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 (@TimOBrien) August 1, 2019
“On June 29th, 1999, Trump gave a eulogy at his father’s funeral …. [Trump] used the time to talk about his own accomplishments and to make it clear that, in his mind, his father’s best achievement was producing him, Donald.” #TrumpEulogieshttps://t.co/5RPQL9fM50
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) August 1, 2019
After he died, he said to me "Sir, Thank you for everything you've done." And he was crying, and this is a big dead guy, but he was crying.#TrumpEulogies
— Joel Gleicher (@JoelG_88) August 1, 2019
Steve Irwin #trumpeulogies
"He spent his life with thousands of dangerous animals.
And I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a crocodile hunter. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.”
— Milo (@Milo_1278) August 1, 2019
#TrumpEulogies And then his battery ran out – the key to not dying is to not exercise too much or your battery runs out.
— SummerSally (@DaOtherLady1) August 1, 2019
“She had blood coming out of her wherever, and now she’s gone. Sad.” #TrumpEulogies
— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) August 1, 2019
"John used to call me and say: Mr. Trump. Thank you for all you've done for me and my family! No other person have done as much as you have!
Now he can't call me anymore and that is sad. Tim, I call him Tim, loved to call though. Great man. Great person. SAD!"#TrumpEulogies
— David Hindberg (@AWintersong) August 1, 2019
“She was a beautiful woman in life. Always coming on to me when her husband wasn't there. Sometimes when he was. Fun girl. She still looks like an 8/10 in that casket. Still looks "do-able".” #TrumpEulogies
— Coffee and a Phone (@CoffeeAndAPhone) August 1, 2019
“Now that he is dead, I have outlived yet another person, which I am told is because of my great genes.” #trumpeulogies
— Dave Simon (@hairyhilarity) August 1, 2019
Wow, what a crowd here today to hear me speak about my friend. People are saying that it is the biggest crowd ever, with people outside lined up around the block. #trumpeulogies
— Max Newman (@BigMaxN) August 1, 2019
Knowing he gave me the opportunity to be here today would have made him very happy. He always said "Sir, you give the best eulogies."#TrumpEulogies
— Conan (@Con_Far) August 1, 2019
Would I be here if he wasn't a fan of mine?#TrumpEulogies
— BobbyC (@SpankyHamm) August 1, 2019
— Josh (@Josh_PlainTalk) August 1, 2019