Donald Trump, in a series of bizarre statements at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, notably said that he “spend(s) millions of dollars on ramps and all sorts of things in buildings, in many cases things I don’t have to do.” This is in reference to his controversial comments during the primaries last year, in which he made fun of a reporter with disabilities by making gestures with his arms and hands. There is something completely incorrect about this, and that is the notion that he put ramps in his buildings purely out of the kindness of his heart. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) made ramps, among other things, law to put on the outside of buildings in order to improve access for those with disabilities.
Trump saying something that is factually or lawfully incorrect has become an everyday occurrence, but the idea that he is doing someone with a disability a personal favor by putting a ramp outside a building he owns is just too egregious to ignore. The ADA was enacted in 1990, and it vastly improved the treatment of employees and potential employees who have a disability. One of these things was improving access to buildings.
Section 226 of the ADA notes that it is discrimination for a newly constructed facility to not be, “readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs.” Expanding on this, Section 227 says that alterations must be made to existing facilities to improve access, and specifically states, “the altered portions of the facility are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, upon the completion of such alterations.” The Act gave businesses three years to make such alterations, and applied to most any business with 15 or more employees.
Trump was perhaps just as big of a name in the 90s as he is now. He put his name on a lot of buildings, especially in the New York area, and owned many as well. It’s not unusual for CEOs and Chairmans to be unaware of government legislation, but Trump’s penchant for conscious naiveté when it comes to the law borders on horrifying more often than not. The ADA has been in place for more than 25 years, and was updated six years ago to include new provisions on the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which gave more specific detail in regards to building code, scoping and technical requirements.
So yes, Trump did have to put ramps and anything else necessary to on his buildings to make them more accessible for all, but he did not do this just to be nice. The ADA required this by law.
*Featured image from Michael Vadon, via WikiCommons