Journalist and sportswriter Rick Reilly, in promoting his new book, Commander in Cheat, alleges that the president doesn’t just waste a lot of time and taxpayer money on playing golf, which we already know, but that he actually cheats to win. Yes, as Reilly reports, the president is indeed that petty. And mind you, Reilly presents himself as a person motivated not by politics, but by the integrity of the sport. Trump’s alleged cheats are so egregious, Reilly wrote a book about them.
Here’s what supposedly went down. Shortly after his historic meeting with Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea, Trump went to Mar-a-Lago to play at Trump International, his Florida golf course. This timeline is important for what comes next.
Here’s what is (or isn’t, depending on how much credit you find it in yourself to offer Trump) surprising. Ted Virtue, a film producer, apparently won the 2018 championship title, but Trump told Virtue that his win didn’t count. Why? As Reily reports, Trump said that Virtue’s win didn’t count because Trump had been in Singapore with Kim at the time.
Huh. It gets weirder from there.
Not willing to play by the rules nor admit defeat (sound familiar?), Trump then asked Virtue to compete for the championship title, according to Reilly. Virtue’s son, who was playing with his father, also got roped into the game, which is where the alleged cheating comes into play.
Apparently, both Virtue and his son hit their balls into the green. Normal stuff, if you're good at golf. Trump’s, apparently, landed in a pond. Normal stuff if you’re bad at golf, or just having an off day. Instead of taking a loss like an adult, Trump apparently lined up Virtue’s son’s ball as they approached the hole.
Meaning: He was trying to blatantly ignore reality. Great!
Virtue’s son, reasonably, protested this, to which Trump’s caddie’s reportedly stated, “No, this is the president’s ball; your ball went in the water. This is the president’s ball. I don’t know what to tell you.”
From there, Trump went on to “win” and gave himself the championship title. Later, he agreed to call himself the “co-champion.”
In an interview with Vox’s Sean Illing, Reilly stated, “I actually played with him once, and he told me how he does it: Whenever he opens a new golf course, because he owns 14 and operates another five, he plays the first club champion by himself and declares that the club championship and puts his name on the wall," Reilly alleged.
"The National Golf Foundation says 90 percent of people don’t cheat when they play," Reilly continued to Illing. "But this guy cheats like a mafia accountant."
Perhaps the strangest aspect of all of this is that Trump, again and again, seems to have no problem gaslighting the people around him. What’s reality? Whatever he wants it to be, apparently.
For the sake of clarity, some media sites have reported that Virtue’s son was a child when this interaction allegedly occurred. This has since been corrected by some sites, now noting that all of Virtue’s children would have been adults (at least in their 20s) at the time this reportedly happened. Still unhinged on Trump’s part, if true, but worth clearing up.