Trump Made Up His Story About the 21 Club Renovation, Former Owner and CEO Say

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A younger Donald Trump and Larry King at the 21 Club. Photo: Richard Corkery/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Last week, it was reported that President Donald Trump compared an Afghanistan policy review to the renovation of upper-crust restaurant the 21 Club. In typical Trumpian fashion, it turns out that the morality tale he was trying to tell was just made up. That’s what “Page Six” has been told by the restaurant’s former CEO Ken Aretsky and former owner Marshall Cogan, who did not mince words in saying, “I have no idea what was in his head. I never have.”

According to Trump, the 21 Club closed for a full year and management hired an expensive consultant who recommended nothing but making the kitchen bigger. (How useless!) His point was that this was a colossal waste of money, fancy consultants are lazy grifters, and, uh, the troops on the ground might have better insights into the war than the generals. The problem is that Trump’s story, Aretsky and Cogan say, is totally fabricated.

Not only did the renovation take half as long as Trump claimed, but Aretsky says they never hired a consultant. The kitchen was 60 years old at the time, ancient by restaurant standards, and they did put in all new equipment and ductwork. Aretsky says that he’s “proud of the job I did,” but “got a great kick out of” Trump’s story. At least someone was amused. As for why Trump spun this yarn? Cogan says that he thinks the president “has a psychological problem that only a therapist can define for you. I can’t.”

Trump Made Up 21 Club Renovation Story, ‘Page Six’ Reports