President-elect Donald Trump is planning to name real-estate developers Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth to head up a new council he is creating to monitor spending on his proposed $1 trillion plan to improve the nation's roads, bridges and other public works.Mr. Trump said in an interview Friday with Wall Street Journal reporters and editors that he has asked the two New York-based developers ... to oversee the council of 15 to 20 builders and engineers. "They're pros," he said. "That's what they do. All their lives, they build. They build under-budget, ahead of schedule."
Donald Trump has spoken quite a bit, before and after Election Day, about his interest in infrastructure investments, and so it hardly came as a surprise when the president-elect looked for personnel to help oversee his plans. What was surprising, however, were the specific picks Trump announced.
Trump, the Wall Street Journal article added, has known LeFrak and Roth "for decades."And by all appearances, that's an important part -- if not the most important part -- of their background. The president-elect clearly likes to hire people he knows personally.David Friedman, for example, is Trump's bankruptcy lawyer. He's also Trump's nominee to become the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel.Jason Greenblatt is the Chief Legal Officer for Trump Organization. He's also the man the president-elect recently tapped to oversee international negotiations in the incoming administration.Jared Kushner is Trump's son-in-law. He'll also soon become a senior adviser to the president in the Trump White House.Several years ago, I saw a reality show called "Project Greenlight," the point of which was to find talented amateur screenwriters and directors who worked outside Hollywood, giving them a chance to make a feature film.In the third season, the show hired a director who caused some trouble when he wanted to hire his friends and family members to star in the movie. (The studio financing the project was unimpressed.)Donald Trump is casting his own production now, and he seems to be following a similar pattern.