In his heart of hearts, I bet Trump appreciates this as a good troll. Peel away his rage, his pettiness, his vindictive contempt for his enemies, his weird habit of comparing himself to Obama on everything, and, to the extent there’s anything left after all that, somewhere deep down King Troll is thinking, “You know, that’s pretty good.”
I mean, it even coopts his own M.O. What more fitting way to humiliate a man known for slapping his brand on everything he touches than to slap the word “Obama” on his home base?
Some members of the Resistance are so excited about this idea that I’ve seen mock stationery for Trump Tower circulating on Twitter, with “725 Barack H. Obama Avenue” listed in the letterhead instead of “Fifth Avenue.”
“I honestly started it as a joke,” Elizabeth Rowin, the woman behind the petition told Newsweek. “I saw a comedian joke about how it would make Trump so mad if it was named after former President Obama and thought why not,” she added.
Rowin said she wrote to the New York City Council and got responses from several members assuring they would pursue the case.
The 56-year-old petitioner said the city should honor the president responsible for taking out Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11 terror attacks that killed almost 3,000 people. Rowin and other supporters also want to honor the leader for being “scandal-free” and “bringing back the economy.”
Here’s the petition, which is at 302,000 signatures and counting as I write this. To the extent that the support of local residents is required, there should be no problem. Manhattan was a deep indigo blue in the 2016 election, including Trump Tower’s precinct, and the rules on street-naming for one Manhattan Community Board require the signatures of just 100 locals to force consideration of a naming proposal. But there’s a problem. For one thing, that same Community Board requires that notice be posted of the naming proposal and there be “no objections” to it. There are probably a few Republicans in the vicinity in this case who’d pipe up on Trump’s behalf, starting with right-leaning residents of Trump Tower itself. Like Trump himself!
For another thing, it’s awfully petty. The Times reports that city officials are cool to the idea.
[City Council Speaker Corey] Johnson, who effectively determines whether the renaming will happen, said in a statement, “As much as I love the idea of celebrating President Obama, I am not positive this is the best way.”
“The Obamas epitomize class, dedication to public service and respect for the Oval Office,” he added. “I’m pretty confident we can find a better way to honor the greatest president of my lifetime than by trolling the worst president of my lifetime.”
Councilman Keith Powers, a Democrat, said, “While this is a fun and clever idea, the best way to protest the president is to go back and win the White House.”
“I actually think Obama wouldn’t like it,” added Powers, which is likely true. Obama has always cultivated an image of being above the fray; lending his name to a measure that stoops to trolling Trump would be off-brand. Really, how much of an honor is it to have a street named after you if you’re just being used as a prop to make a political enemy mad?
On top of all that, the Community Board that oversees Trump Tower’s district has a moratorium on “secondary street names,” likely because the real estate involved is so central and heavily trafficked — we’re talking midtown, Fifth Avenue here — that they’d be inundated with requests by all sorts of people pushing pet causes if they started accepting applications again. Even if they were willing to hear this as a special request, current rules require that secondary street names be limited to people who have been dead for several years. You can understand why: Imagine renaming a street after someone living who subsequently ends up at the center of some embarrassing scandal.
Even if all that could be overcome, there’s still the problem that this would be a secondary street name, not a renaming. New York City isn’t going to rename Fifth Avenue. What it would do in this case is add Obama’s name as a secondary designation to the stretch of Fifth Avenue on which Trump Tower is located, a la Sixth Avenue and “Avenue of the Americas.” The point is that Trump Tower wouldn’t need to change its official address or its letterhead. The trolling would largely amount to Trump himself potentially catching a glimpse of Obama’s name whenever he hopped out of his limo and glanced towards the corner, where the street signs are. Other than that, the only time he’d encounter “Barack H. Obama Avenue” would be on mail addressed to Trump Tower by people who chose to use that designation instead of “Fifth Avenue.”
Which, admittedly, would be pretty funny. But a determined Resistance type could use that address now and still get their letter safely delivered in all likelihood. It’s not like the Postal Service won’t know where to find Trump Tower if “Fifth Avenue” isn’t on the envelope.
Here’s the woman who started the petition getting some free airtime this afternoon from Resistance TV. You know, if they’re eager to troll Trump by naming his home street after a political enemy and they’re stuck choosing someone who’s already deceased, I know just the guy.
"I thought, why not make it a petition, and just see if we could honestly troll, the troll king."@ElizabethRowin, created a petition to rename the street in front of Trump Tower after Barack Obama. https://t.co/mcFtGXZ0HZ pic.twitter.com/tYudTBNXlL
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) August 15, 2019