Editorial: Five questions for Donald Trump in Chicago

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Sumter, South Carolina, on Feb. 17. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Donald Trump is coming to Chicago for a big rally on Friday. The Republican presidential primary in Illinois is on Tuesday.

Welcome to town, Mr. Trump. We have many questions. Here are five:

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* Chicago is a “sanctuary city” and Cook is a “sanctuary county,” which means the police won’t arrest people solely for alleged immigration violations. You have said you would cut off federal funds to cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. Exactly what funds would you deny Chicago and Cook? And what would you do about the estimated 322,000 immigrants now living in Cook County who don’t have legal permission to reside in the United States? The great majority of them hold jobs, raise families, go to school and stay out of trouble. Would you force them to leave? How?

* In 2003, Mr. Trump, you offered a select group of “friends and family” a ten-percent price break on condos in the new Trump Tower going up in Chicago. But when condo prices in the building jumped four years later, you reneged on the deal, saying you were entitled to the profits and could tear up the contracts. Some of the buyers demanded you honor your original deal and you backed down. Others, afraid of getting on your bad side, did not fight you. How can anybody in business or politics take you at your word?

* Speaking of Trump Tower, Mr. Trump, when a local architecture critic said it was unfortunate that you had spelled out your name on the building in giant silver letters, you called the critic “dopey.” You call people names. When a heckler at a rally criticized your stand on food stamps, you mocked the man as “seriously overweight” as he was hauled from the hall. You bully people. When members of the Ricketts family, owner of the Cubs, began to work against your election, you said, “They had better be careful, they have a lot to hide!” You threaten people. How could a president whose first impulse is to bully, threaten and call people names get anything constructive done?

* What are we to make of your habit of calling for a boycott against any company that annoys you, even if it might hurt workers? You say you’ve sworn off Oreos now that Nabisco is “closing their big plant in Chicago” and moving 1,200 jobs to Mexico. But that is only half accurate. Nabisco is cutting 600 jobs, but keeping the Chicago plant open. You also have flippantly called for boycotts of Apple, Macy’s, Starbucks and anything made in Mexico. You would jack up tariffs, which actually only Congress can do, but show no understanding of how a trade war might play out. Honestly, sir, you just say anything. Where’s the real trade policy?

* You have said that the Common Core education standards are a “total disaster” and, as president, you would give them the boot. “Education has to be at the local level,” you have said, “and “bureaucrats in Washington” shouldn’t be “telling you how to manage your child’s education.” Problem is, the bureaucrats in Washington don’t. Common Core bubbled up from a group of state leaders, and each state decides whether to embrace or reject the standards. But given the importance of education to our nation’s ability to compete, should or could the federal government do anything at all to promote better schools?

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