Trump Blamed For Failed Tribal Casino [OPINION]
Donald Trump has been blamed for many things since declaring his candidacy for president in 2015, and now the Cape Cod Times, the sister publication of that beacon of truth the New Bedford Standard-Times, is blaming Trump for the demise of the Wampanoag tribe's planned East Casino. Seriously!
Reporter Tanner Stening gushes in the opening line of his piece, "The Trump Administration on Friday delivered an unprecedented and potentially crushing blow to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe." The kid must be auditioning for the New York Times!
The reality is the Mashpee Wampanoag have been trying every which way it can to win federal recognition so that it can get land into trust for a casino in East Taunton. The tribe thought it might happen in 2015, when the U.S. Department of the Interior ruled in its favor, only to have a federal judge a year later declare the D.O.I. erred in its decision.
Upon further review, Interior has determined that the tribe did not meet the criteria as determined by a prior Supreme Court decision in 2014 (before Trump), which says a tribe must have sought and been granted federal recognition prior to 1934 in order to have land placed into federal trust for a casino. Clear, cut, dry and concise.
U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressman Bill Keating, Democrats all, are attempting to get legislation enacted that would essentially allow an end-run around that 2014 decision known simply as Carcieri. The legislation has virtually no chance of being enacted, and in fact will most likely never even make it out of committee.
Funny how Warren and Markey would be interested in legislation to assist a Malaysian businessman from losing his investment in the casino, but nothing to help the New Bedford fishing industry.
If you want to blame anyone for Southeastern Massachusetts being left out of the casino game, blame former Democrat Governor Deval Patrick for his gaming bill that granted exclusivity to the tribe for a casino in our region, knowing full well it would never get land into trust. Also, blame the region's entire legislative delegation, Democrats all, who voted for the bill.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must now re-open the bidding process for a commercial "Region C" casino license, though with the Tiverton casino now open, it's doubtful there would be much interest from investors.
Hey, soon you'll be able to ride your ghost train to the ghost casino. Keep on voting in those Democrats, folks!
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.