President Donald Trump denies telling golfing companions recently the White House is a "dump," but I’m not all that bothered if he did say it. The White House is centuries old and the past few administrations have all battled houseflies, smelly plumbing, leaky ceilings and a 30-year-old HVAC system that one construction expert told the Washington Post, "is actually 81in HVAC years."
Or presumably 108 in dog years, 332 in chipmunk years and so forth.
Yes, The White House, by all accounts, is in genuine disrepair and while "dump" sounds harsh, it’s pretty tame language for Trump so it must be in truly terrible shape.
While some castigated Trump for slandering "the nation’s house" turned money pit, I think their ire is misplaced. Having lived in a century-old house myself for the past 30 years, I know the frustrations of faulty wiring, ancient pipes and plaster walls that crack like a phone screen every time you try to hang a picture.
Now here’s the funny part. Trump, who is used to snapping his wee fingers to summon his own construction teams at a moment’s notice, is now on the people’s schedule. This will not go well, "believe me."
Leaving Washington to work-tweet from his New Jersey golf resort, Trump said he’d be back in the renovated White House in about 17 days. I know. I can’t stop laughing. Doesn’t he know that’s six to nine months in contractor days?
The list of projects to be completed before his return is huuuuuuge because the White House hasn’t had a major renovation since the 1940s when President Truman ordered repairs apparently after being reminded by the missus exactly where the buck stops. (Just guessing, it was probably somewhere between "no hot water again and mouse droppings in the kitchen cabinets.")
Trump, who watches almost as much TV as I do, must be thinking this reno will be like HGTV shows, where entire houses are remodeled in a week or so. Let’s be clear: That never happens in real life.
He might even try to hire the HGTV team, although he should probably avoid the "Love it or List It" duo because they sound super foreign and you know how that ticks him off.
Trump is going to find out when the drywall guy doesn’t show up, the whole day is pretty much screwed and everybody knocks off early and heads to the Tilted Kilt.
Which brings me to the subs. There are always subs and Trump can’t fire them because this isn’t some garish casino property with too many peeing cherub statues and gold-plated coat hangers. This is the nation’s house. Good work takes time. Good plaster work takes decades and possibly your firstborn.
Trump should brace himself for the great American tradition of rampant backbiting between the painters, who hate the electricians, who hate the drywall guys, who hate the framing guys, who hate the HVAC guys who hate the plumbers...He’ll need patience. It’s good practice for when he builds that border wall.
The writer is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.