“Listen, every time I see a function,” Trump said he told David Axelrod
, then a senior adviser to President Obama, “you put up an old broken canvas tent,” probably rented from some overcharging local company.
“I will build you, free of charge, one of the great ballrooms of the world,” Trump said he told Axelrod, one that will “cost maybe $100 million” and be “attached to the White House.” (No determination on the size of the gold plaque thanking “The Donald” or where it would be affixed.)
Axelrod said, “That’s great,” Trump recalled, but “I never heard from ’em.”
Our colleague Dan Balz e-mailed Axelrod to ask about Trump’s complaint. Axelrod acknowledged the conversation and said he had told Trump, “I’d pass that along to the social secretary, which I did.”
But Axelrod told Balz that the conversation occurred after he had called Trump, not the other way around. Trump, now at the top of some polls on nominees for the GOP presidential candidate, “contacted me originally asking to be put in charge of the operation in the gulf to seal the oil leak.” That would have been in late June or so.
Well, they had been using hair to soak up some of the oil from the BP well, and Trump has plenty of that. The well had been out of control for two months by then and there was that constant image of oil spewing in the gulf, despite numerous efforts to stop it. Nobody seemed to know what to do.
“I know how to run big projects,” Trump told Axelrod. “Why don’t you put me in charge?”
“I told him I thought we were close to solving it and would get back to him,” Axelrod recalled. “Two weeks later, we had the leak sealed, and I called him back to thank him for his offer.”
“It was in that conversation,” Axelrod continued, that Trump proposed building the ballroom.
Remember how President John F. Kennedy, looking for someone with management skills, picked former Ford executive and “Whiz Kid” Robert McNamara to run the Pentagon? Didn’t work out so well.
We e-mailed The Donald to see whether he wanted to respond to Axelrod’s comments. No word back.
No, that’s not ‘TMZ’
The skies continued to be darkened by planes carrying U.S. officials overseas, with Asia apparently having become the top destination. The turmoil in the Middle East may be dissuading junkets there. Rome and Paris beckon, but members and spouses might be tiring of going to the same places spring after spring.
This week we have Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
off to South Korea on what may be his last trip before he becomes ambassador to China. Locke is heading a delegation that includes five House members: Democrats Charles Rangel
(Wash.), Joseph Crowley
(N.Y.) and Gary Peters
(Mich.) and Republican David