Presidential hopeful Donald Trump said Monday night he knows something the rest of us don't about the Capitol Dome restoration project — that it's behind schedule. But sources on the Hill, including the ranking member of the House Administration Committee, are rejecting those claims.
"Though it may look like it at times, we are not running some kind of a reality TV show here. We don’t pull down scaffolding from the Capitol Dome for a TV shot just to re-erect it when the cameras are gone," Rep. Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on House Administration, said Tuesday.
Brady's remarks came after Trump cited "a construction firm that's involved in the job" during his speech at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Trump claimed workers don't have enough time to finish the project before the 2017 presidential inauguration.
Trump: Capitol Dome Restoration Behind Schedule
"So they're going to take all of the scaffolding down. Pay millions of dollars to do that — millions. And then after the inauguration they're going to put it back up again, and pay millions of dollars more," Trump said.
But Brady, who helped lure the Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia in 2016, said in a statement to CQ Roll Call the target completion time is well before the next inauguration. He took a swipe at the GOP front-runner, adding, "Mr. Trump will be able to see this for himself on inauguration day, from the Mall, as I am quite confident he will only be there as a guest."
Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers has promised the entire project, announced in 2013, would be wrapped up within two years. “Certainly before the next presidential inauguration,” he told reporters previewing the $125 million restoration. The agency expects to complete exterior work this winter, and finish the interior portion by fall 2016, according to a timeline.
"What are they doing? Caulking? Pointing? Fixing structure? What they hell are they doing?" Trump said, contrasting the alleged delays in the Dome project to his own real estate project in downtown D.C. His refurbishing of the Old Post Office Pavilion into a Trump hotel is "under budget and ahead of schedule," he claimed earlier in the hourlong speech.
Trump boasted a simple fix: "Get them to work faster. Do you agree?"
Though he likes the idea of the scaffolding being down in 2017, Trump said he has come up with a solution to "save his first money for the United States."
"If I win, I will let the scaffolding stay up, OK. All right, I'll let it stay up," he said.
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