Brett Arends’s ROI: Trump wouldn’t have the Manhattan D.A. on his back if he’d stayed true to his love of gold

Look, if I’m Donald Trump’s lawyer and fixer and he comes to me in 2015 and says he’s going to run for president, the first thing I do is send someone down to 47th Street in Manhattan to buy about $1 million in gold


South African Krugerrands, preferably. Or maybe American Eagles issued by Uncle Sam.

I stick them in the office safe, handling them only with gloves. And if a porn star comes along with an embarrassing story about The Donald and I want to pay her hush money, I meet her in a parking garage at midnight and hand her the payoff in a bag.

Even better, I tell her beforehand I’m going to turn up wearing a Richard Nixon mask as a disguise. And I’ll whistle the Marseillaise as a signal.

So then, if she ever decides to break the agreement and go public, what has she got?

“I’m a porn star, and I had sex with Donald Trump and he paid me to keep quiet.”

Really, what’s your evidence?

“I’ve got a bag of gold coins. His lawyer gave them to me in a parking garage at midnight. While wearing a Richard Nixon mask and whistling the Marseillaise.”

Uh, OK, ma’am. We’ll call you back.

What is wrong with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen? Don’t we produce a decent grade of miscreant any more in this country? If they had followed this simple — some might say obvious — tactic they wouldn’t have any of these problems.

Cohen wouldn’t have gone to jail and Trump wouldn’t be facing potential indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Instead, Cohen decided to pay off Stormy Daniels through the regular banking system, leaving a money trail that anyone can follow. Apparently he spent many wasted hours trying to obscure the trail, transferring the money through a shell company, when a simple bag of bullion would have left no trail whatsoever.

Cohen did pretty much the same with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, this time using the National Enquirer as a go-between. (Trump has denied any wrongdoing, including having the extramarital affairs.

“ Literally the only fingerprints on gold coins are the ones you leave if you don’t handle them with gloves. ”

Literally the only fingerprints on gold coins are the ones you leave if you don’t handle them with gloves. Other than that, they’re anonymous.

Yes, cash has the same benefits. But it’s not so easy to get $150,000 in cash out of your bank accounts without raising alarms. Bankers have to alert the feds if you withdraw more than $10,000. Trying to get round this is how they caught former House Speaker Dennis Hastert — another guy who could have saved himself a ton of trouble by using the yellow metal.

This whole thing makes no sense.

In 2016, gold fluctuated around $1,250 an ounce. So the $130,000 payoff to Daniels would have weighed just 6 ½ pounds in gold, and the $150,000 indirect payoff to McDougal 7 ½ pounds. Think three or four bags of sugar.

Nothing. Fits in a backpack.

The Guggenheim’s fully functioning gold toilet in 2016, turned down by Trump’s White House—and later stolen from Winston Churchill’s birthplace (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

The 45th president loves gold so much that he is popularly supposed to have a toilet made of it. The Guggenheim Museum in New York even offered to lend him one, an ironic 18-karat art work created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Trump turned the offer down. (Just to complete the story, the gold toilet ended up in Winston Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace in Britain, from which it was then stolen. You can’t make this up.)

Trump unwittingly marked the peak of the last gold boom in September 2011, as we warned at the time, taking some gold in partial payment for rent on a Manhattan office building and saying the precious metal’s price was going to keep going up. (It promptly collapsed.)

The stupidity of these payoffs reminds of the apocryphal story told during the Watergate scandal, when someone supposedly asked a Mafia boss what he thought about Nixon’s troubles.

“What kind of idiot bugs his own office?” the incredulous don is supposed to have replied.

When doing things you shouldn’t be doing, the old mafia saying goes, never speak when you can nod and never nod when you can wink. And never pay money by wire transfer when you can use cash, or, even better, bullion.

More: Donald Trump may be charged with a crime. Could he still run for president?

Plus: Trump NFT prices climb as the former U.S. president faces possible arrest

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