As if the heated debate over the proposed Islamic Community Center two blocks from Ground Zero wasn't controversial and divisive enough, Donald Trump has decided to exploit the situation in a pathetic attempt for attention while ratcheting up the inflammatory rhetoric.
Trump, the narcissistic, carnival-barking real estate developer in desperate need of a 12-step program for self-promotion addiction, offered this week to purchase the equity in the Park Place property held by one of it owners, Hisham Elzanaty. Of course, Trump portrayed his offer as an altruistic, selfless, patriotic act designed to diffuse and find a solution to the situation.
So what does Trump do? In an obvious and shameful publicity stunt, he made a low ball offer of 25% over the $4.8 million Elzanaty paid (a paltry sum he'd never accept on one of his own properties), and turned down the owner's counter for $25 million.
And then on MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday, The Donald made a baseless, trumped up prediction that "You're gonna have riots in the streets.. I believe September 11 is going to be a very bad day down there," referring to lower Manhattan on Saturday's anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Trump was then aggressively challenged by one of the show's guests, Lawrence O'Donnell, who charged, "If you really wanted to buy this building you could do just like the movie, and 'make him an offer he can't refuse'...." He then accused Trump of having no real intention of purchasing the building. Major props to O'Donnell. That guy's got more balls than anyone else in the political media today.
Trump kept defending his decision by claiming the building's owner was asking way too much money and was looking to hose him. "He just wants to bludgeon a lot of money out of somebody and it's not gonna be me," Trump said, adding, "I don't want him saying Donald Trump is stupid."
O'Donnell brilliantly and swiftly replied, "Someone says you're stupid every day. It's water off your back."
In continuing to relentlessly press Trump on his ulterior motives, O'Donnell suggested that the billionaire entrepreneur, if he truly wanted to help New York, simply view the purchase as a charitable donation and not assess the price tag with his normal real estate due diligence. "Don't you give $25 million to charity each year?"
I'm willing to bet that Trump spends more than $25 million each year changing the faucets in his gazillion bathrooms, so if he really wanted to come to the city's rescue he could certainly afford to.
To be sure, the egomaniacal, self-aggrandizing Trump saw the mosque controversy as an opportunity to grab the media attention he so ravenously craves. He got himself in the papers and on TV, and he got to talk about himself and display his bloated self-importance yet again.
I can accept that from Trump, because that's who he is and what he does. But to predict violence and riots on this sacred day, without any reasonable or rational basis for which to make such an irresponsible and reprehensible claim, is despicable and anything but patriotic.