Citing his family’s Falls Church-based automotive business as his prime example, U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., a Democrat representing the 8th District of Virginia that includes Falls Church, last week assailed the bankruptcy and lawsuit-driven business practices of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in a telephone press conference for journalists from throughout Virginia.
His comments followed on the remarks of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton the day before in front of bankrupted Trump casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Clinton is bringing her campaign to Northern Virginia today with a rally at the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. Clinton hammered Trump for what she claimed has been his practice of taking out large loans, drawing in investors, developing real estate and then declaring bankruptcy, walking away with enormous sums for himself while leaving other investors and construction contractors, and their workers, holding the bag.
Trump, for his part, visited Virginia Beach this Monday to deliver a speech on veterans reforms in which he declared himself the “law and order” candidate in the election. But it was a federal court judge in Richmond, also on Monday, who ruled that a Virginia delegate to the GOP national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, next week, Beau Carroll of Winchester, should not be bound to violate his conscience by voting for Trump at the convention, while at the same time upholding the GOP’s right to make its own rules on such matters.
Although Trump won the GOP primary in Virginia last spring, he got only 34.7 percent of the vote. But with winner-take-all rules, Carroll, a Cruz supporter, remains bound to vote for Trump next week, unless 28 out of 112 members of the GOP Convention Rules Committee that begins meeting today favor a rule change to “unbind” delegates like Carroll. If that happens, then the entire convention will have to vote on a rule change that could “unbind” Carroll and other convention delegates like him next week.
Meanwhile, Clinton is coming to Northern Virginia today with Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a prospective vice presidential choice, and the endorsement of Democratic primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders in tow. Sanders spoke at a rally with Beyer in Arlington last summer and as with his endorsement of Clinton this week, there were many, though not all, shared views presented. Sanders’ campaign manager, long-time Falls Church City resident Jeff Weaver, spoke to the News-Press briefly last week and was upbeat while en route to the Democratic Platform Committee.
Key points of agreement between Clinton and Sanders on free college education and greater health care reforms were considered victories by Sanders and formed the basis for his ringing endorsement this Tuesday.
The Arlington County Democratic Committee had held a Clinton-Sanders “Unity House Party” in the Sleepy Hollow section of Falls Church June 25 after Clinton clinched the nomination. State Del. Marcus Simon was a keynote speaker and leading party backers of each candidate were present, although it was noted that many Sanders supporters were not yet ready to show up and bury the hatchet.
However, that reconciliation process will continue after Clinton’s rally in Annandale this afternoon. The Falls Church City Democratic Committee has reserved the State Theatre in Falls Church for a July 28 Democratic convention watch party the night that Clinton is expected to receive the party’s formal nomination and deliver a major speech.
In Beyer’s press conference last Thursday, he echoed Clinton’s Atlantic City claims about Trump’s business practice model. He said Trump has been about “not what he could build, but about what he could take,” acquiring “intentional debt” and then using bankruptcy to avoid financial obligations. His practices have resulted in four bankruptcies and 3,500 lawsuits being filed against him, most by small contractors trying to get the money they’re owed to be able to pay their workers. Trump “endangers economies, he must not be allowed to endanger the economy of Virginia or the U.S.,” Beyer said.
Beyer contrasted the Trump model to his own family’s successful business of 42 years, originated and still headquartered in Falls Church, Beyer Automotive. “Our business practice has always been to pay the little guy first,” he said.
Beyer started out as a local business leader in Falls Church, being president of the F.C. Chamber of Commerce in the mid-1980s, and honored with the Chamber’s Pillar of the Community award before entering the political arena.
He noted that Clinton is proposing new Small Business Administration policy that would leverage hundreds of billions to assist small business’ ability to fight back against unscrupulous developers like Trump and to, among other things, enable them to get paid faster. This would help 145,000 small businesses in Virginia, he noted, with 1.4 million employees.
He said he’s hopeful Virginia voters will see past the “persona that Trump has projected” to see his “true character and lack of integrity.” Of the three major industries in Virginia, the military, coal and tobacco, he said Clinton represents the best choice, favoring heavy investment in new coal technologies and advocating a foreign policy “more hawkish than Obama.” In the case of tobacco, he noted that its use in the U.S. has dropped back to only 15 percent of the adult population, the second lowest level of any nation in the world (except for Australia) and that while he personally abhors its health risks, he said he could not speak for Clinton on that.