It all started in the pages of United Airlines’ in-flight magazine.
Former Grantland staffer Alex Pappademas casually asked his interview subject, actor Samuel L. Jackson, if the rumors are true that he is “golf buddies” with Donald Trump.
“I would never say buddies,” Jackson replied. “Or friends. I’ve golfed with him.” The actor revealed that just recently he got a bill from Trump National Golf Club. “And I haven’t been there in four or five years, so I had my assistant call. They said it was for membership dues. And I said, ‘I’m not a member,’ and they said, ‘Yeah, you are—you have a member number.’ Apparently he’d made me a member of one of his golf clubs, and I didn’t even know it!”
After clarifying that he has no intention of paying his alleged debt to Trump, Jackson added, “I don’t know what the Don’s up to. Interesting character. More P.T. Barnum than politician. I don’t think he believes half the things he says.”
But who is the better golfer, Pappademas wanted to know.
“Oh, I am, for sure,” Jackson replied, adding, “I don’t cheat.”
And just like that, the great Samuel L. Jackson vs. Donald Trump feud of 2016 was born.
Not only does Trump conveniently forget playing golf with, or even meeting Jackson, but he claims to find him “boring”—not exactly the first word that comes to mind when you think about the star of Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown along with this past year’s Chi-Raq and The Hateful Eight.
Jackson got his much-awaited chance at a response on last night’s episode of Late Night With Seth Meyers.
“You are in a feud right now with Donald Trump. Do you know this?” Meyers asked his guest Tuesday night.
“No, I don’t,” Jackson replied innocently. “We’re having beef?”
Jackson recounted the story about the unexpected bill he received from Trump’s golf club and then, with Meyers’s help, broke down the GOP candidate’s latest tweet attack.
“It’s very interesting when Donald Trump thinks someone is out on TV too much,” Meyers remarked, referring to the crack about Jackson appearing in too many commercials.
Jackson told Meyers that he has met Trump “a lot” and that they have indeed played golf together. “I actually played golf with him with [Black-ish star] Anthony Anderson one day,” he said, recalling a shot that Trump “hooked into a lake.” Moments later, Trump’s caddie magically “found” the ball on dry land.
“I have another person who can verify that he knows me,” Jackson remembered, telling Meyers about one of the many times Trump called him up personally—“Samuel L.! The Don!” he would always say—to ask him to play golf with former President Bill Clinton. “And Don did show up, and he took Bill in and bought him a jacket, and gave me nothing,” Jackson added.
“I will say, if we can prove that Donald Trump is lying when he says he doesn’t know you, this might be the thing that finally brings down his campaign,” Meyers said as Jackson flashed a thumbs-up to the crowd.
Jackson is not the first celebrity to accuse Trump of cheating at golf. Early last fall, The Washington Post published a thorough investigation of the various claims against Trump, which have come from the likes of rocker Alice Cooper and sportswriter Rick Reilly.
As Meyers suggested, Bill Clinton has yet to wade into this mess, but Anthony Anderson was quick to back up his friend’s story on Twitter, even adding some details to help jog Trump’s memory:
The actor Orlando Jones took things one step thing further, digging up an old photo of Trump talking to Jackson on the red carpet at the 2001 Academy Awards:
Maybe Trump meant “know” in the Biblical sense?