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

“Mr. Trump does not place patience on his list of virtues.”

Ivylise Simones

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

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.”

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”:

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest