Stevieslaw: Twittering for Millions
In my old neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn in the seventies, you couldn’t question anyone above the age of 13 and not learn that making money was easy if you knew someone at the racetrack. Not so much at the flats, which were hard to fix, but at the trotters, where the carts the drivers rode upon could be easily used to block some other horse from passing. We had a friend, Yogi, a big guy with the face of a four year old, who worked for the trainers and groomers at Roosevelt Raceway. He was not open with information, but one Saturday he took us to the track and Potsy, Fox and I all walked away with daily double winnings.
That story crossed my mind as I rode a surprisingly slow elevator up to the 33rd floor of Trump Tower to interview, Skyn Flint, head of Trump’s “Monetizing the Presidency Group.” I was not alone in the elevator—it was full of applicants for the positions the transition team has been advertising this past week.
Mr. Flint confirmed that the place was hopping. “We can’t keep up,” he said with a smile.
“So I know you might monetize the Presidency by setting the President up to make money on the speaking circuit after he retires,” I said. “That sort of thing is routine.” “But, how will you go about making Trump money?” I asked.
“Mr. Trump is a special case,” said Skyn, “As he already has many billions of dollars and his hand in almost everything related to construction, recreation and finance in the nation. It’s hard not to make him money.”
“Take twitter,” said Mr. Flint. “We both know that any Wall Street manager worth his salt can make more money with a millisecond of foreknowledge than your average Joe makes in a lifetime. Suppose, just suppose, someone knew that Trump was going to tweet that the contract for Airforce 1 should be cancelled a few seconds before the tweet went out. Boeing stock dropped 1%. “Or for that matter, suppose the new President was to tweet, he said, reading from a prepared sheet, I won’t allow GE to take manufacturing out of the country, I intend to cancel all of GE’s federal programs.. And better, suppose he were to follow it up with a later tweet that said, Did I say GE, I meant GM.
Get where I’m going? It’s just one of hundreds of possibilities.”
“Of course, Mr. Trump can’t own the stocks—but his people can,” continued Mr. Flint. “And before you get all bent out of shape about this, let me tell you that I consider the work we do in this office critical to the health of the nation.” “We both know that Mr. Trump is only truly happy when he is beating someone out of a dime. And four years of a happy and engaged Mr. Trump, while perhaps far from ideal, is better than four years of an angry, disengaged Mr. Trump.”
I left even more deflated than I was when I arrived—I had thought that impossible.
Strange, but as I rode the elevator down, I couldn’t help wondering how my old friend Yogi was making out.