When Donald Trump offered to spend $10 million revamping the county golf course in Crandon Park, his top negotiator made one thing perfectly clear: the 20-foot trees along the shoreline had grown much too tall for the mogul’s tastes.
“If he can’t get the 450 yards of mangroves reduced to 4 feet high so the Miami Skyline can be seen along Number 18,” parks chief Jack Kardys wrote to staff in March 2014, “there will be no deal.”
More than two years later, Trump’s failed bid for Crandon is being lauded in a book by his top negotiator, Edward Russo. The title: “Donald J. Trump: An Environmental Hero.”
In the self-published book, Russo argues the GOP nominee takes a practical, selfless approach to environmental conservation through his development deals. For Crandon, that included a plan to irrigate the course with reused wastewater from a nearby plant, reduce chemical runoff into the adjoining Biscayne Bay, and efforts to make Crandon safer for birds.
“There were serious environmental problems at Crandon,” Russo wrote. “[T]he entire archipelago was part of a migratory bird superhighway. Special care was not given to habitats or food sources.”
As for the mangroves, Russo said Trump was right to want to let some breeze in through permitted trimming.
“An environmental hero would look at those mangroves and improve their quality,” Russo said Monday. “And improve the quality of life in and around there right now.”
Critics scoff at Trump as a climate-change denier who has declared windmills too ugly to be within sight of his golf resorts. Among them is Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, who said in a statement: “The bottom line is Donald Trump is the worst candidate for the environment ever nominated by a major political party in the history of our country.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman, a Democrat, said when told of the book.