Gorbachev Skips Trump Tower
NEW YORK (AP) _ The brass and marble were polished, the holiday decorations were hung, and all was ready for a publicist’s dream: Donald Trump, famous capitalist, guiding Mikhail Gorbachev, famous communist, through the lobby of Trump Tower, famous temple of conspicuous consumption.
But when the Soviet leader’s final itinerary - or at least his final tentative itinerary - was released Monday, Trump and his tower had been dealt out.
Soviet officials said the original announcement that Trump was on the tour was the result of a misunderstanding. But Trump aides said the Soviets had told them Gorbachev would visit, and Secret Service agents had checked out the Fifth Avenue building.
Norma Foederer, Trump’s top aide, said that Gorbachev’s schedule was too tight for a visit to the tower, but that Trump and his wife Ivana were invited to a reception at the Soviet mission Thursday night.
Trump’s spokesman, Dan Klores, said last week that the developer met Gorbachev at a White House dinner during the Soviet leader’s last visit to the United States. When he heard Gorbachev was coming to New York, he wrote him a note inviting him to visit Trump Tower and the Plaza Hotel, which Trump also owns.
A Trump-Gorbachev meeting had been criticized by advocates of the homeless, who in turn offered to show Gorbachev another side of the city. The Soviet leader also spurned that offer.
On Tuesday, however, as he walked through the tower’s lobby, Trump must have thought for a moment that his luck had changed. There was Gorbachev, head birthmark and all, surrounded by crowds of people 3/8
In cruel fact, a crew from the syndicated television program ″A Current Affair″ had brought the winner of a Gorbachev look-alike contest to the tower to introduce him to Trump as the real thing, according to Isabelle Fernandes, a spokeswoman for the program.
She said Trump appeared to think he was meeting the real thing, but Ms. Foerderer disagreed: ″Donald said that from a distance he looked like he might have been him, but when you got close, you could see he was an obvious fraud.″
Several years ago Trump expressed an interest in building and operating a luxury hotel in Moscow, but said he and Soviet officials could not agree on terms.
Trump Tower is divided among shops, offices and apartments, including Trump’s own penthouse triplex.