Paul Waldman, specifically. He outright says that Trump is a crook.
One remarkable thing about the 2016 election is the way Trump’s business career was given such a superficial examination by the media as a whole. Again and again, some crazy story or unusual aspect of his financial life would be the topic of one or two investigative stories, but those stories wouldn’t get picked up by other outlets.
Making this more problematic, Trump isn’t someone who played close to the line a time or two, or once did a shady deal. He may well be the single most corrupt major business figure in the United States of America. He ran scams like Trump University to con struggling people out of their money. He lent his name to pyramid schemes. He bankrupted casinos and still somehow made millions while others were left holding the bag. He refused to pay vendors. He exploited foreign workers. He used illegal labor. He discriminated against African American renters. He violated Federal Trade Commission rules on stock purchases. He did business with the mob and with Eastern European kleptocrats. His properties became the go-to vehicle for Russian oligarchs and mobsters to launder their money.
So it was no accident that when he ran for president, the people who joined him in his quest were also a collection of grifters, liars, and crooks — people such as Paul Manafort. Those were the kind of operators Trump has attracted all his life. Honest, upright people with a deep respect for the law don’t go to work for Donald Trump.
That is remarkable. All throughout the election campaign, those horrible little stories about Trump’s sleazy business practices would trickle out — we all saw them — and then the press would shrug and move on to something else (Hillary’s emails!). Any one of those things would have scuttled an ordinary candidate: heck, Howard Dean made a loud yell and boom, it was all anyone talked about and it killed his presidential run. Trump wouldn’t even release his tax returns, which should have had everyone deeply suspicious.
We don’t just have a corrupt president, we have a corrupt media.