When I heard Donald Trump was running for President, I had to laugh. I met him in the early 1980s when he was doing his first project – The Grand Hyatt on 42nd Street just next to Grand Central Station. We were sitting on the stoop across the street waiting for Paul Goldberger of the New York Times to arrive for an interview on the project.
Before Paul arrived, a reporter I have always admired who now writes for The New Yorker, Donald turned towards me and said, “I really need someone like you—to handle my PR.” At the time I was working for the architecture firm who designed it, and the consulting architect, Der Scutt, who passed away not too long ago.
The comment by Donald went right over my head because I was in my twenties, and the meaning escaped me. Some years later, when I began my boutique PR agency in New York City, I actually started it with the opening of the Trump International Tower. The event and press conference were very exclusive because the lobby was so small, so we were very limited as too how many press we could allow in.
At that time, 1991, Donald had the “flying wedge,” as it’s called, of press following him everywhere. Afterwards, we did a big show at Lincoln Center for lots of national and local press with Aretha Franklin. If there’s one thing I can tell you, it’s that Trump knows how to put on a show.
Musings on Personal Experiences Doing PR for Donald Trump
Since my husband, David Abelow, is an architect, Abelow Sherman Architects, I was very attuned to design, and while I found the curtain wall on the Grand Hyatt a poorly executed one, I thought the Tower at Columbus Circle was very tasteful. David worked for I. M. Pei early in his career before starting his own in 1987, so I was familiar with what superb curtain walls are all about.
Another experience I had with Trump was the opening of the Trump Taj Mahal, a casino in Atlantic City, at the time when the city was just beginning to turn around and be revitalized. It was especially seedy in the early go-go 80s as we used to call it. Since Trump was hitting the height of his notoriety at that point, there were over 1,000-credentialed press from all over the world during the five-day festivities.
So now “the Donald,” as he’s called is running for president, and why does he think he is qualified? In his words, ”Because I’m rich, and know how to get things done.” That’s why it was a LOL moment for me when I saw he announced his candidacy.