Chris Matthews suggested to Donald Trump’s face that the reason that he gets buildings built in New York is because he pays off politicians, union bosses, and Mafia wise guys.
Monday on MSNBC’s “The Place For Politics,” Matthews asked Trump how he would break through the Washington gridlock to build things like the wall along the US/Mexico border.
“Let’s talk about how you get it done,” Matthews said. “Now we know about the wall, and I think it appeals to a lot of people, but here’s what happens. You get inaugurated. You take the oath. You have the ball, the party that night, you get back to the Oval office, you get a call from the Speaker of the House, say it’s Paul Ryan, ‘You know, Mr. Trump, I think that idea of yours, of building a wall is disgraceful, I won’t even bring it up for a vote.’ What do you do?”
“Well, I’m going to get it done Chris,” Trump replied.
“No, he’ll just say to you, ‘I’m not bringing it up,'” Matthews said.
“I know, he may say that but he may also go along with me 100 percent,” Trump claimed, adding, “And I think my history is that I cajole, and I get people to do what they have to do.”
Matthews shot back at Trump asking, “What are your tools?”
“Me,” Trump argued. “Washington is in gridlock. Right now, you understand that.”
Later, Matthews asked, “Let’s talk about your experience, when you put up a building in New York, and there it is, that big building on Fifth Avenue, the Trump Tower, I’m not in the business, but I’ve heard about New York, I’ve got to pay a special percent, maybe five to the bad guys. You got to deal with diplomatic privilege, or some local councilman will stiff you, just so he gets something out of you. Or you’ve got a labor union that’s being very difficult. What do you do? How do you scare them into doing what you want them to do? Or pay them off or what do you do?”
“You hear all these bad things, all I know is I get zoning,” Trump said.
“How do you get it done,” Matthews insisted. “I’m the king of zoning,” Trump replied.
“How do you do it? What’s your technique? Fear? Bullying? Do you pay these guys,” asked an unrelenting Matthews. Trump replied, “I deal with people, I hire experts, I hire people that are good at getting it done. They’re consultants and they work for you, they’re lawyers.”
Matthews then asked Trump “Do you pay the–” but at first refused to use the word mafia.
“I don’t. The problem is if you do that, first of all, that’s dishonest, and I’m an honest guy. But if you do that, you know what happens? Everybody else comes along and it never ends,” Trump argued. “If you don’t do it, it’s like the old story, you take care of building inspectors, all the building inspectors hear about it and come to you. I don’t do it.”
“What happens when the wise guys come in and say, ‘You’re not building,'” Matthews asked.
“Well, I’ve known tough cookies over the years,” Trump claimed.
Finally, Matthews got to the point and said, “I mean wise guys.”
“I know what you mean by wise guys, I’ve known very tough people. I’ve known the people that make the politicians you and I deal with every day look like little babies. They’d walk across the street out of fear if they ever saw some of these guys,” Trump said. “I deal with people that are very tough people and I get it done. I deal with people that are heads of countries because you know, I’m all over the world. My company is all over the world. I get along great with people.”
“So even guys like Meade Esposito,” Matthews asked. “Meade was great,” Trump claimed.
“He was great,” a shocked Matthews said.
“Meade, I’ll tell you something. I knew him very well. Meade Esposito, he was the boss. Meade Esposito, in his own way was a very, very honest guy. When he gave you his word on something, it was done. I deal with politicians. They give you their word, it means nothing. Meade Esposito, in a certain way was a very honorable guy,” Trump said.
Before his death in 1993, Esposito was a power broker in Brooklyn politics who was indicted in 1987 for crimes included an illegal gratuity, bribery, and tax-fraud.