The Trump Files: The Time He Went Nuts on a Water Cooler

How not to remake a billionaire’s tennis courts.

Ivylise Simones


Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Mark Bowden, the reporter and author of the book Black Hawk Down, was “prepared to like” the aging and increasingly hefty Donald Trump when he set out to profile the mogul for Playboy in 1996. The two men took a trip down to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for a weekend, but the reality of The Donald quickly made any affection impossible.

“Trump struck me as adolescent, hilariously ostentatious, arbitrary, unkind, profane, dishonest, loudly opinionated, and consistently wrong,” Bowden wrote last year in Vanity Fair, recalling his time profiling Trump. “He remains the most vain man I have ever met. And he was trying to make a good impression.” Any remaining chance of that went out the window when Trump unleashed his fury on an equipment box at the Mar-a-Lago tennis courts, as Bowden wrote in the profile:

The Donald had his tile man—a genius! the best!—come out just a few weeks ago to lay smooth, rust-colored slate on the platforms between the burgundy clay tennis courts. It looks a lot nicer than plain concrete. Handsome stone water coolers stand at one end of the platform, and there’s enough room under a yellow-striped umbrella for four chairs and a small table. Except, today, smack in the middle of each platform there’s this…this thing…this little metal box about two feet high and a foot wide with wires and tubes sticking out of it, right where the table is supposed to go. Inspecting the courts with his tennis pro, Anthony Boulle, Donald probes the ugly box first with his foot.

“What’s this?” he asks, like a man with a turd on his dinner plate.

Boulle explains that it’s the chiller for the water cooler, that he tried to tell the plumber that Mr. Trump wouldn’t be happy, but the guy said…

Donald kicks the thing. It doesn’t budge so he bends over, pissed royally now, and gives the thing a hard shove. It flops over. Water from the ruptured main begins to spout two, three, four feet high, rapidly soaking and then puddling on the carefully combed courts. The Donald, muttering angrily, skips out of the spray and strides off, stepping around the widening pool.

Even Donald seemed to instantly know the impromptu demolition was a bad idea, Bowden remembered:

Catching a glimpse of me watching, Trump grimaced.

“I guess that’ll have to be in your story,” he said.

“Pretty much,” I told him.

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”: