Five years before the FBI raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and seized over 11,000 documents — including 325 that were marked classified — the parody news outlet The Onion published a story that seemed to predict the reality star-turned-president’s lax approach to government secrets.
Back in March 27, 2017 — just two months into Trump’s presidency — The Onion seemed to anticipate a story that has been dominating the news cycle for the last two months with a post headlined “Mar-A-Lago Assistant Manager Wondering If Anyone Coming To Collect Nuclear Briefcase From Lost And Found.”
The Onion mentioned the prescient story in an amicus brief filed Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court defending a Parma, Ohio man named Anthony Novak arrested after he created a parody Facebook account for his local police department.
“The Onion’s journalists have garnered a sterling reputation for accurately forecasting future events,” the outlet wrote in Monday’s legal brief, which sought “to protect its continued ability to create fiction that may ultimately merge into reality.” The brief continued: “One such coup was The Onion’s scoop revealing that a former president kept nuclear secrets strewn around his beach home’s basement three years before it even happened.”
In the 2017 post, The Onion quotes a fictional Mar-a-Lago assistant manager named Chris Mahoney who wondered about a “nuclear briefcase… attached to a pair of handcuffs” that had not been claimed two weeks after being turned into the club’s lost and found.
“You’d think whoever it belongs to would have realized that they lost it by now,” Mahoney is quoted as saying. “Well, I’ll give it a few more weeks—if no one claims it after 60 days, it’s up for grabs, and I can see if someone on my staff wants it.”
In real life, the Justice Department is investigating Trump’s failure to turn over hundreds of government documents from his time in the White House, including materials on a foreign government’s nuclear capabilities, according to the Washington Post.