President Donald Trump on Monday pointed to his 1980s renovation of the Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park — that he suggested he completed for his daughter Ivanka Trump’s benefit — to tout his new $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.
During a press conference announcing the plan, Trump said the rink renovation “took many, many years” and the city was not “able to open it.”
“And I said, ‘You know, I’d like to be able to have my daughter Ivanka — who is with us — I would like to be able to have her go ice skating sometime before she doesn’t want to ice skate,” Trump said. “And I got involved, and I did it in a few months and we did it for a tiny fraction, tiny fraction of the cost. It’s really no different with a roadway, it’s not different with a bridge or a tunnel or any of the things we’ll be fixing.”
In May 1986, Trump offered to take over the construction and operation of the Wollman Ice Rink after the New York City Parks Department spent six years struggling to finance and complete the renovation. His company completed the project in four months — two less than Trump predicted — and came in nearly $800,000 under budget, according to Forbes.
While Trump’s takeover of the project was widely considered a publicity stunt that escalated his feud with then-New York Mayor Ed Koch, Trump on Monday cited the renovation as evidence that his infrastructure proposal, which hinges on state and private dollars funding infrastructure projects, will succeed.
“It was a big deal at the time. It remains a big deal,” he said. “Sometimes the states aren’t able to do it like we can do it. Or like other people can do it. Or like I used to do it.”