Billionaire business magnate, reality TV star and possible Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently called LaGuardia International Airport in East Elmhurst a “third world airport,” but state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) was not impressed.
“The real question is what does he suggest we do,” Stavisky said. Stavisky’s district includes the airport.
Trump, who was born in Queens and whose family lived in Jamaica Estates, slammed the airport on CNN’s program “State of the Union” April 17 in an interview where he discussed his plans to possibly run for president.
“You land your plane at LaGuardia Airport, you go to LaGuardia Airport, it’s like a Third World airport,” Trump said.
“The Apprentice” host had also attacked the airport the day before at a Tea Party rally in Boca Raton, Fla.
“It’s old. It’s dirty. It’s falling apart. It’s disgusting,” Trump said, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Stavisky said the passenger terminal of the airport needed renovation. But she said it was hard to take Trump seriously, adding that he was primarily known for “his bankruptcy, his birthers and his babes,” referring to Trump’s financial problems, his questioning of whether or not President Barack Obama was born the United States and his multiple marriages.
“I’m proud to say I’ve never watched any of his programs,” the senator said.
But Trump had an ally in Christopher Ward, executive director of the Port Authority for New York & New Jersey.
“This is recently the only thing he’s actually been somewhat right about,” Ward said.
Long before Trump began testing the waters for a White House run, Ward suggested tearing down and completely rebuilding the airport last year.
Ward reiterated last week that the central terminal should be rebuilt and said the agency had been putting the $4 billion work off for seven to eight years.
LaGuardia Airport, originally a private airport called the Glenn H. Curtiss Airport, has been owned by the city since 1937 and was renamed after Fiorello LaGuardia, the 99th mayor of New York City, in 1939. The airport opened a $100 million new traffic control tower earlier this year.
While Stavisky was critical of Trump, she has good words for his relatives, especially his father, real estate mogul Fred Trump. She said her husband, the late Sen. Leonard Stavisky, was friends with Fred Trump.
“His family is from Queens and they were really fine people,” Stavisky said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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