Donald Trump’s ‘bizarre’ questions on George Washington tour

President reportedly asked if the founding father was ‘really rich’ and why he didn’t name mansion after himself

Melania and Donald Trump pose alongside Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte
Melania and Donald Trump pose alongside Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron outside Mount Vernon
(Image credit: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump baffled a tour guide at George Washington’s house by suggesting that if the founding father was “smart”, he would have named the mansion after himself, it has emerged.

Former history professor Doug Bradburn, who now manages Mount Vernon, was enlisted to give Trump and visiting French President Emmanuel Macron a VIP tour of the former plantation in Virginia in April last year.

According to Politico, Bradburn has since told several people that the president’s comments during the tour were “truly bizarre”, and that Macron and his wife, Brigitte, appeared far more knowledgeable about America’s first president.

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A source briefed on Trump’s visit told the news site that the president seemed most interested in Washington’s real-estate ventures, and asked Bradburn whether the 18th century political titan was “really rich”.

Multiple sources told Politico that Trump did not seem overly impressed with the 11,000-sq-ft colonial mansion, commenting that the rooms were “too small”, the staircases “too narrow” and the floorboards “uneven”. The president is said to have boasted that he could have built a better and cheaper mansion.

Trump, whose name adorns hotels, casinos and resorts around the world, also “marvelled at the first president’s failure to name his historic compound after himself”, says Politico.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump reportedly said. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”

Politico reports that Bardburn responded “that Washington did, after all, succeed in getting the nation’s capital named after him”, prompting a laugh from Trump.

The surreal exchange inspired feminist news blog Jezebel to run an account of the visit under the tongue-in-cheek headline: “Donald Trump regrets that George Washington was lost to history.”

A spokesperson for Mount Vernon initially refused to comment on the claims.

However, in a later statement, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association “said it was breaking traditional protocol” in order to correct media accounts of the Trump-Macron visit, CNN reports.

The association insisted that, contrary to reports, “all parties were interested and engaged” in tour and that “questions were asked by both leaders with curiosity and respect”.

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