I am reading Michael Cohen’s book right now, and one of the most revealing and interesting chapters to me what Chapter Ten – How to Fix a Poll. It’s not a widely known incident or story, but it tells more about Trump than many of the other stories and scandals that we have heard about.
In 2014, Trump was starting to get serious about running for office, and he wanted his image to be one of a highly respected and famous business man and real estate developer. Around that time, CNBC was celebrating its 25th anniversary as a network, and to do so it was conducting an online poll to determine the twenty-five most influential business people alive. The poll stated that “he or she should have altered business, commerce, management or human behavior – in other words, the person should be responsible for ushering meaningful change, with business being the primary sphere of influence.” Trump was one of the two hundred business people listed as contenders.
Inside the Trump organization, his secretary emailed everyone she could to click on the hyperlink to elevate the boss’ profile.
That is ludicrous to begin with. If I did that in my company, my employees would laugh at me.
But it seems to have been normal at the Trump Organization. They figured that if everyone “inside” were to vote on their computer, their phone, their tablets, the tablets of their kids, etc., it would be enough to get him into the top 10. When CNBC first started publishing results, Trump was near the very bottom, like 187 out of 200. Trump was reportedly pissed. He printed out the results grid, marked it up with a Sharpie and called Cohen: “What can we do about this poll? I am at the bottom of the fucking list. Check into this immediately and let me know.”
Cohen called an IT friend for help. His company knew what to do. They bought several batches of IP addresses to hide the fake polls, and inserted the votes to drive up Trump’s numbers. Their goal was to get him to number 9. Trump wanted number 1, but they thought nobody would believe it and it would create too much scrutiny. The IP addresses cost $7,500 for batches of 100,000, and they needed several. Trump approved the purchase.
They pulled it off, and Trump made number 9 on the list. He was all excited, had hundreds of copies of the list printed, sent it to all his friends and contacts to gloat, and distributed it to his visitors in his office.
Then CNBC completely removed him, no answers given. While Cohen never did find out what happened, CNBC had the right to do so. Being an IT guy myself, it’s obvious that CNBC figured out the fraud and without making much fanfare about it, which they could have, they simply removed him completely.
Trump was furious. He ended up not even paying the consulting firm that had pulled it off. He stiffed them for their services and for the purchases of the IP addresses. After all “they didn’t deliver the objective” so why should he pay them?
He was so incensed, he wanted Cohen to call the president of CNBC and tell him they’d sue him if they didn’t restore his rightful slot.
Think about that for a minute. Here is a business man that is so obsessed with his image that he is willing to openly cheat in a poll. Then he “wins” and is delighted. That’s like a boy scout stealing a trophy and showing it off as his own. Then, when the fraud is discovered, and the trophy is taken away, he is indignant, actually personally offended. The world has it out for him. He obviously believed himself that he “deserved” that award and it was taken away from him. Not only did he cheat, but he himself believed that he earned it.
If any school boy between age six and twelve did this, we would reprimand him.
But Donald Trump did this in 2014. That is the kind of man we elected for President of the United States.