by Ruth Riddle:
The perception of chaos at the White House pervades Washington, D.C. Have the pundits learned nothing? They predicted defeat in 2016, for the master of marketing. Were they wrong? Yes. Now, they perceive a Trump Administration imploding from within. Are they wrong again? Yes, of course, they are.
President Trump, like candidate Trump, has defined the moment. He is the master builder of his administration. He has engineered the so-called chaos. His latest pronouncement on tariffs has fed into the clamor. The pundits and politicians are apoplectic. For the president, this perception of chaos is “business as usual.” He is not a conformist. His methods may seem veritable madness, but he, alone, knows the end game.
The “experts” say, “Tariffs don’t work. No one wins.” Hmmm. Remember the Grand Hyatt? Remember Trump Tower? Remember the Wollman Rink in Central Park? Perhaps the naysayers need a refresher in Trump successes that arose from punching through the chaos.
Grand Hyatt Hotel
In 1976, Trump partnered with the Hyatt to buy the Commodore Hotel. It was a risky venture with New York City at a low point and much of the area around the hotel in disrepair. Because of the challenges, Trump was able to convince the city to provide a 40-year tax abatement, the first ever granted to a commercial property. A number of area banks promised Trump $70 million in mortgages in an effort to rejuvenate the area. After construction started in 1979, the economy slowly improved, and the plans for a small hotel became the 25-story Grand Hyatt. Trump later sold his half share in the property to Hyatt in 1996 for $142 million.
When Trump proposed the Trump Tower in the early 1980s, it was considered “uber” risky. Of course, everyone now knows it has been a massive success. The building established the iconic glass and metal architecture that has become The Donald’s signature. It also helped him create the signature mix of multimillion-dollar residences, high-end retail and fine dining that he uses at many of his properties. The return Trump has realized from this property is astronomical; its value is priceless.
Trump had watched and waited for six years, as the City of New York floundered and failed to finish the rink, which had already cost millions without result. In 1986, Donald Trump proposed to Mayor Koch to complete the rink in three months at no cost to the city. He asked only to run the venue and an adjacent restaurant and use the profits to recoup his costs. Success followed!! In its first six months of operation, Trump’s company made a profit of about $500,000 on $1.5 million in receipts. In Trump fashion, he donated the profit to charity.
And so it will be with tariffs. To point to the historical failures of tariffs is not to factor in the Trump effect. Neither is it to acknowledge that the trade war was not initiated by President Trump, but was ongoing, when he entered the White House, with America suffering an $800 billion trade deficit. He has railed against the uneven playing field of international trade for decades. He has listened to the experts and his advisors. He has analyzed the pros and cons. He has weighed the alternatives. And now he has acted. Those who think they know the outcome or the president’s next move do not know the president.
Is the exit of Gary Cohn proof of chaos? Certainly not. Is the opposition to tariffs proof of chaos? Anything but. Will President Trump prevail in asserting American Greatness in the manufacture of aluminum and steel? Decidedly, yes!!
Three cheers for Trump Chaos!!