If Donald Trump were crisis-managing the BP oil spill, the leak would be plugged by now. That thought has occurred to more than one observer of the debacle in the Gulf of Mexico—including, not surprisingly, The Donald himself.
“I’d do a very good job,” the real estate mogul told me Friday afternoon, calling from the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “It’s unbelievable and an embarrassment how incompetent they are,” he said, referring to BP CEO Tony Hayward and his top executives trying to cope with the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.
“There are so many ways of handling it. First of all, I wouldn’t be putting small pipes into big pipes; I’d be putting big pipes over small pipes. I don’t know what these people are thinking when they inserted a small pipe in the big pipe that was leaking. They now have an 18-inch pipe, and what you do is put a larger pipe over the top of it. What they need is a plumber, not a scientist.”
“They make a deal for $20 billion with no commitment of no further prosecution? My son Barron is a better businessman,” Trump said.
Trump added: “The other thing you do is what Russia does: They blow ‘em up. Russia had this happen four times, and they bombed it, and it breaks up all the rock and the rock falls in and the leak stops. Why aren’t we doing it? What do we have to lose? This stuff is pouring out!”
As for President Obama and the government, “I’d get other oil companies in there fast. Frankly, I’d bring in Exxon Mobil and the other great oil companies to take over because these [BP] people are grossly incompetent. I watched the way they answered questions yesterday [at the Senate hearing in which Hayward claimed ignorance of the decision-making process before and immediately after the Deep Horizon oil rig explosion] and my son Barron, at 4 years old, could have done a better job.”
Not one to hold back, Trump also lambasted BP execs for agreeing to put up a $20 billion escrow account to pay damage claims without receiving anything in return from the feds.
“They make a deal for $20 billion with no commitment of no further prosection? My son Barron is a better businessman,” Trump said. “These were the big bullies that were great as long as they had things going their way. But when things went bad for them they choked—just like a golfer chokes on a four-foot putt.”
Lloyd Grove is editor at large for The Daily Beast. He is also a frequent contributor to New York magazine and was a contributing editor for Condé Nast Portfolio. He wrote a gossip column for the New York Daily News from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, he wrote the Reliable Source column for the Washington Post, where he spent 23 years covering politics, the media, and other subjects.