Remember the time President Donald Trump compared the war in Afghanistan with the renovations at an elite upper Manhattan restaurant for the sole purpose of berating his top generals and national security advisers for supposedly “losing” the war raging for over 15 years.
The story revolved around the 21 Club, which according to the president wasted a lot of money in the '80s when it “hired an expensive consultant to craft a plan for a renovation” and found out, after about an year, that the restaurant only needed a bigger kitchen — something Trump believed a server could’ve easily concluded.
“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 present in the meeting told NBC News at the time.
As it turns out, like most of the things that leave the commander-in-chief’s mouth, the anecdote about 21 Club closing down for a year and hiring consultants was pure fiction.
In a recent Page Six interview, former 21 Club owner Marshall Cogan, who owned the restaurant for a decade beginning in 1985, along with Ken Aretsky, the restaurant’s CEO from 1986 to 1995, shut down Trump’s bizarre story.
Apparently, the renovations took less than six months in 1987.
“I signed all the checks. We didn’t make any mistakes,” Artesky said. “The kitchens were 60 years old. We put in all new equipment and duct work.”
In addition to that, the owner did not hire any outside consultants.
“There was no consultant,” explained Cogan. "We had [architectural firm] Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.”
“I’m proud of the job I did at 21. 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,” Aretsky said.
Cogan, meanwhile, had a slightly harsher comeback.
“I think [Trump] has a psychological problem that only a therapist can define for you. I can’t,” he added.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Carlos Barria