Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Trump at Mount Vernon

Trump nonsense is not really my thing, but as a historian of the Potomac River Valley I could not resist the stories coming out of the President's visit to Mount Vernon:
During a guided tour of Mount Vernon last April with French president Emmanuel Macron, Trump learned that Washington was one of the major real-estate speculators of his era. So, he couldn’t understand why America’s first president didn’t name his historic Virginia compound or any of the other property he acquired after himself.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said, according to three sources briefed on the exchange. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” . . .

Trump asked whether Washington was "really rich," according to a second person familiar with the visit. In fact, Washington was either the wealthiest or among the wealthiest Americans of his time, thanks largely to his mini real estate empire.

“That is what Trump was really the most excited about,” this person said.

If Trump was impressed with Washington’s real estate instincts, he was less taken by Mount Vernon itself, which the first president personally expanded from a modest one-and-a-half story home into an 11,000 square foot mansion. The rooms, Trump said, were too small, the staircases too narrow, and he even spotted some unevenness in the floorboards, according to four sources briefed on his comments. He could have built the place better, he said, and for less money.
But of course Trump is a real man of the people when it comes to books:
I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact and no heart. They're elitist, always telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen.
Can't have those elites telling you what is or isn't true.

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