US President Donald Trump has several points in his favor compared to his Democratic rival Joe Biden, according to George Gigicos, the Greek-American campaign consultant and former associate of the Republican president.
Gigicos, who served as deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Presidential Advance from Trump’s inauguration until late summer 2017, as well as director of advance and operations for Trump’s 2016 pre-election campaign, talks to Kathimerini about Trump the man and describes the way he is represented in the media as unfair and intentionally distorted. Finally, he assesses his economic and foreign policies and notes that the president has been relatively successful in honoring his campaign promises.
What is at stake in these elections?
Democracy as we know it. Whoever wins, the United States is and will be a much different place than it was four years ago and will be drastically different four years from now. If the president wins re-election, then we can expect much of the same. If Biden wins, although described as a moderate, we can expect a major shift to the far left, which in my view is not in line with the views of most hardworking American families.
Why do you think Trump is the better choice?
The fact is President Trump is the much better choice on the economy. Prior to the worldwide pandemic, the US economy was the envy of the world. Across the board, we were experiencing record-low unemployment, especially among African Americans and Hispanics. The stock market was at record-high levels, consumer confidence was at an all-time high, wages for working Americans were higher than ever, while taxes and regulations were lower. Furthermore, thanks to his “America first” agenda, the president’s approach to trade and unfair trade agreements helped bring jobs back to America and helped our nation’s farmers and companies play on a much more level playing field. As I have said many times, “America first” does not mean “America alone.” As the largest economy in the world, it is in everyone’s best interest for America to have a thriving economy, for when it is, other countries benefit as well.
What will the effect of the pandemic be?
As everyone in the world is well aware, the effect of the coronavirus on economies all over the globe has caused much suffering and the United States was not spared. In his first term, President Trump built the strongest economy in US history and I believe if he is re-elected, he will do it again and continue to champion the “great American comeback.” The president’s efforts to protect American workers and business during the pandemic have clearly worked. The Paycheck Protection Program provided more than $520 billion in forgivable loans to over 5 million businesses and protected more than 50 million US jobs.
One-hundred-and-fifty-nine million Americans have received a total of $265 billion in coronavirus relief payments, helping those who have lost their jobs or are struggling. As the September jobs report shows, the economy added 661,000 jobs in September alone. In the last five months, over 11 million Americans have gone back to work and unemployment fell to 7.9%, a level that just a few months ago economists said would not happen until the end of next year.
As for tax policy, in a second term, President Trump will cut taxes to boost take-home pay and provide “Made in America” tax credits for companies that bring jobs back to the US. And, over the next decade, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is expected to create over 1.2 million new full-time jobs.
A Biden administration will increase taxes in a move that would punish roughly 82% of Americans, which in turn will reduce our economy by 1.5% and lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses. Finally, while President Trump doubled the Child Tax Credit, by repealing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as he said he would do, Biden would raise taxes on more than 22 million working families, which would also eliminate Opportunity Zones which spurred investment in thousands of distressed communities. I am not an economist, but one doesn’t have to understand that high taxes do nothing to help an economy. Money is best spent by the people, not the government. Not only in the US, but in Greece as well. It is my opinion that Biden’s proposals will hurt working families, cost many jobs and, as he said in the last debate, eliminate the oil industry. What?!
For whom will Greek Americans vote and why?
It is not up to me to say who Greek Americans will vote for and why. Every American should exercise their right to vote. I would encourage every Greek American to exercise that right. Both the Trump and Biden campaigns have impressive Greek-American coalitions.
How plausible is it that Trump might not accept the result?
I am confident that President Trump will accept the result, especially if he wins. Look, there is a real issue with the ballots. There is a big difference in requesting an absentee ballot and being mailed an unsolicited ballot. So much can and already has gone wrong with the latter. Every American should expect a free and fair election and be assured that their vote is counted. So far, there are many reports that ballots have been mailed to people who have died. Others have been found in dumpsters while collection bins have been lit on fire. This is a problem. Unfortunately, I believe our election administration system is inadequate and I don’t think safeguards have been initiated to ensure the security of mailing unsolicited ballots. So, we will have to see how it all plays out in the next couple of weeks. I do believe however that if the elections are free and fair, the president will accept the result. If he wins, then he will continue for another four years. If he loses, there is no doubt in my mind that he will continue one of America’s most sacred things, and that is a peaceful transition of power.
You know Trump personally, spent time with him. What is he like as a person?
I do and I have. I will say that he is without a doubt one of the toughest and most difficult bosses anyone could ever have. He is also one of the best bosses anyone could have. If you do your job and do it better than anybody else, as I tried to do during my time with him, you will not have a problem. During the three years that I traveled with him during the campaign and then into the White House, he was very good to me. He has been through a lot since 2015 in dealing with a very biased media who cares more about how many Twitter followers they can amass than accurately reporting the news. He has had to put up with an unrelenting opposition who has treated him with disdain and disrespect since he announced his candidacy and still can’t believe they lost four years ago. Then, add in a worldwide pandemic in which he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t, one might understand his anger from time to time. Yet, through it all, he has never given up, he fights every day for what he believes in and does it with more energy than I have ever seen in anybody. I have also seen the kind of man that he truly is. Yes, like all of us, he can be difficult at times. But I have also seen him in private settings talking with veterans, law enforcement officers, first responders, teachers – people from all walks of life. He can relate to everybody, which is rare for a billionaire from New York City. I have also seen firsthand the love and closeness he shares with his family. And, I have seen firsthand the way in which he helps people in need as well as his sense of humor. In other words, how he appears on the television and how he is portrayed in the media and by his opponents isn’t exactly accurate.
I cannot recall seeing the American political world and society in general so divided.
We are all living in very uncertain times. Never in a million years, in my lifetime, would I have ever thought that we would be living through a worldwide pandemic that has affected every human being on planet Earth. One that has taken so many lives, including my business partner, Jim Tsokanos. In times like these, we must all come together. The toxicity in politics must end – on all sides. The divisiveness must end – on all sides. Not only in the United States, but around the world. I think people should use this pandemic as a learning experience and focus on the things that really matter in life. Faith, family, and what we do have rather than what we don’t have. In other words, let’s all take a deep breath and chill out a little bit.