Trump brutally mocked for turning deadly crash into boastful lies about himself
Donald Trump's warm words toward Pakistan signaled a reversal for the Republican president, who has in the past accused the country of being duplicitous (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)

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.