I have to admit, like many an urban eeeelleette, I enjoyed the utter shitshow of Rudy Giuliani rolling up a presser to announce the president completely and totally magotally won the election by a lot of legal votes in the suburban parking lot of a landscaping company. There was something so delicious about Donald Trump, the silver-spoon billionaire faux-populist who swanked around luxury hotels and resorts at every opportunity having to have his bananas-as-a-basket-full-of-fruit-bats personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, speak to the press from a scubby parking lot.
There has been much speculation about how, exactly, this came about. The Trump campaign, trying to save face, hints that they intended to have the presser not in glitzy downtowns, the stronghold of elites (yeah, right, like the corporate developers that have gotten rich off downtown developments are Democrats) but in a good, wholesome Republican stronghold. I think it’s more likely that they assumed the Four Seasons Hotel would simply drop everything and book the presser for them when they said they wanted it. I’ve stayed there; it’s gorgeous (the whole plaza space is) and it’s way more along the lines of the gold escalator vista that Trump used as an accessory for when he announced his candidacy.
Then when the Four Seasons hotel staff had to say “no” because they likely have 18 wedding parties and/or they just didn’t want a Trumpers/Biden mess outside their lobby (I wouldn’t), I suspect that everybody in the PR squad was “unavailable” and probably left Intern Jeff alone, who had neither the experience or the authority to just call the whole damn thing off, combined with campaign teams who have no more f*cks to give, scrambling to make something work. With nobody wanting to be the one person to say to Giuliani and/or Trump “no” the dominoes just kept falling so that Rudy is, once again, the object of jokes, giving a nonsense of a presser in parking lot by a sex shop named “Fantasy Island.” (Thank you forever to whoever came up with that business name, I haven’t laughed like that in years.) With, notably, a crematorium across the street.
The thing is, Four Seasons Landscaping is an insult to Donald Trump because it’s so utterly ordinary. There’s nothing really wrong with it as a place, unless you are really snobby about your places. It’s just not a space of any kind of statement or distinction—not a space of poverty, ethnicity, luxury or distinction. It’s a place that could be, and is, everywhere because it is planned only by toss away zoning and cheap rents. We could (and I will, a bit) scold planning for being so utterly disinterested in these unsightly but necessary places because, honestly, the sustainable city of the future is likely to require at least sex shops and crematoria if not landscaping businesses.
And that’s irony. While it might be tempting to yell at snobby planners like me who chortle with derision about the banality of suburban parking lot, nothing would be more mortifying to Donald Trump than to be associated with something so utterly ordinary. He has bulldozed and bribed his way into every luxury spot on the planet. He didn’t want an elite education; he wants to be seen as having obtained one. He is by all accounts an excellent golfer for a man his age, but he can’t just be that; he has to be the Ur Golfer, a Golfing God, winner of all winners. He wants his name in gold on the glitziest building on every urban skyline. Donald Trump is a uniquely potent candidate because he appeals simultaneously to the dirt poor culture warrior cursing the urban elite and the actual urban economic elite. The former see him as a Rodney Dangerfieldesque nouveau rich thumb in the eye to an imagined group of establishment rich libs like the Kennedy family. The urban and suburban millionaires know, for all his noise and crap, he’s fully one of them with their interests and nobody else’s.
The owners of Four Seasons Total Lanscaping are, unsurprisingly, Trump supporters; I suspect they have a tv in their waiting room (with mismatched chairs because they have so few office visitors) with FoxNews on. We’ve all been in these places. The campaign should suck up the mistake and do the symbolically smart thing—like having DJT call the business owners and thank them for their hospitality, reassuring one and all that DJT is really on their side and really really likes the Little People who vote for him. That won’t happen because the wounded bully is going to be too busy thinking about all the people he can hurt—needlessly, except to balm his sense of frustrated entitlement—on his way out. I see Esper was the first to go.
My father was a politician and, honestly, disinterested in his only daughter. He preferred men’s company; he used words like “women’s work” with absolute derision. But he did give me excellent advice in life and in politics. The first was “never get puking drunk on tequila”—advice which three decades later I still sincerely regret ignoring on my 21st birthday. The other advice he gave me (actually relevant) is that you have to know how to lose in politics if you want to stay in the game. We’ll see how the next 70 days go.
I suspect Donald Trump will enjoy being a past president so much that he will never run again. I still doubt he really wanted the job in the first place. Just like the first-rate education he could have had due to his wealth and privilege, he didn’t a actually want the work. He wanted the poshness of Wharton, and he wanted the power and trappings of the oval office, not an actual job with real responsibilities that require self-sacrifice. After all, he has the best job in the world already: getting rich by being famous for being a rich guy. But he’ll keep motioning that he’s going to run, to keep the focus on himself and to muddy the waters of anybody looking to investigate him.
I’m back, kids.