Donald Trump’s incompetent and frequently psychotic mishandling of the coronavirus crisis has already resulted in an American death toll higher than that of 9/11, and by the time it’s all over, the death toll will probably be higher than Vietnam. Trump is specifically refusing to send New York more than a small fraction of the life saving emergency medical supplies it needs, because he knows he won’t win the state in November anyway.
New York is in crisis mode. In fact it’s such a severe crisis that the entire state is under lockdown. The Javits Center and Central Park have already been converted into hospitals. We’re way past the point of normalcy. Drastic measures are well warranted. If Donald Trump continues refusing to send New York the supplies it needs, the city and state should use the leverage they have over him: his buildings.
The Four Seasons has already been voluntarily converted into temporary living quarters for emergency medical personnel, so they don’t have to risk going home at night and infecting their families. Similar housing is needed for police and firefighters, who are also attempting to continue to work despite being infected. New York can easily seize Trump Tower and/or the Trump hotels in the city under eminent domain, and use them for emergency housing. NYC hotels are barely being used at this point, and Donald Trump is officially no longer a resident of Trump Tower, so there’s an easy argument that his buildings should be the first to be seized.
From a pragmatic standpoint, there’s also a lot of leverage here. If Donald Trump doesn’t like the idea of his prized buildings being turned into housing for frontline heroes who are potentially infected, then he can pony up the supplies that New York is owed.
New York shouldn’t use this tactic to demand anything more than its fair share of medical supplies, of course. But everyone agrees that New York is the current epicenter of the coronavirus crisis. We’re seeing Donald Trump corruptly give most of the supplies to people like Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, in the hope that doing so will help Trump win Florida in November. It doesn’t get any uglier than this, and New York is justified in using frankly whatever tactics it wants for fighting back.
The reality is that New York is going to end up seizing these building from Donald Trump anyway, once he’s inevitably convicted of financial crimes in the state. Might as well just do it now, while they’re needed. Trump can go to court and try to fight it if he wants, but the only way for him to stop it from happening will be to give the state the medical supplies that experts agree it needs.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report