The first time I ever heard of Donald Trump was when I saw him in the Beverly Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom in 1990. The event was the Scopus Awards Dinner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem honoring Merv Griffin that year. My congregant, Harvey Silbert (z’l), an entertainment attorney, invited me to offer the invocation, so Barbara and I went. It was a most heady night because of those in attendance.

In the Green Room before the dinner began, many of Los Angeles’ and Hollywood’s golden age of celebrities were there, aging but alive and well – Jimmy Stewart, George Burns, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Vin Skully, and others.

From there at the appointed hour, we were ushered into the hall and took our seats. I was called to offer the invocation and found myself standing next to the recently retired President Ronald and Nancy Reagan. People bowed their heads as I spoke briefly – we Jews don’t usually do that for hamotzi. The evening progressed.

As Griffin was honored after the main course and before dessert, this tall, good-looking trim blond guy (a few years older than me) was not able to contain himself. He stood, walked towards the podium where the honoree was accepting the award, interrupted him and yelled out that he was more wealthy than Griffin. Griffin was a rich and well-loved television talk-show host and celebrity (and donor to the Hebrew University thanks to Harvey Silbert) who became particularly wealthy in real estate (he owned the largest home in LA at the time – 55,000 square feet), and this intruder clearly wanted the attention and had to be seen and heard. I asked someone at Barbara’s and my table – “Who is that guy?” “Oh, that’s Donald Trump from New York. A rich real estate developer who always craves attention.”

Fast forward to this week – In her Newsletter today (December 7), the University of Alabama law school professor and commentator on MSNBC, Joyce Vance, put this moment into perspective:

“A jury in Manhattan gave us something important to celebrate. Accountability has finally come for Trump, or at least to his business, the Trump Organization, in the form of a jury verdict convicting the Organization on multiple counts related to fraud in a criminal case. When a corporation is convicted, no one goes to jail and the fine here is relatively modest. But the bubble of invincibility that has always seemed to protect Trump’s criminality burst today. He’s now a mere mortal, like anyone else in the legal system, and especially so after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals went out of its way to tell him that truth last week.”

At last!

Last night, Reverend Rafael Warnock beat the final Trump anointed very flawed Republican candidate for Senate in these mid-terms, Herschel Walker, thus handing Trump yet another political defeat. He has now achieved something perhaps no other politician in American history has achieved. He has lost the House twice, stopped a red wave that should have happened in the 2022 midterms, lost the Senate twice, and lost the White House while never winning the popular vote in either of his two presidential runs. If that weren’t enough evidence of being a loser (add to that all his business failures and arguably the most corrupt administration in American history), he is facing not only the DOJ and the potential charge of seditious conspiracy against the United States government, but other multiple suits against him in New York, Florida, and Georgia.  

Like a broken chassis of a car from a disastrous accident on the highway that a used car salesman criminally glues together, repaints and tries to sell to unsuspecting customers (Mike Murphy’s metaphor on “Hacks on Tap” – thanks, Mike), Trump’s brand may have become so damaged that only the diehards of his base will support him going forward (maybe even some of them too will say ‘enough!’), not nearly an adequate number of Americans to put him again in the White House.

I slept fairly well last night – I hope many of you did too.