President Trump's speech to the quadrennial Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia on Monday was not traditional Boy Scouts fare. Amid recounting his electoral victory, calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, criticizing former President Barack Obama, predicting that the "fake media" will under-count the size of his "incredible, massive crowd, record-setting," and suggesting the gathered teenage boys do what they love, Trump told the more than 30,000 Boy Scouts about an encounter he had with famous home-builder William Levitt in the 1980s.
"I'll tell you a story that's very interesting for me," Trump began — and if you read about Levitt, it is hard to miss the similarities. Levitt and his brother, Arthur, revolutionized mass-production housing, helping create the modern suburban development and becoming very wealthy in the process. (He also famously refused to sell to black buyers.) In the 1960s, Levitt sold his company for about $90 million, and with his foreign third wife, "he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life," Trump recounted. "I won't go any more than that, because you're Boy Scouts so I'm not going to tell you what he did. Should I tell you? Should I tell you? You're Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life."
So Trump told about the time he met an old and bankrupt Levitt:
I saw him at a cocktail party. And it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party. It was the party of Steve Ross — Steve Ross, who was one of the great people. ... He had a lot of successful people at the party. And I was doing well, so I got invited to the party. I was very young. And I go in, but I'm in the real estate business, and I see a hundred people, some of whom I recognize, and they're big in the entertainment business. And I see sitting in the corner was a little old man who was all by himself. Nobody was talking to him. I immediately recognized that that man was the once great William Levitt, of Levittown. [Trump, Boy Scout Jamboree]
The moral of the five-minute story, which you can read for yourself, was the power of "momentum."