(The following is my idea of a never-delivered Donald Trump commencement speech at Trump University)
“Dear Graduates of Trump University,
“Today is a proud day for all of you. I offer my congratulations and best wishes, along with a treasure trove of advice that should put you one step ahead of the competition—and the law—as you pursue your journey towards untold wealth and public admiration.
“Most of what I am about to say was taught to me by my mentor, Roy Cohn, a man of prodigious talent and wisdom who was almost single-handedly responsible for America’s internecine chaos under McCarthyism.
“Roy always told me there were five essential rules to success, no matter what endeavor you take on. As the cherry on your cupcake here at Trump University, I am about to reveal Roy’s five essential rules for success.
“Rule Number One has three parts: Cheat, Cheat and Cheat Yet Again. Not just cheating your adversaries, Roy advised me, but friends, family, employees, vendors and virtually anyone dumb enough to trust you or take what you say on faith.
“If you are pursuing a billionaire’s career in real estate, like we train you for at Trump University, always cheat on the square footage you are selling or buying. If selling, add a 10% increase to the square footage. If buying, protest that you’re being cheated by a 10% overcharge on the footage. Either way, it’s unlikely anyone will bother to check.
“Rule number One applies in any field you can think of. In politics, for example, if you’re running for office, steal ballots, falsify results, and blame your opponent for every crime you can think of. When you’re desperate, claim he’s a pedophile, then doctor photographs so he’s shown hanging around schoolyards with his hands in his pockets.
“Basically you have to use your imagination. One of my favorite cheats was to build my Trump towers two stories higher than the building permits would allow. Most times nobody checks on that sort of thing, but when they did I pleaded ignorance and threatened to sue them if they bothered me any further. If they still persisted, I would grudgingly agree, express my regrets, then reduce the building by a single storey.
“It’s worth noting that nothing works better or more efficiently than the threat of a lawsuit, especially from someone with enough wealth to drain all one’s savings in lawyer’s fees.
In order to deal with the aftermath of Rule Number One, you must then employ Rule Number Two, which is simply Lie, Lie, And Lie Again.
“As you can easily see, Rule Number Two works hand in glove with Rule Number One. When anyone accuses you of cheating, immediately accuse them of slander. And even if they have proof of your cheating, double down on your denials and once again threaten to sue.
“Rule Number Three is a two-parter, as well as an outgrowth of Rules Number One and Number Two: Never Admit To Your Crime and Never, Never, Never Apologize. If they catch you with your hand in the cookie jar, admit to nothing except perhaps conducting a cookie jar inventory. If you have cookie crumbs around your mouth, insist you are being framed. If they catch you actually chewing cookies, deny it adamantly and try not to spit crumbs into anyone’s face as you do it.
“Rule Number Four only makes sense when you’re in a position of power or higher leverage. Put simply, Rule Number Four requires you to Scare The Living Shit Out Of Your Adversaries. And for this exercise, assume everyone in the world is an adversary. It’s a simple fact that the more successful you become the more adversaries you will accumulate. Scaring The Living Shit Out Of Your Adversaries requires you to throw tantrums, physically intimidate lowly employees, sue people at the drop of a hat and fire anyone who resists your orders or calls out your bad behavior. And, as a last resort, use force or the threat of force to coerce your adversary so he understands your absolute rights in any situation.
“Roy’s last rule is built on the assumption you are ready to employ Rules Number One through Four. Put in its simplest terms, Rule Number Five insists that you Take Whatever You Want. If you want something bad enough, be it real estate, a romantic partner or a business deal, once you find that it isn’t nailed down, locked up or beyond your grasp, take it, and take it for keeps.
“And so you have my—and Roy Cohn’s—Five Rules For Success. As with most of what you’ve been offered at Trump University there is no charge for the offering, only an enormous service fee to cover my expenses and any class action suits that may arise from your involvement with Trump University.
“As my final words, I close with a postscript usually included at the bottom of most of my subpoenas, legal filings, excessive invoices and letters to adversaries. Please take it as a sign of my respect and appreciation for all you’ve donated during your attendance at Trump University.
“P.S. I fucked you!”