This week former President Donald Trump, a man whose sole animating principle is self-aggrandizement at the expense of others, did something decidedly out of character: He sued someone.
In fact, he sued several someones, including his niece Mary Trump and multiple reporters from The New York Times, alleging the paper's 2018 exposé on Trump's history of financial misdealings and alleged crimes necessitated a "insidious plot" between the Times and Mary Trump to obtain his tax records as part of the investigation. And while Trump has a well-documented history of threatening litigation against anyone he perceives to have wronged him, this suit is notable for the fact that, well, it actually exists beyond the former president's usual rhetorical bluster.
Per The Daily Beast, Trump's suit against his niece and the Times was filed Tuesday in a New York court, and requests payments "believed to be no less than One Hundred Million Dollars" from the defendants. In response to the suit, Mary Trump told the outlet that her estranged uncle "is a fucking loser."
"He is going to throw anything against the wall he can," she continued. "It's desperation."
In a statement to NPR, a Times spokesperson was equally uncowed by the lawsuit, defending the paper's reporting and framing Trump's legal effort as "an attempt to silence independent news organizations."
"We plan to vigorously defend against it," the spokesperson added.
As NPR notes, Trump's suit crucially doesn't actually take issue with the Times's reporting on his alleged instances of fraud. Rather, it accuses the paper's reporters of coercing Mary to turn over her uncle's financial records, thereby making them a party to her breach of an 2001 agreement not to disclose Trump's paperwork.
Despite this relatively rare instance of Trump actually following through on one of his typical threats of legal action, a spokesperson for the former president suggested additional suits were in the works, quoting Trump as saying "more to come, including on other people, and Fake News media" in a statement to The Daily Beast.
Perhaps more in keeping with Trump's experience in the legal system, he is also on the receiving end of a separate suit filed by Mary Trump last year, which alleges he committed fraud to cut her out of the family's financial profits. Of those two cases, I leave it to you to decide which seems more plausible.