One of the president’s more problematic appointees found herself trapped in a housing project on Tuesday, just days into a month-long publicity tour where she’s trying on poverty for any camera available. Completely unqualified Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Region II Director Lynne Patton was crammed into an elevator in New York City’s Frederick Douglass Houses with several members of the local media and a couple of the building’s residents when it stalled.
Patton had deigned to visit the Douglass Houses as part of a four-week journey through four different New York City Housing Authority complexes, which are notoriously neglected and just narrowly avoided federal receivership in January. With a federal official in “danger,” FDNY responded quickly to the elevator stall, which was reportedly caused by either an automatic response to overcrowding or an accidental activation of the elevator’s alarm system.
— Monica Morales (@monicamoralestv) February 19, 2019
Before she was handed a job at HUD that many felt she did not deserve, Trump family loyalist Patton drew six figures as an assistant to all of Donald Trump’s adult children (except Tiffany, of course). Before being trapped in an elevator, Trump’s black friend was likely best known for planning golf tournaments at Trump properties, or perhaps for being trotted out as a diverse speaker at the Republican National Convention, where she insisted that the current Oval Office occupant cared about people of color. Since then, the Trump Plaza resident, law school dropout, and Omarosa basher—who has zero experience in the world of public service or public housing—has been given the heavy task of overseeing billions of dollars and multiple systems like the NYCHA, which has long struggled to provide decent living conditions to its residents.
There have been high-profile issues with heat, lead paint, leaks, mold, mildew, a lack of repairs, and appliances that just don’t work, and many tenants are fed up and hoping this visit leads to change.
The highly criticized Patton is bunking up with four volunteer families, bringing her own inflatable bed and multiple camera crews with her. She also comes bearing groceries (and pizza), and has vowed to bring at least one of her hosts, Carmen Quinones, to Washington to meet the popular vote loser in person. She’s also posting self-serving tweets like this one, which speaks of going to “the people” but only features Patton in a thoughtful pose.
— Lynne Patton (HUD) (@LynnePattonHUD) February 14, 2019
Where’d the idea for this little adventure come from? A movie night in her luxurious apartment, back in November.
Patton told The Washington Post on Friday that HUD Secretary Ben Carson has personally endorsed her plan, which she said she conjured up last Sunday while sitting in her Trump Plaza apartment watching a movie (“Crazy Rich Asians”) with her boyfriend and her Shih Tzu, Winston (after Winston Churchill.)
“It hit me like a ton of bricks that this is no longer okay,” Patton said. “It was not okay for me to preside over the largest housing crisis in the nation from the warmth and comfort of my own safe and sanitary apartment while NYCHA residents continue to suffer the most inhumane conditions.”
Patton is not the first to “try on” poverty for the media, and she likely won’t be the last. What really matters is whether or not her precious reality TV experiment will actually have an impact on management and funding for federal housing, which are in crisis nationwide, not just at NYCHA, the largest public housing system in the country.
Since 2001, the federal government has slashed over $3 billion in funding from NYCHA budgets; additionally, Trump attempted to cut almost $2 billion from the federal housing capital fund and reduce operational funding by 40 percent, only to be blocked by Congress.
Patton’s motivations to succeed at a job she’s wholly unqualified for speak more to her nearly a decade as a Trump servant than anything else. “This is the president’s home city,” she said. “It’s my job to make sure that he returns to a city better than he left it.”
That’s right, Director Patton. Thanks for reminding us that you don’t work for Americans or even New Yorkers. You work for Trump, just like you have since 2009. And in just a couple weeks, you’ll be right back at Trump Plaza with your Netflix and your Shih Tzu.