“You have no way of predicting what Donald is going to do, what’s going to come up on the cuckoo clock today: Good Donald or Bad Donald,” says Harry Hurt III, author of the 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.
Hurt ran into “Bad Donald” this weekend when he played the president-elect’s West Palm Beach golf course on the day before New Year’s Eve. The two have a complicated history—Hurt’s biography of the mogul includes an accusation of rape by his ex-wife Ivana during their divorce proceedings, which she later recanted. Hurt (a sometime TC contributor) approached Trump and had a brief conversation with the soon-to-be president, after which Trump kicked Hurt off his West Palm Beach golf course.
On Saturday, Hurt posted the following account on Facebook of his run in with Trump:
When I spoke to Hurt yesterday, he explained that he “was trying to take the high road” and “be courteous because I was obviously going to be noticed.” As he mentions in his Facebook post, the writer has a penchant for colorful golf outfits. The pink ensemble that he wore for a CNN appearance, above, is the same one Hurt wore for his fateful trip to the Trump course.
“I tipped my hat to Donald Trump and said, ‘Congratulations, sir,’ and then he launched into the diatribe,” Hurt told me.
Trump then told him it would be “inappropriate” for him to play at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach and had security guards escort Hurt’s group, which included billionaire David Koch—a prominent Republican donor and member of the club—and another republican donor, John Damgard, off the premises.
“Unless you’ve spent a lot of time with him, as I have, it is really hard to communicate the depth of this man’s craziness,” Hurt says of Trump. “This is another example of his erratic behavior. And I think the power has gone to his head [after winning the election], which makes it even worse.”
“Unless you’ve spent a lot of time with him, it is really hard to communicate the depth of Donald Trump’s craziness.”
Hurt says that when he returned to his group he explained he’d been “kicked off the course, and they thought I was kidding. I told them I wasn’t kidding and said I’d be happy to take an Uber home. They said, ‘No, we came as a foursome and we’ll leave as a foursome.'”
The writer explains that the head of security, who identified himself as Orlando and who “couldn’t have been more polite,” shadowed the group with some of his associates as they retrieved their street shoes from the men’s locker room.
“I could only wish the Orlando’s boss would have been as polite,” Hurt says. “This is golf—we’re not playing grenade throwing.”
Hurt and his foursome went to Emerald Dunes Golf Club instead, and he says the reason he posted his account of the exchange with Trump on Facebook is that “when we went to the other course, people were already gossiping about it when we got there. Every single person from the waitress in the grill room to the rookie caddy” had heard about the incident.
Hurt says that he’s had agreeable interactions with Trump since he published the less-than-flattering biography, including the time the businessman sent him a clipping of a 2008 New York Times story that Hurt had written about Emerald Dunes with a note saying “the course you wrote about isn’t as good as my course.”
Hurt has even played the Trump International course recently. He remembered a specific Saturday in the Spring of 2015 when Hurt says he wore knickers for the first time and Trump made a joke about them. “He said, ‘I hope you enjoy the golf course.'” (Hurt now wears colorful knickers every time he plays to honor the late Payne Stewart and inject some fun into the sport.)
“This is the third time I’ve seen or interacted with Donald since ’07 or ’08,” Hurt says. “I’ve played that golf course a bunch of times, always with David Koch.”
“And guess what, I never know what to expect from Donald Trump and neither does anybody else.”