Fear And Loathing In Bedminster: On The Ground In The Quiet, Bucolic Town Where Donald Trump Is Toying With Blowing Up The World





As the thermometer ascended toward 90 degrees in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Wednesday afternoon, President

Donald Trump slithered around the green in a golf cart, resplendent in his standard off-site uniform of a baggy, tucked-in white polo, saggy black slacks, and customary Make America Great Again cap. The president has decamped to his eponymous club in this small town, an hour or so from Manhattan, for what he calls a 17-day “working vacation.” So far, though, that respite has included a couple rounds of golf, which have been largely overshadowed by various attempts at escalating a potential nuclear war with North Korea. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” he told reporters inside the clubhouse a day earlier. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

The fire and fury of the president’s rhetoric, which reportedly caught his own advisers and aides off guard, ignited concern from Republican lawmakers like

John McCain to national security experts to even the prime minister of New Zealand. The North Korean government responded by saying it would be prepared to launch preemptive military strikes against Guam, the unincorporated U.S. territory. We may not quite be approaching a Bay of Pigs-style crisis yet, but much of the sentient world seems to be countenancing the threat of a nuclear showdown as an increasingly real, if still unlikely, scenario. Some are espousing the theory that Trump is calculatedly staving off

Kim Jong Un by reciprocating his own apparent insanity—what game theorists call, for short, “The Madman Theory.” Others, however, think it is just madness. Either way, it couldn’t be more at odds with how unencumbered Trump, a creature of familiar comforts who allegedly thinks the White House is a dump, appeared on the links. Or, for that matter, our heightening nuclear soap opera couldn’t be more diametrically at odds with the sleepy, bucolic town of Bedminster, where Trump made the declaration.

Bedminster, in some ways, has managed to withstand and withhold its character in the midst of Trump’s invasion. The Trumps first implanted themselves in 2002, when they purchased the 535-acre property in the town of roughly 8,000 people for an estimated $35 million. It isn’t faux cosmopolitan, like Trump Tower, or a poor man’s version of the Mediterranean, like Mar-a-Lago. It’s about 50 miles from Trump Tower, but perhaps more tellingly, as one highway sign denoted, just 9 miles away from Clinton, New Jersey. It’s right in the middle of the horse country, and looks like it, even after its Trumpification.

Upon purchase of the property, the Trump Organization installed two widely praised 18-hole golf courses, a grand club house, and cottages on the property, two of which are now occupied by the president and his daughter

Ivanka and her husband,

Jared Kushner. Trump loves the club so much that, at one point, he planned to be buried there. As one of his representatives explained at a public hearing, in 2013, he appreciated the “character of the community . . . the Bedminster ethic, and has stated that what exists here does not exist in other towns.”

The president is not wrong about Bedminster. The town is all rolling greens, cornfields, antique stores, and 20-acre properties that are available for private showing if you call the local agent. On the main drag, Trump’s club leads to the local library, a red brick building with a garden and giraffe sculpture in the back, a few pizza places, a deli, some gas stations, and florists. On the afternoon of his sixth day in town, when I visited, a deer soberly munched on some overgrown weeds outside of a white farmhouse with black shutters. The big old white church house advertised for its big band night to be held on its big old green lawn just down the road from Trump National.

Trump’s affection for the place, however, seemed like an unrequited love. “If anything, people in town are flattered that the president chose our town, but they see it as a non-event,”

Steven Parker, the mayor of Bedminster, told me. Parker, himself, is on vacation. He left the day the president arrived. The lady working the lunch shift at Desiderio’s Market & Catering—three miles down Lamington Road from Trump National—said it’s been somewhat busier, with some protesters and Secret Service coming in every now and then, but it hasn’t been much different.

Judith Sullivan, the Bedminster Township clerk and administrator, said that “the president’s vacation has very little impact,” other than police overtime costs that the federal government has pledged to reimburse. “Actually,” she continued, “the biggest impact on the town is the high presence of media personnel to interview local residents.” The local college-aged guy behind the counter of Pizza Brothers told me that traffic is only bad when they close down a highway, which they only do when the president comes in and out. So far, that’s only happened once on this visit.

That’s because once Trump comes to town, he tends to stay on his own grounds. There are no simulacrums of him eating ice cream or shaved ice with other vacationers, as

Barack Obama frequently did on his summer breaks. Instead, Trump seems less enamored with Bedminster than his own chunk of it—an incuriousness and reclusiveness that has indeed plagued his presidency during its first 200 days. The three women inside Personally Yours Lingerie said that they had never seen Trump out in town, getting a slice or browsing around stores. And even if he were to, “There’s so much old money here, people who are richer than he is, that people don’t care,”

Suzi Manning, a bra fitter at the store, told me.

Steve Forbes, a former Republican presidential candidate;

Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets and newly appointed ambassador to Great Britain; and former New Jersey Governor

Tom Kean had called Bedminster home, they said. “There’s one soap star who lives in town, too," she continued. “No one cares about it.”

Trump, in many ways, is invisible in the town. There were no visible displays of support: no dudes trotting down the streets with MAGA hats or a preponderance of lawn signs. In fact, no one in town had recently checked out the president’s autobiography, The Art of the Deal, from the Clarence Dillon Public Library, where patrons had recently returned a book about new approaches to overcoming anxiety, one on poodles, and the New Jersey driver’s manual. There wasn’t even a slot for a punch card on the cover, though the librarian told me that they had recently ordered the copy. His other book, The Art of the Comeback, had no recent checkouts marked on its punch card, either.

At Bridgewater Commons, a shopping mall 10 miles from Trump National, the Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s didn’t carry

Ivanka Trump’s clothing or accessories, according to salespeople. (The lines, however, are sold through the stores’ Web sites). Lord & Taylor devoted a good chunk of its floor space to the brand—more, by plenty, than the Eileen Fisher section next to it, by comparison. The majority of it, however, was specked with red SALE signs, noting that the red, white, and blue a-line miniskirt was 40 percent off (from $80 to $53.40) and white sculpting mid-rise skinny jeans (from $89 to $36.60). All of the clothes, regardless of their discount, had #womenwhowork tags fixed to them. This, of course, happens to be the title of Ivanka’s most recent book and the unoffical headline of the platform she’s pursuing as assistant to the president (her father) in the White House. (Ivanka stepped down from her role at the brand in order to take her West Wing position and comply with federal ethics guidelines, though she still holds a financial stake.) Bedminster may be Trump’s summer home away from home, but it doesn’t even register on the map of Trump Country.

Source : https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/08/fear-and-loathing-in-bedminster-donald-trump

Fear and Loathing in Bedminster: On the Ground in the Quiet, Bucolic Town Where Donald Trump Is Toying with Blowing Up the World
MURPHY out-raising GUADAGNO 3-1 — TRUMP agrees with CHRISTIE on opioids after all — NJ fencing chief resigns over political tirade
President Trump Is Tweeting Like a Spoiled Brat Again