Donald Trump once ordered an architect to remove braille from the elevator panels of Trump Tower in New York because “no blind people are going to live in [the building]”, according to a new report.
Buildings in the US are required by law to include the reading aid, and not providing braille is against the law.
Barbara Res, who led construction at the Trump Organization, has recounted the tale in an opinion piece for the New York Daily News.
Trump looked at the panels where the buttons you push to reach a floor were located. He noticed that next to each number were some little dots.
“What’s this?” Trump asked.
“Braille,” the architect replied.
Trump told the architect to take it off, get rid of it.
“We can’t,” the architect said, “It’s the law.”
“Get rid of the [expletive] braille. No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower. Just do it,” Trump yelled back, calling him weak.
Res added that she doesn’t believe Trump actually expected the architect to remove the braille, but just wanted to demonstrate his authority by shouting “outrageous or just plain stupid ideas, both legal and illegal”.
She said decided to write the opinion piece to show exchanges in books like Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear: Trump in the White House’ are not as far from reality as the President has tried to make out since it was published.
The book, written by the veteran journalist who reported on the Watergate scandal in the 1970s with colleague Carl Bernstein, was published last week and makes a series of disturbing allegations about the Trump presidency.
In one anecdote, Woodward describes how Defence Secretary James Mattis explained to Trump why the US pays $3.5 billion (£2.7bn) a year to station 28,000 troops in South Korea, telling the president it was a key line of defence against North Korea to prevent “World War Three.”
Speaking to CBS, Woodward said of the encounter: “[Trump] drafts a tweet saying ’We are going to pull out dependents from South Korea... Family members of the 28,000 people there.”
But the tweet was never sent due to the White House receiving a message from North Korea saying it would regard a pullout of dependents as a sign the US was preparing to attack, according to CBS.
Trump said it was full of “lies”, but the content released so far fits with the picture of a White House in constant chaos already painted by a number of other recent books.
Last week The New York Times published an op-ed in which an anonymous allegedly senior official described a secret resistance within the White House “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations”, against what the writer described as the “impetuous” and “petty” President.
The article added: “We believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”