To understand Donald Trump’s luxurious properties is to understand how his mother, Mary Trump, looked at the world.
“I still remember my mother, who is Scottish by birth, sitting in front of the television set to watch Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and not budging for an entire day,” he wrote in his book “The Art of The Deal.” “She was just enthralled by the pomp and circumstance, the whole idea of royalty and glamour.”
The project finished under budget and ahead of schedule.
He remembers his father scoffing at his mother’s fascination of the “splendor and magnificence” because he was a “down-to-earth” man and interested only in “competence and efficiency.”
Many years later, when Donald Trump was building Trump Tower, his father came to visit and criticized his son’s use of bronze solar glass, a highly expensive material.
“Why don’t you forget about the damn glass?” Trump recalled his father saying to him. “Give them four or five stories of it, and then use common brick for the rest. Nobody is going to look up anyway.”
He was “touched” by his father’s pragmatic advice to save a few bucks — but it also reminded him exactly why he had left his father’s business. He thought he had “loftier dreams and visions” and got his sense of “showmanship” from his mother.
It continues to be a unique quality in the American soul that the next generation takes its parents’ dreams to the next level.
Fast-forward to 2016. Trump is the Republican nominee for president and just months before Election Day, his children have restored the historic Old Post Office Pavilion and opened a majestic new hotel just blocks from the White House.
The hotel’s early soft opening in September would have made his father, Fred Trump, proud. The project finished under budget and ahead of schedule. And the grandeur of the luxurious hotel would have impressed his mother.
The historic Romanesque Revival exterior of the landmark building is a stunning contrast to many of Washington’s cold, unappealing government buildings. The building had been in limbo for years — and, despite its historical significance, even in danger of being torn down — because of government sloth.
A magnificent atrium fills the center of the hotel with impeccable interior design and furnishings of high style and custom quality.
At one end of the atrium is the lobby bar — named for Benjamin Franklin, the country’s first postmaster general. At the other end, the hotel restaurant BLT Prime has beautiful views of the bar area on the ground and views of the historic clock tower that looms over the hotel.
David Burke, of “Top Chef Masters” fame, leads BLT Prime’s culinary design. His inventive menu pays tribute to the clock tower and features a line of cheesecake lollipops. In addition, he adds a unique twist to traditional dishes with unusual combinations — including his Maryland crab meat cappuccino, Virginia ham topped on local oysters, and grilled lobster with zucchini, tomato-horseradish, and grapefruit sauce.
The hotel is filled with diligent, diverse people working hard to be highly attentive to each guest. It also reminds us of the economic engine Trump has driven with each property and production he has created. All of his projects represent dreams, not of finding the most efficient bricklayer, but going to the heart of what makes America great — the distinct extra effort in every little detail to make the world more beautiful, pleasurable, and aspirational.
On my way to the hotel, my Uber driver, originally from Ethiopia, became excited when he discovered the Trump hotel was open. He said he wanted to get a job there — an important and endearing reminder of the opportunities Trump has created for others all these years.
The jobs he has provided have helped people realize their dreams and pay their bills. Hillary Clinton talks about job creation, but she’s never done it aside from hiring personal staff. Trump’s impact on the economy, his understanding of how government affects business, is real. Hers is theoretical at best.
The Clintons have made millions through their foundation, but as Eric Trump recently pointed out, “The question I always ask is: What product were they selling? If we make a buck, we sold a bottle of wine or an apartment, or we sold a hotel room. What product were they selling to make $150 million?”