Reportedly, the president's advisers "went into the mid-July meeting hoping he would sign off on an Afghanistan strategy after months of delays." Instead, Trump chastised his national security team, telling them that he was unhappy with the options they presented. He cited a meeting he'd recently had with a group of veterans of the Afghanistan war for his abrupt change of heart. Veterans, he said, had told him that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had not been helpful. He also expressed displeasure with China, which he said is making money off of Afghanistan's estimated $1 trillion in rare minerals while American troops continue to fight the war.
As if to illustrate his point that Afghanistan veterans would be better qualified to advise him on matters of national security, the president compared the policy review process to the renovation of Manhattan's elite '21' Club in the 1980s. He said the restaurant closed for a full year and management hired an expensive consultant who recommended enlarging the kitchen. He stressed that if the restaurant managers had spoken with the wait staff rather than a third party, they might have seen better results.
"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," said an official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
Reporters with Page Six spoke to the restaurant’s former CEO Ken Aretsky and former owner Marshall Cogan, who said the president's story was a load of bollocks. “I have no idea what was in his head. I never have," Cogan said.
Not only did the renovation take half as long as Trump claimed, but Aretsky insists the restaurant never hired a consultant. While Aretsky admitted that the kitchen was 60 years old at the time of the renovation, he said that he’s “proud of the job I did."
Cogan said he got "a great kick" out of Trump's story. He said Trump “has a psychological problem that only a therapist can define for you. I can’t.”
The president's story was met with incredulity on social media and characterized as yet another example of his tactless nature––and shameless lying.
This from Trump, who fought the Battle of the 21 Club Salad Bar— Hubert O'Hearn (@BTBReviews) August 7, 2017
7. 21 Club didn't shut for a year.— Dan Murphy (@bungdan) August 3, 2017
8. Mexican president didn't praise Trump.
9. Praise for Trump Boy Scout speech not universal.
The White House has not commented on Page Six's report.