Donald Trump’s campaign manager just made sure that his bad week turns even worse.
As Politico reports, the Republican nominee’s performance in the presidential debate and the subsequent fallout has led to a surge of confidence among Hillary Clinton’s supporters about her prospects in the battleground states. A Gallup poll conducted after the debate showed that 61 percent Americans considered Clinton as the clear winner of the debate, while only 27 percent believed that Trump defeated Hillary. A Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey showed Clinton leading Trump by four percent in Florida, while a new WDIV poll showed him with zero support — literally — inside the city of Detroit. An NBC News/Survey Money poll showed that Trump’s chances among independent women had taken a clear hit after the debate’s Alicia Machado fracas, with four in every five women yet to decide on their vote saying that their perception of Trump had taken a nosedive after the debate.
As if that was not enough to make Donald Trump’s week a nightmare, Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald on Thursday reported that the real estate mogul’s company had conducted business with Fidel Castro’s Cuba back in 1998 in a clear violation of American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal during the period. According to the report, Trump’s company “spent a minimum of $68,000 for its foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in Cuba was prohibited without express U.S. government approval.” Moreover, the report showed that to avoid any prosecution by U.S. authorities, Trump funneled the money through a consulting firm, and later even vowed to maintain the embargo and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power.
While Trump’s campaign was still trying to figure out how to distract Americans by questioning the credibility of the report, his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, made a remarkable admission on ABC’s The View by stating that she thought Trump’s company had spent money in Cuba in the 1990s.
When the question regarding his alleged expenditure in Cuba was put forward to Conway, she first attempted to defend Trump by saying that his company had not spent money in Cuba, and as a result, the Republican nominee’s actions were “not treasonous,” according to Think Progress.
“Read the entire story. It starts out with a screaming headline, as it usually does, that he did business in Cuba. And then it turns out he decided not to invest there.”
But when she was asked if she was denying the allegations made in the report, Kellyanne Conway admitted that, according to her understanding of the story, Trump’s company executives did spend the money in Cuba.
“I think they paid money, as I understand from the story, they paid money in 1998,” Conway said, before deflecting the question by bringing Hillary Clinton into the debate.
“We’re not supposed to talk about years ago when it comes to the Clinton, but with Trump, there is no statute of limitations ever.”
By admitting that Trump’s company had spent the money in Cuba in 1998, and consequently granting legitimacy to Kurt Eichenwald’s report, Kellyanne Conway effectively admitted that Donald Trump had broken the law on live television.
Later, in an attempt to patch things up, Trump’s campaign distributed talking points to surrogates urging them to dismiss Eichenwald as a “totally discredited reporter” with “manufactured reports,” to dismiss this report as “being from “10, 20, or even 30 years” back, and to change the subject to the Clinton’s “special interest donors,” reports BuzzFeed’s Kyle Blaine.
But while Trump campaign’s attempts to deflect the story might already be in motion, the serious allegations that Eichenwald raised in his report have still gone unanswered. If Donald Trump did not break the trade embargo, then why does not he just come out and plain deny it?
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]