Dan’s Papers exclusively learned late this morning that France has contacted the White House with a lucrative offer to buy the Hamptons. Our source is a staff member at the White House who wishes to remain anonymous. But we can tell you that this source is part of the President’s inner circle, so what he says is the truth. He also said the offer came unexpectedly and was a complete surprise.
Trump’s initial reaction, expressed at his pre-lunch briefing with staff, was quick and to the point. “No part of the United States will ever be for sale,” he said. “We are buyers, like with the Greenland deal. We sell nothing.”
Later in the morning, however, his position changed. At a late lunch meeting with his top staff only—our source was in attendance—he said, “If the price is right, why not? This could be a good deal for us.”
Dan’s Papers reporters have followed up on this leak by contacting a high-up French official in Paris who told us the French feel that the 62 East End wineries, in spite of all their awards, are under-appreciated. France is also particularly interested in the Zagat four-star rated restaurants in our area that are a threat to the Michelin four-star rated restaurants in Paris and along the French Riviera, since some of the Hampton restaurants have risen to just below four stars on the Michelin scale.
If the balance were to tip, the Hamptons would become the center of the gastronomic universe in the same way that, years ago, the center of the world’s abstract expressionist art movement shifted from Paris to East Hampton. “Can’t have that,” the official said. He noted that the offer was for $50 trillion.
We also learned from this French official that the French offer included not only the purchase of the Hamptons but also the North Fork and had included that from the beginning, a fact that had gone unnoticed by the Trump administration.
“How could they not know this?” the French official said. “Everyone knows nearly all the wineries are on the North Fork, which is a section of the Hamptons, no?”
A third attraction to the French was the large numbers of billionaires, mostly Americans but also some Russian, Colombian and Saudi, who now officially live in the Hamptons and pay low taxes in America because of the new reduced Trump tax rules. They would now be dealing with the French, which, he said, charge much higher taxes for the rich. He used the words “canard de sitting” to explain the situation, which our translator said meant “sitting duck.” And these taxes would be paid in Francs, not Euros. The Hamptons would be Very French, an outpost of French culture.
“Frankly,” he said, “we don’t want the EU, particularly the Germans or Belgians, to get their hands on the Hamptons.”
There would, of course, also be a lowering of all American flags and a raising up of the Tricolor, which he said was much more chic than the “unfashionable stars and stripes, which seem to change over time with new states added all willy-nilly.”
Our contact also said the French purchase of the Hamptons did not mean that people from the United States would not be welcome to come and visit. He declared that France would keep “open borders” for at least as long as the Americans behaved themselves properly. After that, he didn’t know what they would do.
He also said France could charm the locals. French rules allow French citizens long vacations with pay and other social benefits that in America are slowly being done away with “as we speak.”
Local reaction to the situation has been mixed. Hampton Mayor Frank Brody says he would welcome the French to the Hamptons. He pointed out their insistence on good manners, more cafés, high fashion, lots of public pissoirs and naps in the afternoon. Another perk was their unexplainable mastery of the romantic French language, which he said he was eager to be taught.
North Fork Mayor Watchcase Malitoba said, “I’m against this.” But he said that if the Dutch were interested, he might be more agreeable. “The Dutch were the first foreigners to settle Long Island,” he said. “And some of my best friends are Dutch.”
The President is expected to speak on this subject in an interview on Fox tomorrow morning to clarify his views.
As we go to press, we’ve now learned that French President Macron is cancelling his scheduled October visit to Mar-a-Lago. He says he will remain open to un-cancel if in the early negotiations he sees that a good outcome might be in sight.
And if the deal looks like it is nearly done, as a surprise, he will throw in Lorient, their Atlantic Ocean port in Brittany, in addition to the cash.
“Lorient will become a piece of the USA in Europe,” the French official we contacted said. “Sort of like the Monaco deal along our French Riviera, where a piece of France was given away a long time ago. Although this will be different, of course.”