A new book claims that Donald Trump had Mar-a-Lago fumigated after Roy Cohn, who later died from HIV-related complications, visited the luxury resort.
The Fixers, by journalists Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld, recounts the relationship between President Trump and a number of his "fixers," per Newsweek. Among these was Cohn, a controversial attorney who represented everyone from celebrities to mob bosses, including, at one point, Trump. Cohn was also the lead attorney for Senator Joseph McCarthy when McCarthy initiated the Red Scare, accusing many notables of being Communists, often ruining their lives in the process.
Though known for publicly outing government employees in the LGBTQ community, Cohn’s "homosexuality and promiscuity were an open secret," according to the book. After Cohn took on Trump as a client, the much-feared attorney turned his client into his protégé, schooling him in the art of lies and smears. Cohn ultimately died from AIDS in 1986, while publicly declaring he was battling liver cancer.
Shortly before Cohn’s death, Trump hosted “what seemed like a farewell dinner at Mar-a-Lago” for guests to pay “tribute to the dying lawyer.”
And only three weeks before he became president, Palazzolo and Rothfeld allege that Trump recounted the tale of Cohn’s visit while making plans for his administration at Mar-a-Lago.
"This [memory] perhaps was evoked by the resort and Cohn’s last visit there a few months before he died of AIDS. Trump recalled to his guests that after Cohn had left, 'I had to spend a fortune to fumigate all the dishes and silverware.'"
Whether he actually did or just claimed he did is unclear, but it’s undoubtedly an astoundingly distasteful joke to make, particularly in 2016 when so much more information was known about HIV/AIDS than it was in 1986.
Neither President Trump nor the White House has commented on the allegations as of yet.