Wesley Mouch had never paid much attention to men like Henry Rearden, who had risen on his own merits from the pits of a Minnesota iron mine to become sole owner of 57% of the world's steel mills. The industrialists surrounding Rearden, men like Francisco D'Anconia, who had built on a fortune established by the legendary Sebastian D'Anconia, a disgraced Spanish aristocrat who had been transported to Peru for speaking against the corruption surrounding the king; women like Dagney Taggart, the ice cold beauty who singlehandedly ran the operations of the massive Taggart Transcontinental railway line which provided the motive blood coursing through the veins of American industry: what could they, with their merciless focus on the creation of wealth, know of tender feelings; of the sense of terror experienced by a man such as Wesley Mouch in the company of these diamond-encrusted titans of wealth? And so Mouch, though he was very well thought of by such leading lights of the culture as Tiggle Munson, the author of "The Grateful Slave: A Paradigm For Our Times," and by Ignitz Urkelmop, the playwright whose musical comedy "Burp! Burp! Burp!" was the toast of Broadway, and by Edna Sloggle, whose salon in Washington was the gathering place of fashionable American intellect, took a stiff belt of bourbon to fortify himself as he entered Rearden's party.
As he made his first trip to Rearden's bar, Mouch looked furtively at the industrialists around him, with their tasteful, understated displays of supreme confidence in themselves and their hard-earned wealth. Mouch wanted nothing so much as to to vomit, to sully the marble floors and columns with the half-digested lunch of his own inadequacy in the face of such self-assurance. It was then that he saw Donald Trump enter, insult Rearden's butler with an ethnic joke, and wade into the crowd with the thoughtless swagger that can only belong to a man who has stolen a fortune through graft, pull at City Hall, and the liberal use of eminent domain. Mouch's heart rose at the sight of such a man.
Trump slouched against the buffet table as Rearden held forth on the merits of his newly invented wonder alloy, Rearden Metal, which was said to combine the tensile strength of a spider's web with the durability and load-bearing capacity of the purest titanium. Rearden was saying that his metal, with its unheard-of resistance to heat, could revolutionize the smelting of vital industrial ores in foundries of such might as to approach the heart of the sun, when Trump interrupted the conversation.
"Rearden Metal? Let me tell you something about metals. Now I happen to be quite an expert in metals, and alloys, and it's very well known that my opinion counts for a lot in these things. Reporters, cable tv guys, metallurgists, all the polls, they say Trump's the go-to guy when you want the latest on metals. Trump knows metals, they all tell me. It's a fact. I've been making deals in the metal markets for a long time. And not your average everyday metals, no tin pots at a Trump hotel. I'm talking about high grade metals, the very best of metals, you understand. Gold, platinum, all of your classier metals, that's what you'll find at my resorts and casinos. All of the guests at my Trump Atlantis resort, they come up to me after dining on USDA prime angus steaks, those mouth-watering steaks you can only find at world-class restaurants and exclusively through The Sharper Image with my Trump Steaks brand, the very best steaks you can buy, with my beautiful silverware, and they say, 'Donald, I have never seen such rare and expensive metals as are on display at your five star resorts and casinos. Where do you find such metals?' And I tell them I know all there is to know about metal. You could say, and people have said it, very influential people say it, they say it all the time: that Donald Trump is America's foremost expert on metals."
As Rearden cleared his throat to reply, Trump went on. "And it's because I know people. I make deals. I negotiate the lowest and best prices for the finest quality metals. I do it all the time. Not like Rearden here, who to put it frankly, doesn't know metals the way I do. Now Hank's a good friend, Hank and I go back in the metals markets, so I hate to say it, but Hank doesn't know his metals, doesn't know his alloys, doesn't know his chromium from a hole in the ground. Totally ignorant about metals. A very low energy guy, this Hank Rearden. Came up in life the hard way, dug his way out of an iron mine. And it shows. Hank Rearden would never be admitted to one of my top-rated golf courses, the groundskseeper would take one look at Hank and he'd say, 'This guy looks like a bum. Probably dug his way out of an iron mine, or a coal smelter, or something.' And who can blame him? Everybody come round and look at this guy Hank: he's wearing Rearden Metal cufflinks. Jesus Christ, is that what you wear to a business gathering, among all these titans of industry? No class. And no Rearden Metal, not at any of my hotels and resorts, which are consistently rated five stars, the best in the world. I wouldn't use a Rearden Metal club at the training hole at a Putt-Putt Goofy Golf in Fargo North Dakota, and I sure as hell wouldn't allow one at the Trump golf course and country club at Mar-A-Lago, the finest in south Florida, where the waiting list for a guest reservation is six months, the most exclusive golf resort in the United States of America."
It was at this point that Francisco D'Anconia, with the self-assurance that comes of a man who has taken a great fortune and built on it through decades of thrift, hard work, sweat, and native intelligence, grinned icily and asked Donald Trump, "Sir, do you insinuate that —"
"I insinuate nothing," Trump replied. "That would be a lie, and unlike some people I could name, I was raised never to tell a lie. I'm just telling the truth about this Rearden guy, who begged like a cripple in the streets to get a reservation at my Trump Hotel on Fifth Avenue in New York City. I told him no, because I don't want my guests exposed to some hick from the boondocks in Pennsylvania who is a complete and total failure in life. My guests appreciate the finer things, and they're sure to get them at any of my hotels, resorts, and casinos, not like this Hank Rearden, who between you and me looks like a hobo with a tin cup in his hands. Probably buys his suits off the rack at Men's Wearhouse to go with those cheap Rearden Metal cufflinks. I'm sorry to say it Hank, but you're a loser. And as for you, D'Anconia, whatdayou know about metals? Got a copper mine or two in Chile or Tijuana or someplace I never heard of, right? Now don't take that as an offense against Tijuana. They love me in Tijuana, the little brown people. Let me tell you something about copper. I buy only the best and most luxurious copper in the world, and at bargain prices, because I'm such a great negotiator. I get up at 4 in the morning, every morning, and I'm working the phones, trying to wheel and deal, and succeeding I might add, in the copper markets. They all know me in the copper markets, the big copper merchants, and they say 'Oh no, it's Donald Trump, come to skin us alive on another copper deal.' But they can't resist me, because they know their copper will be on display at the greatest hotels in all of the world's most beautiful cities. Not at all like the tarnished stuff that my good friend Francisco, a great guy but he wasn't even born in America, what the hell kind of name is D'Anconia anyway? Sounds like something you get a dose of at a cathouse in Reno. Anyway, like I was saying, all of the right people, the experts, the Drudge Report, my good friend Rush Limbaugh, they say that my exploits in the copper market are legendary. Because it's true. I'm the world's foremost authority on copper. I make the deals. Not like this guy D'Anconia here: zero knowledge on copper. I'd call him a Mexican bum, but that wouldn't be politically correct, so I'll say he's an underachiever. Now don't take offense, they love me in Mexico. They come up to me with their little pinatas and burritos and they say, 'Donald, tell us all about this guy D'Anconia.' And I tell them, well, it's not for me to say, but if Francisco D'Anconia somehow got to be a participant on my award-winning, top-rated television show "The Apprentice," I'd have to say, 'Francisco, you're fired!'"
Unable to restrain herself, Dagney Taggart, the arctic blonde beauty whose railroad empire kept the beating heart of American industry pumping, vociferated, "Mr. Trump, surely you don't suggest that —"
"Get a load of this bimbo, oops, I'm not supposed to say that," Trump winked. "Now don't misunderstand me, Miss Taggart's a beautiful woman, but she's a bit of a lightweight. More than a bit, in fact. Never been married. A spinster! Probably on her, well, let's just say that if Rearden's floor was a rag, they'd need to bring in a bucket and mop to clean the place up. I mean, I hate to say it, I respect Miss Taggart as a railroad executive, I respect all women. Motherhood and apple pie are what made America great. Have I ever told you about the apple pie the pastry chef serves at my Trump Hotel and Spa in Chicago? Brought him in from France, from Paris, the finest pastry chef in the world, serving the greatest apple pie you'll ever taste. Anyway, as I was saying about Dagney here, wonderful woman but no children. And flat-chested. Frankly, I wouldn't…"
As Trump held forth, Wesley Mouch smiled to himself. Finally, here was an industrialist who understoood. Mouch ran to the nearest telephone, and dialed Washington…