David Remnick Wants Donald Trump Evicted From New York, Calls His Antics a "Welfare Program" for Media

Wesley Mann
David Remnick

Says the New Yorker editor: "He was the guy who discovered, 'If I just say outrageous things and behave like a cartoon of Louis XIV, I will become enormously famous.' ... But now it’s not a question of whether or not he gets to put his name on the side of a skyscraper. It's whether he has the nuclear codes."

Trump Tower can stay. But if The New Yorker editor David Remnick had his way, Donald Trump would be booted well beyond the farthest reaches of the outer boroughs.

When asked what one person he would evict from New York, the influential magazine editor needed only one second to respond. "He's running for president," Remnick told THR.

The veteran journalist went on to call Trump "a dangerous demagogue." The fact that every stump speech and tweet offers manna for the late-night talk show hosts is disarming and therefore alarming to Remnick.

"Donald Trump, for decades, occupied a kind of comic space in the New York ego-scape," he continued. "He was the guy who discovered, 'If I just say outrageous things and behave like a cartoon of Louis XIV, I will become enormously famous. It doesn't matter that I'm wrong or it doesn't matter that I'm ill-informed and it doesn't matter that I'm even racist. Some portion of people will find this hilarious.' But now it's not a question of whether or not he gets to put his name on the side of a skyscraper. It's whether he has the nuclear codes."

Not surprisingly, The New Yorker's coverage of the presidential candidate has been withering. Remnick penned a piece in the March 14 issue of the magazine that dredged up some Trump bon mots that would make even the shameless billionaire wince (marveling about Melania's bowel movements or his willingness to have sex with Princess Diana). "This is not a Seth Rogen movie; this is as real as mud," Remnick wrote.

Regardless of the outcome, the 2016 presidential campaign will go down in the annals of politics thanks to Trump, Remnick told THR.

"I can't believe that in 100 years, we won't remember the bizarre, frightening, hilarious — did I mention bizarre? — quality of this race, and it begins and ends with Donald Trump," he added. "You have an American demagogue getting very close to the Republican nomination. This is as close as an American demagogue has gotten to power in history. George Wallace, Huey Long, all those people never got as close as Donald Trump. We may laugh and find it all a gas. And for journalists, it's a kind of welfare program. Everybody's ratings get boosted and people read about it and everybody's happy, but it's pretty damn frightening."

As for Trump Tower, Remnick might not call for the wrecking ball. But the whole neighborhood where the building stands on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets represents one of New York's most troubling characteristics: the gap between the haves and have-not. "The thing that's most unnerving about the city is how disparate the conditions are," he said. "The distance between East New York and one of those new towers on 57th street where billionaires go to stash their money, it's just the gap between the rich and poor gets wider and wider and wider."

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