Magazine | May 14, 2018, Issue

“The Kellyanne Conway Show”

(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Episode 123: All Taped Shut



KELLYANNE is at her desk. JOHN KELLY’s office door is closed. PRESIDENT TRUMP enters gingerly.

President Trump: (whisper yells): Hey hey hey.

Kellyanne: Hello, sir! Good morning.

President Trump: Good morning to you, Kellybee. Is, um, you-know-who in?

(He points to the closed office door.)

Kellyanne: He is. Should I get him?

President Trump: Kellyanne, I think not. Not at this moment. Because I really wanted to ask you a favor.

Kellyanne: Anything, sir.

President Trump: It’s about that tape.

Kellyanne: Eewww.

President Trump: People keep saying that! Honestly, it’s not that bad. All it shows is  —

Kellyanne: Sir? Can we just . . . ? I had a burrito for lunch and —

President Trump: Fine. Okay. Listen, apparently Comey the Clown — and I need a better nickname for him, make a note of that —

Kellyanne: Done.

President Trump: Anyways, apparently Comey is ready to sell the copy of the tape. He needs the money for some medical procedure or something. Something weird. Anyways. Need you to meet him on the down low, see, pick up the tape, bring it back to me.

Kellyanne: Mr. President, this is a crazy idea. What kind of reckless and thoughtless person came up with this?


Corey: Hello, Kellyanne.

Kellyanne: Oy.



KELLYANNE enters wearing a large hat and dark sunglasses. She surveys the room. The MAÎTRE D’ approaches.

Maître D’: May I help you, ma’am?

Kellyanne: (in a strange accent) Vaht? Oh, yeees. Yeees, if vous pleez. I am foreigner und I am loooook for man from cable news. The man from zee booook. I am not Engleeeeesh to speakingzer voor de understandingerze-berzeemervbergzeege . . .

(She runs out of breath and her voice trails off. A beat. She takes a deep breath.)

. . . berlorfinger zee man who ist —

Maître D’: Mrs. Conway? Are you here to see Mr. Comey?


Kellyanne: Yes.

Maître D’: Right this way.

Kellyanne: (As they cross) How did you know it was me?

Maître D’: You’re still wearing your White House ID badge, Mrs. Conway.

Kellyanne sighs. They reach the table where JAMES COMEY sits in a booth, nursing a glass of milk. Above him is a large spotlight on a tripod, shining down on his head. Kellyanne sits. She shields her eyes from the light.

James Comey: Kellyanne, I’ll get right to the point. I know your boss is interested in the whereabouts of this quote-unquote tape, the one that supposedly depicts —

Kellyanne: Please don’t say it! It’s been a long day, Mr. Comey.

James Comey: Understood. I myself do not have such squeamishness. I’ve been on a remarkable journey, Kellyanne. I’m becoming a very different kind of being. I always knew I was in a chrysalis phase, but now I’m transforming into something beautiful and true and radiant and —

Kellyanne:  — and you’re giving me a headache. Can we turn down the light, Mr. Comey?

James Comey: The light gives me strength, Kellyanne. It nourishes the dragon egg inside me.

Kellyanne: Um . . .

James Comey: Anyway, here’s the tape. (He hands her a buff-colored envelope.) It’s all there. In black and white, and of course in —

Kellyanne: Don’t. (She uses her napkin to take the envelope.)

James Comey: The envelope is clean, Kellyanne.

Kellyanne: With all due respect, Mr. Comey, this is Washington, D.C. Nothing is clean. (She puts the envelope into her tote bag and sighs.) And I really loved this tote bag!



PRESIDENT TRUMP is sprawled on his bed, dipping chicken nuggets into a variety of sauces and flipping through the channels on the televisions. He hears a knock.

President Trump: Come in, Kellyanne!

Kellyanne (OS): Are you wearing your shortie robe, sir?

President Trump: C’mon! Yes! How many times do I have to tell you? I think of you as my daughter!

(KELLYANNE enters tentatively.)

Kellyanne: That’s not as reassuring as you’d think, sir.

President Trump: Did you get the tape?

Kellyanne: I did. (She reaches into her tote.) Here it is, sir. (She looks in the tote. She can’t find it.) Um . . .

President Trump: Kellyanne? Please tell me you didn’t lose it! There aren’t enough chicken nuggets in the world —

Kellyanne: (freaking out) It was right here! Right here! (She frantically turns the tote inside out, dumps the contents on the floor.) Think, Kellyanne! Think! You had it at the hotel. Then you had to pick up the kids at school, and — oh no. Oh no.



A Latin-American CUSTODIAN is sweeping up the hall after hours. He sees something on the floor. He picks it up. It’s the tape.

Custodian: (in Latin-American accent): Looks like a porno. An old-school porno. (He chuckles to himself.) These kids. Oh well.

He tosses it into the garbage bucket. Then thinks again. Fishes it out. Puts it in his pocket.


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Redeeming the Miracle

Yuval Levin reviews Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy, by Jonah Goldberg.




Richard Rustad responds to Yuval Levin & Ramesh Ponnuru’s article “A New Health-Care Debate.”

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