Trump cites an ice rink as proof he can rebuild the country’s infrastructure

Aaron Rupar Editor, Think Progress

During a White House event on Monday, President Trump bragged about the role he played in the construction of an ice rink in Central Park, and claimed that project is “really no different with a bridge or tunnel or any of the things” he intends to fix as part of his infrastructure plan for the entire country.

“When I did the Wollman Rink, it was seven years, they couldn’t get it built, it would’ve been forever, they couldn’t get it built, and I did it in a few months at a much smaller price,” Trump said. “It took many years and they were unable to open it, and I said, you know, I’d like to be able to have my daughter Ivanka, who is with us, I’d like to be able to have her have ice skating sometime before she doesn’t want to ice skate, and I got involved, and we did it in a few months, and we did it for a tiny fraction, a tiny fraction of the cost, and it’s really no different with a roadway or tunnel or any of the things that we’ll be fixing.”

Trump is overlooking one major difference, however, among the many potential differences between one ice rink and thousands of large-scale infrastructure projects: Chiefly, people die when bridges (or tunnels) aren’t built properly, while the stakes are much lower with ice rinks. Another difference is that unlike the Central Park rink, Trump isn’t planning on personally managing various infrastructure projects to make sure they’re built as cheaply as possible.

But a number of GOP elected officials are apparently on board with cheap construction, ignoring the safety concerns involved in building major infrastructure projects with less regulatory oversight, and instead touting the cost savings. For instance, during a Fox & Friends interview on Monday, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) said “there is no reason why it should take 10 years to get a permit to built some of these projects — it jacks up the cost of road projects. By shortening the permit process you actually save a lot of money, billions of dollars on some of these big projects.”

During his State of the Union speech, Trump cited construction of the Empire State Building as a example of the sort of process he’d like to return to.

“America is a nation of builders,” Trump said. “We built the Empire State Building in just one year. Isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a minor permit approved for the building of a simple road?”

Trump did not mention at least five workers died during the Empire State Building’s construction.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

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A Fierce Defender of Truth and Classic Opulence

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös sees himself as the custodian of a hallowed brand — and woe be to anyone who dares dispute Rolls supremacy in the universe of ultra luxury. This past March, Müller-Ötvös lit into an Aston Martin exec who had the temerity of suggesting that the traditional Rolls design amounted to an outmoded “ancient Greece.” An “enraged” Müller-Ötvös, Auto News reported, fumed that Aston Martin had “zero clue” about the ultra rich and then accused other carmakers of stealing Rolls-Royce intellectual property. Last summer, Müller-Ötvös rushed to defend the $650,000 price-tag on one Rolls model after a reporter told him that his son wondered why anyone who could afford to “fly to the moon” would choose to buy a Rolls instead. Rolls patrons, the 58-year-old CEO harrumphed back, hold at least $30 million in personal wealth: “They don’t have to choose. They can fly to the moon as well.”

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