I covered Donald Trump long before he ran for president. It was the mid-2000s, and the American economy was tanking –– big time. The Donald wanted to construct a posh, $24 million, 86,000-square-foot catering hall –– called Trump on the Ocean –– at, of all places, Jones Beach State Park.
I wrote a series of columns and editorials opposing the ludicrous plan. What I learned from that coverage is this: Trump wins a lot. He also loses a lot.
That’s the tycoon’s code: If you want to win big, you take chances. Risk is accepted, if not celebrated, as part and parcel of the process.
The thing is, the president of the United States is obligated to minimize risk by drawing logical conclusions rooted in reality, seeking consensus among divergent viewpoints and uniting rather than dividing.
As owner of a privately held company, Trump is beholden only to himself. As president, he would be beholden to the American people. The rules and responsibilities of each position are very different. Trump doesn’t seem to grasp the concept.
Trump on the Ocean was a classic example of the Donald’s modus operandi. He makes an outrageous proposal. People protest. He immediately dismisses their concerns. People object more vociferously. He threatens to sue. Sometimes, as was the case with Trump on the Ocean, he actually does. (Trump sued a state review board –– and won –– at least initially. The project, though, went nowhere. More on that later.)
Many, many people –– particularly South Shore residents –– hated the very idea of Trump on the Ocean because the Donald touted it as an upscale eatery that would cater to the rich and famous –– at Jones Beach, which developer Robert Moses created in 1929 to give working-class folks their own little stretch of sand.
With Trump on the Ocean, the Donald would have lorded it over we, the people. It would have been his private castle from which he and his tony sycophants could look down on the plebeians playing Frisbee on the sand.
Trump demonstrated no regard for average folks’ needs or desires. His concern was his own bottom line.