization. And that's what what Donald Trump has run, just as his father did when he was business partners with mob guys including Willie Tomasello, and his grandfather did when he started out illegally coming into the country as a draft dodger, illegally getting citizenship as a German draft dodger, and then running whorehouses to build the Trump fortune, the first Trump fortune.