Trump Card at The La Jolla Playhouse is a monologue show by Mike Daisey. It is, as one might guess, about Donald Trump. I saw the show on Friday, October 7, two days before it closed.
Once Daisey’s initial theatrics subsided and he settled into the meat and potatoes of the show the insights began to drop in rapid fashion. The specter of Fred Trump — father of the Donald — haunted the proceedings.
The stories of Donald Trump stiffing small businesses have been in the media. According to Mr. Daisey, Trump got this technique from father Fred. Fred Trump would hire contractors to do work and then ignore their invoices until legal action was imminent. He would then offer to pay two-thirds of the contracted rate. If the contractor refused the threats began.
Fred Trump would contact his powerful business mates and make sure that the contractor never worked anywhere in New York. It worked.
This is where the incognito mafioso comes into play. This approach basically boils down to a mafia tactic.
Instead of demanding protection money on the front end, Fred Trump took it on the back end. The approach, it could be argued, is less honest and more cowardly than a mafia transaction.
Donald Trump is the realized Michael Corleone. Michael was the youngest son and was supposed to be the one who legitimized the family by becoming the senator, by becoming the president. Instead of paying off the politicians he would be the politician.
Trump is also the youngest son who took over the family business. He brought it out of Queens and Brooklyn and into Manhattan. He’s running for president. He is legitimizing the slum-lord exploitation practices of his father.
Daisey doesn’t give us an application to take for the insights he provides. In this show he is the soothsayer from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “Beware the ides of March,” and the United States is Caesar.
Daisey warns us that the bell has already been rung. We have already lost.