Being a crappy architecture critic is hardly Trump’s most vile attribute, nor one of his most egregious offenses to the architecture profession. But it might be one of his most comical qualities.
A profile the New York Times published today about the President’s White House routine treated readers to the Builder-In-Chief’s incisive observations of America’s most famous abode. “It’s a beautiful residence, it’s very elegant,” Trump told reporters. Apparently, it wasn’t elegant enough when he moved in; Trump added his infamous gilded veneer to the Oval Office in the form of gold curtains straightaway. I bet Ada Louise Huxtable is rolling in her grave.
Trump is infamous for math that doesn’t add up–he doctored television ratings, intentionally mis-numbered floors in his skyscrapers to make them seem taller, and falsely claims that attendance at his inauguration was the highest ever–and his obsession with quantity revealed itself in his White House observations, too. “They have a lot of board rooms,” he said.
But in one out-of-character admission, he ditched his typical “bigger is better” lens, complimenting the building’s quality rather than quantity. The White House’s legacy isn’t lost on Trump. On the subject of his bedroom, he bragged about being close to Lincoln, whom he admires: “There’s something very special when you know that Abraham Lincoln slept there…The Lincoln Bedroom, you know, was his office, and the suite where I’m staying is actually where he slept.” Trump went on to say: “Knowing all of that, it’s different, than, you know, just pure elegance and room size…There’s a lot of history.”
He also tried his hand at a bit of design critique. “These are the most beautiful phones I’ve ever used in my life,” he said about the hulking–but secure–conference line on his desk. Perhaps he was being hyperbolic, but perhaps he’s fond gadgets that look ripped from a ’90s Staples catalog.
All told, the story’s real zinger regarding architecture is a reference to Trump having his former home and office just a few floors away from one another in Trump Tower: “Mr. Trump can go for days without breathing in fresh outside air,” the Times wrote. This immediately made me think of anaerobic bacteria, which grows in places devoid of oxygen, like gastrointestinal tracts. What an appropriate metaphor for Trump.