President Trump has gotten quite a lot of miles out of criticizing those he believes are waging a “War on Christmas.” In fact, back when he was President-elect Trump, he famously said, “We’re going to start saying Merry Christmas again!” But upon closer inspection, it seems that in the 1980s, Trump was waging his own war on Christmas.
Way back in 1981, Donald Trump bought an apartment building located at 100 Central Park South in New York. For the next decade, he tried every way in the world to push residents out so he could eventually demolish it and make room for the luxury condos he wanted to build. One part of his effort may come as a surprise to many now- he banned all Christmas decorations from the lobby.
The tenants were having NONE of it, however, and they pushed back.
Sure, the lobby remained free and clear from Christmas decorations in ’81 and ’82, but in 1983 the tenants had had enough. They asked to have their Christmas tree returned to the lobby. According to New York magazine, the spokesperson for the residents said that some of the inhabitants of the building “are very old and have nowhere to go for the holidays… this will be their only chance to share in the holiday sprit.”
The managing company of Trump’s building, Citadel, said the tree could go up, on one condition – that the tree would be immediately taken down if any tenant felt that it “infringe[s] upon his or her religious beliefs.”
Citadel penned a letter saying it may be opening itself up to legal trouble, stating concern that people may feel that “management is seeking to impose one set of religious beliefs on all tenants in the Building.”
We really shouldn’t have to point out the irony of this whole situation, but we will anyway: This type of consideration from the managing company is exactly the type of “politically correct” concern that Trump’s so-called Christmas Warrior decry.
To follow up on those tenants, though…. Well, Trump’s war with them didn’t end with Christmas trees. In fact, the day after Christmas that year, he filed, a baseless eviction proceeding against a resident whom he claimed had not paid rent. That tenant, who lived in that building with NO HEAT for 3 consecutive winters, was tied up for 2 years with legal proceedings and a whopping $10,000 in legal fees as a result.
In that very same holiday season, on New Years Eve, Trump threatened to evict six more tenants if they didn’t reverse already completed apartment alterations that they had done WITH PERMISSION that year.
Don’t dismay- Trump’s holiday spirit didn’t end just because the seasons changed. The following year, when a number of elderly residents died and left several of apartments empty, Trump saw a good opportunity on two fronts- he could get good PR from it AND make his tenants uncomfortable.. He took out full page ads in newspapers around the city offering to house homeless people, although the city ultimately declined them because they could see that he had ulterior motives. And then when a refugee charity suggested use the empty spaces to house people from Poland, a Trump spokesperson released a statement saying it was only available to people who “live in America now, not refugees.”
So what about now? That apartment building at 100 Central Park South still stands and is still owned by Trump but the rules have softened a bit. Maybe Scrooge McTrump got soft in his old age? Nah, he makes sure it is comfortable since his son Eric lives there now. Happy Holidays.