Episode 205: “A Game of Telephone”
Int. Kellyanne’s office — day
A frazzled Kellyanne sits at her desk, coffee mug close at hand. The TV in her office is tuned to MSNBC.
MSNBC Anchor (V.O.): . . . and another series of untruthful and misleading tweets from President Trump has once again caused uproar and –
Kellyanne sighs and picks up the remote and changes the channel to CNN.
Kellyanne: (calling to outer office) Michelle! The cleaning crew is messing with my television again!
CNN Anchor (V.O.): . . . members of his own party are calling for an apology and increased supervision by embattled chief of staff John Kelly as the White House once again –
Kellyanne sighs and again changes the channel, to Fox News.
Fox News Anchor (V.O.): . . . more silence from the media as the shady uranium deal, brokered by disgraced losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose health is once again in question –
Kellyanne smiles and mutes the television. She picks up a doughnut from her desk and carefully dunks it into her coffee.
President Trump enters.
President Trump: There she is!
Kellyanne is startled and drops her doughnut into the coffee as she stands to greet the president.
Kellyanne: Good morning, sir!
President Trump: Whoa! You lost your doughnut! Hey, sorry!
Kellyanne: Not a problem, sir, honestly.
President Trump: Yeah, just as well, right? You’ve been looking a little . . . (He fills his cheeks with air) . . . lately.
Kellyanne: Oh, I’m — well — I –
President Trump: Can I say that? Hey, is that gonna be a lawsuit?
Kellyanne: No, sir, of course –
President Trump: I’m kidding! Wow. We need to lighten up around here!
President Trump (cont’d): Forgot why I came in. Let me see. (Thinking.) Hmmm. Told you you were looking fat, check. Then was gonna . . . Oh! I got it! Swung by for the talking points for the calls I gotta make.
Kellyanne: Of course, sir. I have them right here.
She hands a stack of pages to the president, who begins leafing through them and scanning them.
Kellyanne (cont’d): Now the key, sir, is to maintain a respectful and sympathetic tone, to remind the people you’re calling that the nation is grateful and deeply moved by –
President Trump: Kinda heavy for the National Association of Tire Retailers, don’t you think?
President Trump: They sell tires, K.A. They’re not wounded servicemen and -women.
President Trump: I did those calls this morning, first thing. Got those talking points off your desk, whipped through that list no problem. Got some weird responses to the parts about the importance of rotation and proper inflation, but the calls seemed to go over well.
Kellyanne: Sir, um, I think there may be some mistake. These are the talking points for calls to the wounded servicemen. The ones that were on my desk this morning were the ones for the calls to the tire retailers’ group.
President Trump: So I did the ones for the –
Kellyanne: Yes, sir.
President Trump: — with the words from the other –
Kellyanne: Yes, sir.
President Trump: Oh boy.
Kellyanne: Permission to cry, sir.
President Trump: Permission not granted, K.A.
Kellyanne: I’m sorry, sir, but I think I may have to cry anyway.
Kellyanne sobs quietly. President Trump looks uncomfortable.
President Trump: Um, there there. If you could just –
Kellyanne continues to sob.
President Trump: My second wife cried a lot, Kellyanne. It’s not a great look for girls, okay? The snot and the makeup and the whole squinched-up face –
Kellyanne: (wailing) I can’t believe I made that mistake!
President Trump: C’mon! It’s not the end of the world. Sure, I think I confused some veterans, but, heck, it’s always a good thing to remind people about the importance of good tires, right?
Kellyanne pulls herself together.
Kellyanne: Well, when you put it like that . . .
President Trump: Right! See? Look, it’s a simple and easily explained mix-up. In all of the running around and diplomacy and whatnot, and the economy — which is getting much better thanks to me –
Kellyanne: Absolutely, sir!
President Trump: — we did a little boo-boo — well, YOU did a little boo-boo, and it’s not the end of the world. I’ll go and release some stuff about the JFK assassination and it’ll all be forgotten. I’ll call the tire guys now with these talking points and, hey, it’s not like they’re NOT heroes, right? Tires are important. Without tires, we’d just be scraping along the road making noise and sparks.
Kellyanne: That is a very positive way to put it, sir. Thank you.
President Trump: Hey! We’re a team, okay? We’re in this together!
Chief of Staff John Kelly enters, furious.
John Kelly: (shouting angrily) Kellyanne, would you like to explain to me why the entire media is in an uproar about a series of phone calls?
President Trump: (to Kellyanne) You’re on your own.
President Trump slips out quickly. Kellyanne looks at the door, then back at John Kelly, then back at the door, and starts to sob again.