Speed Reads

Circus Trumpsimus

Trump reportedly claims he owns an original Renoir. He does not.

Two Sisters (On the Terrace) is an 1881 painting by impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir which is presently housed in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Therefore, it is not housed in President Trump's New York City penthouse.

That's relevant because Trump reportedly insists he owns the original work, as Vanity Fair recounts in a piece published Friday night:

Years ago, while reporting a book about a real-estate developer and reality-TV star named Donald Trump, Tim O'Brien accompanied his subject on a private jet ride to Los Angeles. The plane, as you can imagine, was overly ornate; hanging on one wall, for instance, was a painting of two young girls — one in an orange hat, the other wearing a floral bonnet — in the impressionistic style of Renoir.

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. [Vanity Fair]

On the return flight, O'Brien said, Trump mentioned the painting "as if the conversation had never happened" and again announced it to be an original. Then, shortly after the 2016 election, Trump gave a 60 Minutes interview in his New York home. In the background, visible behind Trump and Mike Pence, then vice president-elect, was the faux Renoir.

Trump's long-term commitment to his claim that the painting is authentic is emblematic of the president's relationship to the truth, O'Brien told Vanity Fair. Trump "believes his own lies in a way that lasts for decades," O'Brien argued, and he'll "tell the same stories time and time again, regardless of whether or not facts are right in front of his face."