The Trump Files: When Donald Massacred Trees in the Trump Tower Lobby

Mother Jones illustration; Shutterstock

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on July 19, 2016.

Architecture experts seemed shocked, when Trump Tower opened in 1983, to find that its six-story, brass-and-marble-encrusted shopping atrium was actually pretty tasteful. Paul Goldberger, the New York Times‘ architecture critic, wrote that “the atrium of Trump Tower may well be the most pleasant interior public space to be completed in New York in some years. It is warm, luxurious and even exhilarating.” He even praised the color of the marble—”a mixture of rose and peach and orange”—that was hand-picked by Ivana on a trip to Italy.

Of course, there was still plenty of room for Trumpian foibles. Trump was famous for micromanaging minute details of the building’s construction, demanding that various fixtures be replaced if they didn’t meet his standards. And for a group of trees he had ordered from Florida, that meant an untimely death, which the Times chronicled in a 1984 profile:

Mr. Trump does not place patience on his list of virtues. Workmen confirm a story that he paid $75,000 to truck several 40-foot trees from Florida to Trump Tower, where a tunnel was built into the building so the trees would not be damaged by frost. The 3,000-pound trees were then installed in the lower plaza of the atrium. Mr. Trump did not like the look. He ordered the trees removed, and, when workmen balked for 24 hours, Mr. Trump had the trees cut down with a chainsaw.

As Newsweek later reported, it wasn’t a cheap change of heart: “It cost Trump $100,000 more, but he got rid of the trees he didn’t want.”

 

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate