Presidential Twitter Rant Doesn’t Include Mention of Man Who Died in Trump Tower Fire

A firefighter looks out from the window of a damaged apartment in Trump Tower in New York City on April 7, 2018..
A firefighter looks out from the window of a damaged apartment in Trump Tower in New York City on April 7, 2018..
Photo: Craig Ruttle (AP Images)

In the last 24 hours, the president must have absconded to the bathroom with his phone again, sharing his “thoughts” on everything from the impending trade war with China, Scott Pruitt and the EPA, Mexico, the nation’s top law enforcement agencies, Syria—with a few Barack Obama digs thrown in for good measure.


But in this entire tweet storm, there was only one comment about the catastrophic blaze that swept through the 50th floor of the president’s New York City home and offices in the Trump Tower building.

There was certainly no mention of Todd Brassner, the 67-year-old man who lost his life there.

On Saturday evening, the president tweeted about the fire, only referencing New York’s Bravest (six firefighters were injured), how “well-built” the structure is and how the fire was “out” (we now know the inferno was still raging at this time). This word dribble is fairly standard—if Trump is not lying or insulting someone, he’s usually stroking himself.

To be fair, initial reports did not include Brassner’s death, and the New York City Fire Department later confirmed that the art dealer was taken to the hospital in critical condition but later died.


CNN reports that Brassner was unconscious and unresponsive when firefighters pulled him out of the horrific blaze that saw pieces of flaming debris fall from the skyscraper. The city’s medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.

Coincidentally, the president did find time to offer his condolences to a Canadian hockey team after news of their bus crash, but so far, mum’s the word on Brassner.


On Sunday, the New York Daily News released a report outlining Trump’s “complicated history” with sprinklers at the Trump Tower residential quarters—sprinklers that were not installed during the fire:

Nearly two decades ago, Trump, then one of the Big Apple’s most prominent real estate moguls, lobbied against Mayor Rudy Giuliani-era legislation that considered whether sprinklers should be installed in all residential buildings after two fatal fires in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The 1998 fires, which sparked sweeping building code changes, killed three firefighters at the NYCHA-run housing for seniors and four more died of smoke inhalation at an Upper West Side high-rise where child actor Macaulay Culkin’s family lived.


The Daily News further states that then-developer Trump backed off bashing the proposal after it was tweaked to exempt existing buildings such as Trump Tower from installing the lifesaving fixtures.


The optics of a man dead from a fire in a building built by the president doesn’t look good—especially if the building doesn’t have basic fire prevention. My bet is that the president will have yet another lawsuit on his hands (and this man has more suits than Dapper Dan!).

Could that be why our most selfish and self-serving POTUS has not offered his condolences to a man who paid him money to live (and die) in one of his most famous residences?


Editor’s note: This report was updated on April 8 at 3:10 p.m. to note that when Donald Trump tweeted about the fire being “out” ... that was not true.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.



I honestly wonder how much it would have cost the Trump Organization to retrofit their high-rises to include sprinklers - or to have included sprinklers in the first place. And I wonder how many high-rises built around the same time included them in the first place (Trump Tower wasn’t exactly built in Victorian times!) and what percentage of developers retrofitted because it was the right thing to do.

In other words, I’m wondering whether Trump was an outlier in not including/adding sprinklers. Does anyone know?

Also: I know NYC apartments are hella hard to find, but I would never, ever live in a high-rise that didn’t have sprinklers. That would terrify me. Have these people never seen “The Towering Inferno”??