Campaign watch: The butler said it!

THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2016

A bit of comic relief:
Don't be deceived. It's entirely possible that Candidate Trump will be elected president.

We're not saying he will be elected. But yes, of course, he could be.

In our view, our own tribe's relentless name-calling (we seem to know few other plays) tends to heighten that possibility. But let's leave that contentious point for another day.

For today, some comic relief:

For a reason that has gone unexplained, the New York Times recently scored an interview with Anthony Senecal, Trump's "longtime butler" at Mar-a-Lago, his foppish Palm Beach estate.

The New York Times never does squat without engaging in journalistic oddness. In this case, Jason Horowitz never explains the circumstances under which he interviewed Senecal, although it seems the session took place at Mar-a-Lago on March 6.

It seems the gentlemen spoke for hours. Unless Horowitz's report is an early April Fools gift, one clownish story after another emerged from Senecal's lips.

How comically awful are Senecal's tales? Try this on for size:
HOROWITZ (3/16/16): Mr. Senecal's admiration for his longtime boss seems to know few limits. On March 6, as Mr. Trump made his way through the living room on his way to the golf course, Mr. Senecal called out ''All rise!'' to the club members and staff. They rose.

Mr. Trump was wearing a ''Make America Great Again'' cap. It was white, not red. He seemed in a good mood.
That's the end of Horowitz's report, which runs almost 1700 words. The significance of the hopeful's white cap had been explained a bit earlier.

(A white cap means Trump is in a good mood. "If it was red, it was best to stay away," Horowitz writes, describing a rule of thumb Mar-a-Lago's staff came up with years ago.)

Senecal knows how to fluff Trump. According to Horowitz, the event we highlight below happened years ago:
HOROWITZ: Few people here can anticipate Mr. Trump's demands and desires better than Mr. Senecal, 74, who has worked at the property for nearly 60 years, and for Mr. Trump for nearly 30 of them.

[...]

Mr. Senecal knows how to stroke his ego and lift his spirits, like the time years ago he received an urgent warning from Mr. Trump's soon-to-land plane that the mogul was in a sour mood. Mr. Senecal quickly hired a bugler to play ''Hail to the Chief'' as Mr. Trump stepped out of his limousine to enter Mar-a-Lago.
That's how Trump was being fluffed before he ran for president!

In the capable hands of Senecal, the fluffing of Trump seems to take many forms. As Trump once asked, how strong is Trump?

As it turns out, this strong:
HOROWITZ: Mr. Trump is abundantly proud of his ability to drive a golf ball, once asking rhetorically during a news conference: ''Do I hit it long? Is Trump strong?''

Mr. Senecal suggested that Mr. Trump was perhaps not quite as strong as he imagined,
remembering times they would hit balls together from the Mar-a-Lago property into the Intracoastal Waterway.

''Tony, how far is that?'' Mr. Trump would ask.

''It's like 275 yards,'' Mr. Senecal would respond, though he said the actual distance was 225 yards.
Has anyone ever told more tales out of school than Senecal now has done? We'd love to know how this improbable interview came to be, but Horowitz neglected to explain that point.

At any rate, the tales roll on and on. Who comes off worse in this pair-of-tales—Trump himself, or his eagle-eyed dad?
HOROWITZ: Over the decades, [Senecal] has grown close to the Trump family. He recalled how Mr. Trump's father, Fred C. Trump, once stepped out of his limo on the club's gravel driveway and remarked to Mr. Senecal, ''Somebody better get that coin.'' The butler went on his hands and knees and after a few minutes found a crusty penny.

''His eyes were incredible,'' Mr. Senecal said of Fred Trump. ''Mr. Trump has the same eyes.''


He also remembered Donald Trump's young sons running through the library, paneled with centuries-old British oak and filled with rare first-edition books that no one in the family ever read. When the library became a bar, Mr. Trump put a portrait of himself on a wall, posing in tennis whites.

''I've been in other homes in Palm Beach—same exact painting,'' Mr. Senecal confided archly. ''Just a different head.''
The stories go on and on. We were struck by a minor irony:

Mar-a-Lago was built by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, once the richest woman in the world. Post's daughter, actress Dina Merrill, finally sold the place to Trump.

We were struck by the irony. The daughter of one "richest woman" sold this estate to Trump. The son of another, Anderson Cooper, now serves as Trump's pool boy.

Cooper, of course, is the soul of discretion concerning the boss. This voluble butler is not.

14 comments:

  1. He's a great interviewer.

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  2. "No Man is a Hero to his own Valet."

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  4. Assistant Cabana BoyMarch 18, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    Bob writes these pieces not because he dislikes gay people.

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  5. NO idea what the point of this post was. None at all. Trump's butler's interview was light and interesting. What exactly is Somerby bitching about? I have no idea.

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