As the future of Donald Trump’s presidency approaches, we looked back at the past to see Trump’s previous interactions with Columbia, and found a six year old fight between the President-Elect and our own President.
Most Columbia students only really started seeing Donald Trump as a threat with the wake of his presidential aspirations. For once, our own fearless president has been way ahead of the curve: Lee Bollinger was victim of Donald Trump’s vicious verbal attacks (usually reserved for Saturday Night Live and Meryl Streep) back in 2010 when he dropped out of a potential deal with the business tycoon.
According to Mr. Trump, Columbia almost purchased some land from him near the Lincoln Center before Bollinger’s appointment to the presidency in 2002. The deal was made with Alfred Lerner (of Lerner Hall fame), but Lerner fell ill before anything could be finalized.
Bollinger had a different vision for Columbia expansion. He wanted to stay closer to the main campus in Morningside Heights, and felt that Trump’s 9-acre Upper West Side land was too small for the university’s motives. He cut the deal with Trump, starting a long and dramatic feud.
But what would a Columbia catfight be without student involvement? When former Spectator campus news editors Joy Resmovits and Jacob Schneider wrote a profile of President Bollinger for The Eye, they were greeted with a response letter from Mr. Trump – of course, complaining about Bollinger’s decision. The Wall Street Journal published an extract from the letter:
“The new President of Columbia, Lee Bollinger, who came in from the University of Michigan, didn’t like the [Lincoln Center land] idea. Instead, he wanted to build Columbia’s new buildings in a lousy location on land which, in certain instances, he did not even own. Once the project was announced, it became virtually impossible to acquire the holdings because everybody wanted top dollar. He actually announced his project before buying the land—dummy!”
Oops. Looks like we’re already in trouble with our new President!
Trump’s Signature via Columbia Spectator