Trump hits a new low after Sandy

As New York recovers from the hurricane, the Donald renews his Obama vendetta

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published October 30, 2012 7:33PM (EDT)

Donald Trump                 (AP)
Donald Trump (AP)

When, last week, Donald Trump's overblown, much-ballyhooed "October Surprise" turned out to be a Doctor Evil–style offer of 5 millllliooooon dollars to Barack Obama — if the president were to release his passport and college transcript by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31 — it seemed just another desperate stunt by a sorry clown. But a few days later, the most irrelevant man in America has managed to add a new twist to the story to make it downright reprehensible.

As we know all too painfully well, on Monday, Hurricane Sandy battered much of the eastern United States. Mr. Trump's home of New York City was especially hard hit. Here's just a small snapshot: NYU Hospital had to be evacuated when a backup generator failed, causing rescue workers to shepherd patients "in the areas of adult critical care, pediatric critical care, neonatal intensive care and obstetrics" down several flights of stairs to other hospitals. In Queens, a six-alarm fire decimated an entire neighborhood. On Tuesday morning, MTA chairman Joseph Lhota declared, "This by far has been the most devastating disaster that the MTA has ever experienced." Ten New Yorkers so far have been confirmed dead in the storm. City Meals on Wheels is trying to deliver food to shut-in elderly New Yorkers. A still uncalculated number of people are now homeless, and the financial and long-term emotional damage to the city is only beginning to be felt. The mayor's office is currently being flooded with offers from would-be volunteers who want to assist in the recovery effort.

Obviously, Donald Trump is upset about this. Because it's taking attention away from Donald Trump. And his Twitter stream, always a torrent of thought diarrhea, has, since Sandy wreaked her havoc, become especially absurdist. The day after one of the most disastrous events in New York City history, Trump has been busy bragging that "people are having a great time in the Trump Tower atrium" and that "I am the best builder but if that were my building with the crane mishap, I would have been lambasted from coast to coast."

More significantly, though, for Trump, Sandy is problematic because clearly it's just one big sympathy ploy from Obama. "Hurricane is good luck for Obama again – he will buy the election by handing out billions of dollars. Not only giving out money, but Obama will be seen today standing in water and rain like he is a real president —don't fall for it." Yes, neonatal care babies being evacuated in the midst of a storm — what a windfall for the president.

But hey, Trump is willing to hand out money, too. On Tuesday morning, he generously announced, "Because of the hurricane, I am extending my $5 million  offer for President Obama's favorite charity until noon on Thursday."

You know what? I can't even laugh at this pompous ass right now. I can't even find his epic hubris and freakish Obama obsession entertaining. Something about the fires and the explosions and the water damage and the wondering when my children will be able to go back to school and the not being able to reach my mother on the phone and the trees knocked down all around my neighborhood have done something to my sense of levity, I guess. Something about the thought of all the people in real trouble right now, who've lost so much, makes me angry.

If a guy wants to ramble on in his usual Obama-hating way today, that's one thing. But to use this, of all days, as an opportunity to dangle the promise of $5 million for his own vendetta shows a truly astounding lack of basic humanity. Even rivals Mitt Romney and Barack Obama both had the sense to put information on donating to the American Red Cross on their campaign pages this week.

Spoiler alert, Mr. Trump: Barack Obama isn't going to cough up his college applications for you by Thursday. He's a little busy. So are the rest of us. Your egomaniacal shtick may make for reality show fodder, but it's breathtakingly offensive in the face of true disaster.

If you'd like to be a better human being than Donald Trump today, you can volunteer at one of the Hurricane Sandy shelters or donate to the Greater New York Red Cross. And going forward, what do you say we agree to stop paying attention to this desperate troll once and for all?

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Barack Obama Donald Trump Hurricane Sandy October Surprise Twitter