what's in a name

Clinton’s election party in the Trump Center? The Donald tried to make it happen.

Getty/Spencer Platt

On election night, Hillary Clinton will be delivering either be a victory or concession speech from New York’s Javits Center in west Manhattan—a building named for former Republican New York Senator Jacob V. Javits.

But back in the 1970s, that building came very close to being named after another prominent New York Republican, Donald Trump’s racist, real-estate developer father, Fred Trump.

The Jacob K. Javits Convention CenterGetty/Aaron P. Bernstein

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

That’s because, according to Donald Trump biographer Timothy O’Brien, the younger Trump tricked the city into agreeing to name the center after his dad. At the time, Fred Trump’s company owned an option on the property that would become the Javits Center.

As O’Brien wrote in his 2005 book, Trump Nation:

The City planned to build a convention center on the 34th Street site and needed to buy the Trumps’ option to do so. Donald sprang into action.

“Trump told us he was entitled to a $4.4 million commission on the sale according to his contract with Penn Central. But he told us he’d forgo his fee if we would name the convention center after his father—the Fred C. Trump Convention Center,” said Peter Solomon, the city official who negotiated with Donald. “After about a month of knocking the idea around, someone finally read the terms of the original Penn Central contract with Trump. He wasn’t entitled to anywhere near the money he was claiming. Based on the sales price we had negotiated, his fee was only about $500,000.

“But what really got me was his bravado. I think it was fantastic. It was unbelievable,” he added in a 1980 interview with the New York Times. “He almost got us to name the convention center after his father in return for something he never really had to give away. I guess he just thought we would never read the fine print or, by the time we did, the deal to name the building after his father would have been set.”

It’s unclear whether the Clinton campaign was aware of this history when they chose the Javits Center. But if they were, it might be some of the best venue trolling in campaign history.