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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on June 15, 2016.

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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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