Former state Sen. Jon Woods has always loved to make deals.
Woods, currently on trial for federal corruption charges involving a series of alleged kickback schemes, learned the “art of the deal” from Donald Trump. Back when every prominent Republican in Arkansas was avoiding any public association with the Trump campaign for presidency (remember when Governor Hutchinson said “It is up to Arkansas to stop the Donald Trump show”?), Woods became the first lawmaker in the state to endorse Trump.
“I’ve always been a fan,” Woods told me in an interview at the time. “It’s not anything new to me. I bought ‘The Art of the Deal’ and the ‘Art of the Comeback’ when they came out. I’ve just followed him for a long time.”
“There’s a lot that people in general can learn [from his books],” Woods added. All kinds of things, no doubt.
During the 2016 campaign, of course, Trump promised to drain the swamp. Then he got to the White House and showed no scruples in using the office to enrich himself, his family, and his friends.
There are some bitter ironies looking back at Woods’ career — who can forget that he was the co-sponsor of the so-called “ethics” amendment legislatively referred to voters? But as the headlines have rolled in about his alleged activities, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting flashback than his special zeal for Donald Trump.
Oh, memories. A few other tidbits from the interview Woods gave after endorsing Trump:
Woods said that he loved that Trump could “see through people.”
“He can see people for what they are and who they are,” he said. “He sees through organizations out there that are in it for their personal gain. He sees through it. He calls them out. That’s what I like about him. He’s a loner. I love it.”
When I asked Woods at the time what issues were most important to him in the presidential campaign, he responded: “He tells is like it is. He calls individuals and organizations out for what they are. He knows how to deal with bullies. And I think a lot of people know what it’s like to be bullied. A lot of people see him as being bullied. That makes people gravitate toward him more.”