If you missed the extraordinary Donald Trump call-in on “Morning Joe” this morning, allow me to semi-blow your mind. The Donald discussed his offer to buy the old Burlington Coat Factory building where a Muslim group hopes to build a community center, now called Park 51, in order to diffuse the controversy. And that’s about the only mundane thing Trump had to say.
Trump said the developer of Park 51 called the people he bought the property from “stupid,” because they sold too low (for around $4.8 million, at a time when no one wanted to buy the building, which was damaged by falling debris from one of the planes that struck the Twin Towers…)
Trump said his offer to buy the property for $6 million — all cash — was rejected, because the developer wanted to “bludgeon” him for $25 million, and that the developer really doesn’t want to build a “mosque” (it’s not a mosque) — he’s trying to jack up the price of the property and essentially extort someone into buying it from him (he also said the lame New York governor is the type of guy who would probably give him the money…)
Trump said the principal developer, an Egyptian named Sharif El-Gamal, is basically a “nasty,” inflexible money-grubber, but that he would “create such good will” if he sold now and moved his project five blocks away… (That prompted a heated exchange with Lawrence O’Donnell, who in his unique prosecutorial style, basically accused Donald of either not being rich enough to afford the $25 large, or not really being serious about buying the property if he didn’t take the counter offer on the table, or “make the developer an offer he can’t refuse…”)
Trump claimed that there is “such bad will” in downtown Manhattan over the Park 51 project, that there will be “riots in the streets” if it is built. O’Donnell demanded to know who would do the rioting (Wall Street traders? Administrative assistants working in downtown buildings? The really quite Middle Eastern guy who runs a newspapers stand a block from Park 51, who nonetheless couldn’t tell me and my family where the building is, or even seemed to know what we were talking about, when we were there a few weeks ago? Come to think of it, we had a hard time finding anyone who knew what we were talking about … except for the imported rioters at that ugly protest recently, who exactly IS going to riot…?)
The Donald did have one defender: the normally spot-on Donny Deutsch, who said Trump’s offer was a textbook example of why businessmen make good politicians — they don’t do ideology, they just want to solve the problem (Deutsch also opposes the Park 51 project at that location.) Mika Brzezinksi (who Trump called “naive” during the segment,) nailed it, I think, when she accused Trump of just making his offer for publicity.
Video sure to come. The Internet guys at MSNBC won’t miss this boat. Trust me, come back and check for it.