The Buffalo News’ political columnist Bob McCarthy has fallen in love. Like the woman who married the Eiffel Tower, and Quasimodo’s love for the bells, McCarthy has a deep crush on Donald Trump’s private 757.
At first, poor Bob was sad. A promised tour of Trump’s jet didn’t materialize, so he was left to examine his love by transcribing the voice-over from a YouTube video. You could feel his disappointment. He recited its most intimate details – its $100 million cost; the fact that, like a trophy wife, it replaced a much older, less attractive 727. Bob lovingly quoted people who explained how Donald Trump spares no expense to surround himself with only the loudest and tackiest accouterments; gold plated things, silk things, personal bedroom with a desk, big screen TV, Rolls Royce Engines – the politics column took its writing cues from Robin Leach or 50 Shades of Grey.
Well, little Bob’s whining got him better than a tour of the plane, he went inside it; he got to ride it.
Dissecting the strategies of a statewide race around an exquisite oak table is exactly the kind of political scene you might envision involving a top Republican like Donald J. Trump, especially when he’s mulling a challenge to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
But when the conversation takes place thousands of feet above New York State, aboard what he proudly calls “the world’s most luxurious airplane,” you get a sense of just how unique this campaign might be.
Oh, it’ll be unique, alright. Will Bob get to see the plane again? Its oak table – it’s so…exquisite. Giddy like a schoolboy, the man with the mustache and tan blazer is inhaling his surroundings. He’s mentally noting every detail, as if he was trying to design the setting of his every future dream. This gorgeous bird soars above the depressed landscape below. Look down at it – so common, so unluxurious; so unworthy of being under this plane.
So during a Friday afternoon interview with The Buffalo News aboard Trump’s $100 million Boeing 757 en route from New York to Buffalo, the Manhattan real estate mogul laid down his conditions in the clearest language yet.
The cost of that aircraft – that pricetag is Bob noticing the plane from across the room. A furtive glance; he smiles. The mighty 757 smiles back. It looks him up and down. It bites its lip. He hastily gulps his drink and looks away. What to do?!
Bob tries to regain his composure. His heart rate is elevated, and he’s playing out scenarios in his mind, while sitting in that plane and pretending to pay attention to Trump’s demands of complete party unity.
[State Repubican Chairman Ed] Cox, who attended the Salvatore’s event Friday evening and has clearly favored Astorino, continues to feel the brunt of Trump’s barbs. From his customary luxury seat around a small meeting table, glancing occasionally at the snowy landscape below, Trump on Friday dialed up his criticism of the chairman.
The luxury seat. What other sort would there be on this beautiful, gold-encrusted, silk-strewn beast? Oh, Trump. He doesn’t appreciate this plane, glancing down as he is at all the potential fracking sites, dreaming of ways to scar the upstate landscape. Bob isn’t looking out – he’s looking around. He is inside his love, they are in a warm and passionate embrace, and he has no time for snow or landscapes; no interest in the black-and-white winter tableau below.
“He’s a nice guy, but he hasn’t won anything,” he said, adding Cox is pushing Astorino because “he doesn’t know any better.”
“You’ll never see him in a plane like this,” he said of Cox.
So Trump in essence is inviting Cox to either climb aboard the Trump bandwagon – or in this case, the Trump 757 – or face what he calls an inevitable pummeling. Ditto for Astorino.
Wait a second. Trump’s getting wise to Bob’s shenanigans. Trump can see the passion in Bob’s eyes, and he knows that the plane’s heart is not fickle. No, N757AF loves Trump, and Trump loves it, and no two-bit reporter from some upstate hellhole can rend the two asunder. Not Ed Cox, and certainly not the likes of the News’ political columnist. But all the while, McCarthy is mentally scribbling “Bob N757AF” dreaming of a wedding day that will never come.
Trump has no problem dwelling on that “very nice life.” Watching a golf tournament on the 57-inch screen stretching across mid-cabin, he casually drops the fact he has won a string of club championships.
“I’m a good golfer,” he said.
But he also thinks the opulence that surrounds him could prove his point.
“People want to see success; I would like to show my financial statement,” he said. “I’m one of those guys who says let’s make a lot of money so we don’t have to cut, even though I know that last part doesn’t sound very Republican.”
Oh, how you’re teasing Bob. 57-inch screen in a plane? Not 56″ or 50″ – that’s for the lumpenproles toiling away 25,000 feet below. And it’s tuned to golf – something slow to help Bob calm down. Maintain, Bob. Maintain. Of course it’s golf – Bob’s new Boeing-built mistress knows what he likes. It understands him. It gets him. It’s like he’s re-born. Like the world is new. All it needs now is Steve Pigeon on its speed dial.
The plane landed in Buffalo, gracefully classing up a joint more accustomed to mere 737s and commuter jets. McCarthy had to leave his crush. Maybe he promised to keep in touch. Maybe they exchanged Snapchat usernames or followed each other on Instagram. Maybe Bob is liking all of the plane’s pictures on Facebook. OMG, he thinks, it’s totes adorbs.
But the $100 million lover with the exquisite oak, the 57 inches of lovin’, and the gold-encrusted seatbelts is gone now. As soon as humanly possible after leaving Salvatore’s, Trump and his plane – which has been compared to those belonging to Middle Eastern kleptomaniacal despots like Muammar Qaddafi – flew down to Palm Beach.
Oh, they’re soaking up the sun, Trump and that 757 beauty. But Bob’s waiting longingly for his reunion with his love.
Poor Bob. When Trump decides that the party isn’t unified enough and decides not to run, Astorino’s chartered turboprop is going to be so lame.