These days there’s a seemingly endless supply of books about Donald Trump, so if you want to stand out among the crowd you have to have a good gimmick, like knowing what happened during the former president’s secret trip to Walter Reed (a colonoscopy) or what it’s like to be his apparently delusional son-in-law.
David Enrich, the New York Times’ business investigations editor, clearly knows how the Trump tome-marketing game is played. At first glance, his new book, which comes out September 13, doesn’t sound like an obvious best seller; according to the publisher, it tells the story of “the astonishing yet shadowy power wielded by the world’s largest law firms” — singling out Jones Day. The average reader probably isn’t desperate to read a Jones Day exposé. But the book has a truly badass title: Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump, and the Corruption of Justice. And it includes an especially bonkers anecdote about the former president.
The Guardian, which obtained an advance copy, says Enrich reports that back in the 1990s, “a lawyer at a white-shoe law firm” who worked for Trump confronted the mogul about a $2 million bill he refused to pay:
“After a while, the lawyer lost patience, and he showed up, unannounced, at Trump Tower. Someone sent him up to Trump’s office. Trump was initially pleased to see him — he didn’t betray any sense of sheepishness — but the lawyer was steaming.
“‘I’m incredibly disappointed,’ he scolded Trump. ‘There’s no reason you haven’t paid us.’
“Trump made some apologetic noises. Then he said: ‘I’m not going to pay your bill. I’m going to give you something more valuable.’ What on earth is he talking about? the lawyer wondered. ‘I have a stallion,’ Trump continued. ‘It’s worth $5m.’ Trump rummaged around in a filing cabinet and pulled out what he said was a deed to a horse. He handed it to the lawyer.”
Trump’s offer didn’t go over well:
Enrich reports that “once he regained the capacity for speech”, the lawyer to whom Trump offered a stallion supposedly worth $5m “stammered … ‘This isn’t the 1800s. You can’t pay me with a horse.’”
I consider myself a connoisseur of bizarre Trump behavior, from his “dangerous fruit” phobia to his very specific Tic Tac needs. But I am still blown away by this revelation, and I have so many questions:
- Why did Trump, who reportedly considers owning animals “low class,” have a stallion sitting around?
- Has Trump ever even ridden a horse?
- Was the horse really worth $5 million, or is this another case of Trump inflating the value of his assets?
- Trump’s presidential “filing system” involved tearing up memos, and he threw his passports in a desk drawer at Mar-a-Lago with random classified documents. Was he more organized in the ’90s? How did he find this horse deed so quickly?
- Had he been plotting to barter away the horse, or was it a spur-of-the-moment idea?
- After the white-shoe lawyer passed, did Trump try this horse-trading with one of the many other people he owed money?
- How are we only hearing about this two years after the end of the Trump administration?
- Who would’ve won in a race: Trump’s secret stallion or Mitt Romney’s Olympian dressage horse Rafalca?
- Did Enrich get the name of the horse?
Welp, I guess this reader is going to be learning a lot about “Big Law”’s unchecked influence on our political system just to satisfy her curiosity about Trump’s secret life as a Horse Guy.
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