Donald Trump may be the front runner in the Republican presidential race, but his popularity is less apparent here in his hometown, where Trump has been essentially ostracized by New York’s political class. NY1's Bobby Cuza has more in part three of his series “Trump and the City."
How can someone sit atop national polls and yet be such an outcast back home that the city won’t even do business with you?
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” presidential candidate Donald Trump said earlier this year.
It was those now-infamous comments about Mexican immigrants that first brought condemnation raining down from local elected officials.
“Donald Trump doesn’t represent the views of the people of this city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“If I believed in deportation, he’d have a problem,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“He needs to become a pariah. People should not want to socialize with him. People should not want to do business with him,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Once hailed as a civic hero for rebuilding the Wollman ice rink in Central Park, elected officials like Councilman Mark Levine now want the city to sever ties with Trump, who operates three concessions in Central Park: Wollman, which becomes Victorian Gardens in the summer, the Lasker ice rink and the carousel.
“Frankly, I think it’s a risk to the city’s reputation. To me, that’s ground for cancelling these contracts. I think every legal means should be explored to do so,” Levine said.
But that would violate the First Amendment, Trump wrote the city last month, suggesting he deserved “a thank you for the great job we have done, instead of a reprimand."
“We’re certainly not looking to do any business with him going forward,” de Blasio said.
It’s not just Democrats; one of the city’s few elected Republicans outraged by Trump’s comments about John McCain called on Jamaica Hospital to remove Trump’s name from this pavilion.
“Donald Trump is for Donald Trump. He’s not for the Republican party. I think he’ll destroy the Republican party. I think the things that he says are offensive, are racist,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich.
As for his recently opened golf course at Ferry Point in the Bronx, some critics say the city-funded course was a sweetheart deal. Trump will pay the city no fees for four years while charging far higher prices than other public courses.
Trump justified the deal in part by promising the course would attract major championships, but those prospects now seem in doubt, given that the PGA pulled an upcoming event from Trump's course in L.A. Trump's contract with the city to operate this course runs for 20 years.