The Trump Files: Why Donald Threw a Fit About His “Trump Tree” in Central Park

Ivylise Simones

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange-but-true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.

When Donald Trump rebuilt Central Park’s Wollman Rink in 1986, he dazzled New York City’s leaders with his quick and efficient work. Mayor Ed Koch, who constantly feuded with Trump during his time in office, heaped praise on the billionaire, and Parks Commissioner Henry Stern planned a more lasting tribute. “We’re going to plant a Trump tree,” he proclaimed.

Sadly, the gesture only disappointed Trump. According to Stern, Trump wanted the rink renamed after him. And when the city offered the Japanese pine tree instead, it didn’t live up to Trump’s lofty standards. The Washington Post described Trump’s reaction when he went out to inspect the tree:

Donald Trump took one look at city workers planting a 10-foot-tall tree in his honor in Central Park and urged them to deliver a message to City Hall.

Tell the mayor, a worker recalled Trump snarling in so many indelicate words, that he could shove that tree into a part of his anatomy otherwise unaccustomed to harboring vegetation.

The problem? The tree was too small. Trump wanted “something more like the tree at Rockefeller Center,” Stern told the Post. In The Art of the Deal, Trump’s 1987 bestseller, he called the Trump Tree one of “the ugliest, scrawniest little trees you’re ever likely to see.”

“He was upset when he saw it,” Stern said. “He thought he was being teased, but it wasn’t so. It was a perfectly respectable tree.” According to the Post, the tree still stands next to Wollman Rink—unmarked.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate