Trump’s Fake Painting

Les Deux Sœurs (Sur la terrasse), Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1881. Public domain.

Everything about Donald Trump is fake and he lies about virtually everything. One lie he’s been telling for a long time is that he has an original Renoir painting in his Manhattan apartment. Tim O’Brien, who spent a great deal of time with Trump while writing a biography of him, says he repeatedly claimed it was an original:

Curious, O’Brien asked Trump about the painting: was it an original Renoir? Trump replied in the affirmative. It was, he said. “No, it’s not Donald,” O’Brien responded. But, once again, Trump protested that it was.

“Donald, it’s not,” O’Brien said adamantly. “I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters on the Terrace, and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago.” He concluded emphatically: “That’s not an original.”

Trump, of course, did not agree, but O’Brien dropped the conversation topic and moved on with his interview. He thought that he had heard the last of the Renoir conversation. But the next day, when they boarded the plane to head back to New York City, Trump again pointed to the painting, and as if the conversation had never happened, he pointed to the fake and proclaimed, “You know, that’s an original Renoir.” O’Brien chose not to engage, and dropped the conversation.

But O’Brien was absolutely right. The original is, in fact, hanging in the museum of the Art Institute of Chicago. This is just so quintessentially Trumpian. Everything he says is done for self-aggrandizement. He’s that guy at the poker game who has to one-up every story anyone tells. If a guy is talking about the 10-point buck he took down last week, Trump took down an entire herd of bucks, none of them with less than 12 points.

He’s that guy. We all know them. I have a brother who is like that, always claiming to know things he doesn’t know. In fact, he’ll look you right in the face and tell you something completely false when he knows it’s false, he knows you know it’s false, and he will never, ever back down. He’ll go to his grave swearing that the bullshit he shovels out is true. That’s Donald Trump. It’s the key to understanding virtually everything else about him.

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