President Donald Trump once exploited a tragedy by claiming that he had narrowly avoided death in a helicopter crash that killed two of his company's executives.
The story, recently recounted by longtime Trump Organization vice president Barbara Res, has shocked and appalled the president's former biographer and other critics, who tried to imagine the crass, self-aggrandizing eulogies he might deliver.
“I’m going to tell you a little story,” Res told MSNBC earlier this week. “We had a tragedy in the Trump Organization. There were three people, two top executives of the Atlantic City casinos and one very high up gentleman, and they came to New York for a press conference at the plaza, they were plugging a fight. And then they went back to Atlantic City and the helicopter crashed and they all died.”
Trump started claiming -- falsely, Res said -- that he was supposed to be on that same flight but was pulled off at the last minute, just barely escaping death himself.
“Total — total lie,” Res said. “Making himself part of the story, a very important story and undermining the fact that three people died, just like he is undermining what happened in 9/11 by exploiting it.”
Trump biographer Tim O'Brien concocted a hypothetical eulogy Trump might give, celebrating himself instead of the deceased, and conservative attorney George Conway pointed out that Trump had basically done that at his own father's funeral decades ago.
"We are gathered here today to honor me, because you're dead and I'm not." #TrumpObits— Tim O'Brien (@Tim O'Brien)1564662862.0
“On June 29th, 1999, Trump gave a eulogy at his father’s funeral .... [Trump] used the time to talk about his own… https://t.co/zNkCK96EaQ— George Conway (@George Conway)1564664968.0
@gtconway3d After he died, he said to me "Sir, Thank you for everything you've done." And he was crying, and this i… https://t.co/AQeoD6hLXD— Joel Gleicher (@Joel Gleicher)1564664509.0
Steve Irwin #trumpeulogies "He spent his life with thousands of dangerous animals. And I was down there also, but… https://t.co/OyQ7LVlOzK— Milo (@Milo)1564665100.0
@gtconway3d #TrumpEulogies And then his battery ran out - the key to not dying is to not exercise too much or your battery runs out.— Wendy wears a mask (@Wendy wears a mask)1564664444.0
@gtconway3d “She had blood coming out of her wherever, and now she’s gone. Sad.” #TrumpEulogies— Jo (@Jo)1564664590.0
@gtconway3d "John used to call me and say: Mr. Trump. Thank you for all you've done for me and my family! No other… https://t.co/KNPOHl9tAc— David Hindberg (@David Hindberg)1564665191.0
@gtconway3d “She was a beautiful woman in life. Always coming on to me when her husband wasn't there. Sometimes whe… https://t.co/G5fqIrnGVY— Coffee and a Phone (@Coffee and a Phone)1564664900.0
@gtconway3d “Now that he is dead, I have outlived yet another person, which I am told is because of my great genes.” #trumpeulogies— Dave Simon (@Dave Simon)1564664787.0
@gtconway3d Knowing he gave me the opportunity to be here today would have made him very happy. He always said "Sir… https://t.co/ap8Qh1WfHV— Conan (@Conan)1564665011.0
@gtconway3d Would I be here if he wasn't a fan of mine? #TrumpEulogies— BobbyC (@BobbyC)1564664383.0
@gtconway3d People were literally dying to hear me give this eulogy. Obama never did that. #TrumpEulogies— Josh (@Josh)1564667841.0