Magazine | December 31, 2017, Issue

A Christmas Carol: Special Trump Edition

President Trump arrives to deliver remarks on tax reform in St. Louis, Missouri, November 29, 2017. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Stave Five

Trump awoke with a start.

Yes! and the bedpost was his own. The bed was his own, the room was his own. The golden draperies glistened in the Palm Beach sunlight. The gold-rimmed water glass was still there beside his bed, still filled with Diet Coke. And miracle of miracles! It was still fizzy! The spirits had managed that!

The Twizzlers and Starbursts remained in their jar, ready for his morning snack. It was all as it had been the night before, when he had climbed into his bed and pulled the bed curtains shut and plugged in his phone for its nightly charge, slipped on his CPAP unit, and fallen asleep midway through his silent daily tally of the people he intended to get back at.

It was all as it had been. Despite the visitations of the three ghosts, Trump had lived through the night.

Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in!

“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future,” Trump repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. O, Steve Bannon. Heaven and the Christmastime be praised for this. I say it on my knees, old Steve, on my knees.”

“I don’t know what to do,” cried Trump, laughing and crying in the same breath; “I am as light as a feather, though I honestly do not have a weight problem as regards to my eating; I am as happy as an angel, mostly because I am very successful; and I am as merry as a schoolboy, but not in a gay way.”

Running to the French doors that opened onto the small patio overlooking the fairway, within sight of the eleventh green, he opened them and put out his head. Sunny, Florida sunshine!

“What’s to-day?” cried Trump, calling out to a perspiring groundskeeper of indeterminate documentation.

“¿Qué?” returned the man, with all his might of wonder.

“What’s to-day, my fine fellow?” said Trump.

“To-day,” replied the man, “is Navidad, señor.”

“It’s Christmas Day,” said Trump to himself. “I haven’t missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can.”

“Do you need something, Señor Trump? You no look well.”

Trump chuckled. He would not, he said to himself, have this man fired. He would, instead, simply have him moved to catering or somewhere else, where he would not have to look at him. Yes, he thought to himself, here’s a one who shan’t be deported! And as Old Trump sprayed his fingers with hairspray and ran the sticky fingers through his own locks — where was the valet? where the Secret Service? — and as he plastered down the stray hairs and formed the rest into his trademark wedge, he thought to himself, Yes, I will do it. I will stop tweeting, will stop engaging in low behavior, will start anew and begin the last chapter of my life in kindness and . . .

Someone was calling his name — “Sir? Sir? Sir?” It was faint, but he could hear it. He looked around and saw that he was, somehow, on his phone.

“Sir?” It was the voice of Kellyanne! Charming, lovely Kellyanne!

“Why, bless my soul,” cried Kellyanne, “is that POTUS?”

“It’s I. Trump. A merry Christmas, Kellyanne,” said Trump, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken. “I have had such a night! And I have endeavored to change my ways, my good Kellyanne! No more will I tweet or insult or tell delusional tall tales! No more will I — ”


“ — create needless turbulence and ill will! The ghosts have shown me a better path, Kellyanne! And the first thing we need to do is take this mobile phone and smash it to — ”

“Sir? Sir? Are you okay?”

“ — oh, but I am splendid! Tip-top! But I am utterly changed! And I will need your help and counsel, good Kellyanne, to undo some of the wrongs I have done and make such a name for myself that the word ‘Trump’ will forever mean humility and effectiveness, trustworthiness and wisdom!”

“Sir? Can you hear us? Can you hear us?”

Why on earth can’t they understand me? thought Trump. Why, I’m speaking as clearly as I can!

Suddenly, Trump’s entire body shook. The bed shook and the bed curtains shook and his jowls and belly shook and he suddenly sat upright.

Trump had been asleep. It was all a very odd dream. Two Secret Service agents stood on either side of him, each holding one of his arms. It was they who had been shaking him awake.

“Sir, are you okay? You were having a very bad dream.”

Trump looked at the agents, at the bedclothes and Twizzlers, at the Diet Coke — flat, of course, in its gold-rimmed glass. He waved the agents away. What a stupid dream, he said to himself. Really stupid. Dreams are overrated.

And with that he grabbed his phone from the charging cradle and tapped out a Christmas tweet: “God bless us, everyone, even the haters and the losers.”

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


A Turn to Darkness

He focuses on the duo of Vladimir Lenin and Woodrow Wilson, who gave birth to what Herman calls “the New World Disorder.”




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