It’s a common theme for Democratic candidates to hate on Donald Trump, but Jeff Greene is probably the only candidate in Florida who’s had the opportunity to go head-to-head with the president.
Greene, a billionaire who lives two doors down from Trump’s Florida home, marked his entry into the crowded Democratic gubernatorial field this week with two ads, including one that features a grainy clip of a confrontation between the two Palm Beachers.
The clash occurred in the dining room at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort about a month after the president was elected, according to Greene.
Greene, who’s a member of the swank club, told reporters he was celebrating a friend’s birthday a few tables away from the president-elect when “he just called out to me and started attacking me.”
“I don’t know if you know how the president sometimes works. When Donald Trump, he points at you and says, ‘Jeff Greene.’ He was going at me pretty aggressively,” said Greene, who filed paperwork Wednesday to qualify for the governor’s race while accompanied by his wife, Mei Sze Chan, and three young sons.
Greene’s wife captured the encounter with Trump on her phone, “just to see how aggressive it was,” the candidate said.
“He was clearly unhinged and very upset at the fact that I had come out very big for Hillary (Clinton) on the air a number of times and also to local newspapers and against him,” Greene added.
Despite being neighbors on the close-knit enclave of Palm Beach, the two men aren’t buds, Greene said.
“I’ve never had lunch or dinner with him. I mean, I’ve seen him around because he’s in Palm Beach, but I can’t say that I’m his friend. He’s never been to my home,” he said.
Greene also said he isn’t dropping his membership at what Trump’s dubbed the “Winter White House” because “it gives me an opportunity to go in there and do exactly what I did after he became president-elect and stand up to him.”
Greene said he wished Trump would be in town this weekend, so he could butt heads with him over the separation of undocumented immigrant children from their families at the country’s southern border, which Greene – whose sons are ages 4, 6 and 8 – called child abuse.
Even though Trump said Wednesday he was putting an end to the practice, Greene said “you don’t reverse the consequences of separating a young child from his or her mother.”
The children and parents will be affected by the separation for the rest of their lives, Greene said.
“We’re better than that as a country. So I wish I could have the opportunity, that he was coming to Florida tonight and I could go in and walk right up to him and let him know how I feel,” he said.
Republished with permission of the News service of Florida.