The Trump Building at 40 Wall Street stands just two doors down from where George Washington took the oath as our first president and just a half dozen strides from a subway entrance.
With his declaration on tape, “Grab ‘em by the pussy, you can do anything,” Trump proves that he has considerably less in common with the Father of Our Country who was inaugurated up the street than he does with the gropers who lurk underground beyond the base of those subway steps.
In that tape, Trump goes beyond the politically incorrect and the personally incorrect to the criminal. Section 130.52 of the New York State Penal Code states that “a person is guilty of forcible touching when such person intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touches the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person; or for the purpose of gratifying the actor's sexual desire.”
The provision adds that “forcible touching includes squeezing, grabbing or pinching.” It constitutes a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, be you a schlub or a star, whether it is committed in the subway or in a spire such as Trump proudly emblazons his name.
Even so, Trump insists that there is “zero chance” he will abandon his effort to became the next person to take the oath that Washington took in 1789 at what is now Federal Hall National Memorial.
The building directly next to the sacred inaugural site flies twin American flags. But the Trump Building one more door down flies a pair of very different flags, black banners whose lettering is made no less crass by the golden bases of the two poles affixed to the facade:
“DUANE READE BY WALGREENS"
Walgreens being the drug store chain that has acquired Duane Reade. Trump made no mention of the nearby inaugural site when describing his Wall Street office tower to The Daily Beast back in August of 2015, but the size of the particular Duane Reade located there clearly holds great significance to him.
“You know, it is the biggest Duane Reade in America,” he said.
Trump made that statement to the The Daily Beast on the day he reported for jury duty for what seemed to be his very first time. He had left the courthouse in lower Manhattan at the lunch break and returned stating that he had spent the hour down at 40 Wall Street.
“Which I own,” he said.
Another candidate might have paused to gaze up at the corner where Washington stood on a balcony and imagined the great man raising his right hand while placing the left on the big leather bound Bible that is now on display at Federal Hall. A present day hopeful might have then considered the enormity of running to became the latest to take that oath.
Not Trump. He reported upon his return to the courthouse that he had spent the time walking around the Duane Reade. He suggested his reason for doing so by noting the store’s unequaled dimensions. He seemed to assume that any right thinking person would think that biggest is best and imbues even a drug store with greatness.
Trump also seemed to assume that his own greatness was not diminished by his failure to report for jury duty until he was seeking the presidency. His failure to have performed this universal civic duty at the core of the justice system had not kept him from offering his opinions regarding crime and punishment over the years.
He apparently felt his time was too important to serve on a jury, but he was quick to take out out a full page newspaper ad calling of the death penalty to five teens, the youngest 14, the oldest 16, who had been arrested for allegedly beating and raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989.
The Central Park Five were found guilty by a jury on which Trump would not have deigned to serve, but a judge subsequently vacated the conviction at the urging of the prosecution. New DNA evidence had confirmed the guilt of a known rapist who had confessed to the crime.
In 2014, New York City agreed to a $41 million settlement of a wrongful conviction suit brought by the five. Trump was quick to call it “a disgrace.”
“Forty million dollars is a lot of money for the taxpayers of New York to pay when we are already the highest taxed city and state in the country,” Trump wrote in an Op-Ed piece in the New York Daily News.
That from a guy who may well not have been paying any taxes at all.
“The justice system has a lot to answer for,” Trump further declared.
That from a guy who had never reported for jury duty until more than a year later, in August of 2015, when he apparently decided his candidacy required at least a show of good citizenship.
“It’s my duty and I’m happy to do it,” he told reporters when he arrived at the courthouse that morning. “Got to do it. Got to do it.”
He took a seat with dozens of others in the jury selection room. The pending cases at the time included at least one involving forcible touching, but potential jurors outnumbered those who were needed that day. Trump was excused.
At one point during the wait, he had taken out some Tic Tac mints.
“You guys want any?” he asked. “Made in Mexico.”
He was only engaging in a bit of Trump humor. He examined the small plastic container.
“It’s American-made,” he confirmed.
Trump would also mention Tic Tacs in the tape that surfaced on Friday.
“I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her,” he tells Billy Bush while leering at a woman through a bus window. “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Trump then utters the words that mark him as far as any subway groper from being fit to be president.
“Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Around the time The Washington Post was breaking the news of the tape, the Ortiz family of Mexico City was outside Federal Hall National Memorial. Two year-old Mitchell Ortiz, Jr. was sporting a Superman baseball hat as he posed beside his grandmother, Lilly Ortiz, at the feet of a considerably larger than life statue of America's first president. The inscription in the base read:
“ON THIS SITE IN FEDERAL HALL
APRIL 30, 1789
TOOK THE OATH AS THE FIRST PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES
The boy’s father, Mitchell Ortiz, Sr. took a picture with an iPad. A tourist from Mexico here on holiday with his family would not likely have known that Washington and all subsequent presidents solemnly swore to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
A foreign visitor might also fail to appreciate the irony of Trump seeking to become the next president to take that oath even as he demonstrates such little respect for the Constitution. Trump rants about law and order, but he really just wants just order as it applies to everyone save perhaps a moneyed groper such as himself. He demonstrates little respect for the law, as evidenced by his continued insistence that the Central Park Five are guilty of rape.
But anyone from south of the border surely must have heard of Trump's statements regarding Mexico. Ortiz, Sr. was asked about Trump and he allowed that many people back home are saying that hard times could get harder if he is elected.
Ortiz, Sr. seemed to be too polite to pass harsh judgement on the potential leader of a country he was just visiting on holiday.
“My opinion is the guy is a businessman,” Ortiz said in a neutral tone.
Ortiz’s very delicacy should have been enough to make any American ashamed that the Republican nominee for president is someone who described Mexicans as “rapists and criminals.”
Ortiz continued with his family on into the city, the future as represented by his son in a Superman cap toddling along as the whole world was learning that Trump is himself a self-proclaimed groper.