It was a perfect encapsulation of the disregard and flimsy grifts we’ve seen over four years of Donald Trump’s presidency. The president announced an impromptu press conference at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia only for people to gradually realize the event was being held at a landscaping business in an industrial corridor rather than the famous, high-end hotel.
The grimy area has seen a lift now that Twitter has had a laugh at the shoddiness of the whole event, including the sex shop Fantasy Island that counts Four Seasons Total Landscaping as a neighbor. In an interview with Slate, the proprietor of the adult bookstore revealed what it was like to witness the strange event and the huge effect it’s had on business.
Owner Bernie D’Angelo said he knew there was a mistake as soon as security started to filter in to a nearby parking lot.
“We knew there had to be a screw-up somehow, because why would you pick a spot like this? And then when we heard it was the Four Seasons, I laughed. I knew exactly what it was then,” he said. “They wanted the Four Seasons in Philadelphia, inside town, not on the outskirts of the Northeast Philadelphia area...Rudy Giuliani, the former big-time mayor of New York, 9/11, you know, handled that and then all of a sudden, now he’s in someone’s backyard, so to speak.”
D’Angelo said the surprise press conference has been a boon for Fantasy Island, even though it left his regulars scrambling to get out without being noticed by the crowd.
“Oh yeah. It’s helped me out. Matter of fact, if I knew this was coming, I would have definitely got in touch with a web designer, and also [gotten] some silkscreen-type things, to just put on a shirt because my Fantasy Island Facebook page has been blown up,” he said. “I’m past 7,000 people commenting on everything that’s been going on. I had to order some more stuff and ask the companies if they could physically pick up some stuff at my distributors or actually ask UPS if we could fast-track some of it."
D’Angelo said he wished he had a bit of warning so that he could turn the free press to his advantage.
“We could never afford advertising like this. This is worldwide. I don’t know if I’ll ever trend like this ever again,” he said. “You know, capitalism is what capitalism is. It’s about making a buck.”
Though the Trump campaign has claimed they always meant to hold the event in the parking lot of a landscaping company, that message was lost between the planners and the president, who tweeted as if the event would be held at the hotel.