Though President Donald Trump has spent his career boasting of his wealth, he claimed in the 1990s that outfitting apartments in his residential high-rise buildings with sprinkler systems would be too expensive—and lobbied against regulations that may have been able to save the life of a man who was killed in a fire at Trump Tower on Saturday.
One person was killed and six firefighters were injured in the apartment fire that started on the 50th floor of the luxury building in New York. The apartment did not have a sprinkler system.
As a powerful real estate developer, Trump aggressively fought against a regulation that would have required all New York City high-rise residential buildings to have sprinklers installed. Although he claimed in 2000 to be worth $5 billion and others estimated he held about $1.6 billion, the New York Post reported in 1999 that Trump felt he couldn't afford to follow the safety measure.
According to the Huffington Post, he donated funds to the City Council speaker and personally called a dozen council members to convince them to vote against the rule.
When a sprinkler law was eventually passed, Trump was exempted from having to follow it at Trump Tower because the rule only stipulated that high-rises built after 1999 had to have sprinklers installed.
After the fire, the president tweeted that Trump Tower was "well-built" and made no mention of the deceased man.
Fire at Trump Tower is out. Very confined (well built building). Firemen (and women) did a great job. THANK YOU!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2018
Critics on social media slammed Trump's refusal to take safety precautions in his buildings.
Trump Tower doesn’t have a sprinkler system because Trump was too cheap to install one.
He also fought against the 1999 NYC legislation requiring all new buildings to have sprinklers.
Why? Because Trump cares more about $ than people. https://t.co/gpMbyJVXMv
— Nate Lerner (@NathanLerner) April 8, 2018
To review: There was a fire in the residential section Trump Tower where there are no sprinklers, in part because Trump lobbied against regs requiring them. Someone died, which Trump didn’t mention, instead praising the safety of his building. https://t.co/KMBe7O6Im7
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) April 8, 2018
Trump lobbied against the NYC sprinkler law, and made political donations which led to a grandfather clause exempting Trump Tower. He didn’t just benefit from the grandfather clause; he helped make it happen. That could help boost any civil negligence case against him.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) April 9, 2018