Magazine February 11, 2019, Issue

Equal and Opposite Overreaction

Fast food from McDonald’s on a table as the 2018 College Football Playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers are welcomed in the State Dining Room of the White House, January 14, 2019 (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

BuzzFeed bombshell: Unnamed sources say Donald Trump strangled a White House aide with a lamp cord last year, then sat next to the body for six hours, smearing himself with grease from McDonald’s wrappers, grunting softly, and occasionally taking a sip from a can of pre-mixed margarita.

Reflexive Trump defenders: That’s ridiculous. Everyone knows the president doesn’t drink alcohol.

Reflexive Trump attackers: It’s a troubling story, and not entirely out of the range of what we’ve come to expect. We know he likes McDonald’s.

Trump skeptics who shade towards disapproval: Well, I’ll have to wait for corroboration, or a coroner’s report, or

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Maybe “But there’s no one on the job at the IRS!” isn’t the best anti-shutdown messaging.

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