‘He has a psychological problem’: 21 Club owner says Trump made up anecdote used in Afghanistan meeting
During a meeting with his national security team in July, the president reportedly compared the longest war in U.S. history with a botched retelling of renovations of the NYC speakeasy “Club 21.”
Speaking to his national security advisers, Trump reportedly explained Club 21 wasted a lot of money in the ’80’s when it “hired an expensive consultant to craft a plan for a renovation.”
“After a year, Trump said, the consultant’s only suggestion was that the restaurant needed a bigger kitchen,” NBC reported.
“The clear message if you heard the story was: High-priced consultants, or high-priced anybody, expensive, supposedly big-brained people, but who are physically far from the source of the problem, often give you much worse advice than the supposedly low-ranking guys who are right there,” a source told NBC.
Page Six spoke with Marshall Cogan, who owned “21” for a decade beginning in 1995, and Ken Aretsky, the restaurant’s CEO during that same time, and found out the president “once again … exaggerated another story.”
As it turns out, “21” did not close for a year. It shuttered for less than two months in 1987, and required no outside consulting. “There was no consultant,” Cogan told Page Six. “We had [architectural firm] Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.”
“I signed all the checks,” Cogan continued. “We didn’t make any mistakes. The kitchens were 60 years old. We put in all new equipment and duct work.”
“I’m proud of the job I did at ’21,’” Aretsky said. “I got a great kick out of reading about Trump’s comparison of our renovation to the war in Afghanistan, but everything he said is wrong.”
Cogan assured Page Six the renovations were “a wonderful transaction,” adding the restaurant “made a fair New England return.”
“I think [Trump] has a psychological problem that only a therapist can define for you,” Cogan added. “I can’t.”