President Donald Trump claims to hate The New York Times, which he calls “the failing New York Times,” yet he keeps giving them interviews. We, on the other hand, have not secured a single interview with him, even though he has never once called us “the failing Hottest Heads of State.” (Despite the fact that we are, by some measures, more of a failure than the New York Times.)
Fortunately, if there’s one thing I picked up at the University of Missouri School of Journalism (back when I regularly walked past it and imagined what was being taught inside) it’s that you’re allowed to make up interviews as long as you use real quotes.
JD: Mr. President, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Your first few months as president have been a whirlwind of palace intrigue, and many Americans feel bewildered and disoriented. But is this simple chaos, or do you have an actual strategy for making our heads spin?
DJT: “I will be so good at the military your head will spin.”1
JD: Wow, that’s pretty intimidating! In fact, it might make people feel a little inadequate. Do you have any words of reassurance for Americans who feel stupid or insecure because of how smart you are?
DJT: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”2
JD: Thank you, Mr. President. I think that will set a lot of worried minds at ease. Now, I do have a few questions, but I don’t want to be greedy with your time.
DJT: “The point is, you can never be too greedy.”3
JD: Oh, OK then! I have to be honest, though…a moment ago, when you said “sorry haters and losers,” I couldn’t help but feel like you were calling me a loser.
DJT: “Over your life, Megyn, you’ve been called a lot worse. Isn’t that right? Wouldn’t you say?”4
JD: Umm…my name isn’t Megyn. It’s “JD.” Although I sometimes use the alias “Ted” when I’m conducting imaginary interviews.
DJT: “Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”5
JD: Spill the beans on Kate?! But what will the media say?
DJT: “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”6
JD: Well, I do have a beautiful ass, so I guess spill away. Speaking of beans, do you have any beauty tips for our readers?
DJT: “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”7
JD: If you say so! Moving to another topic, how are you and your team feeling about your re-election prospects?
DJT: “I’m just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?”8
JD: Hmm…that might be going a little too far. You can probably just use this “three million fraudulent votes” lie to make it harder for your opponents to vote. And while we’re on the subject of consolidating power, do you have any words of sympathy for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un?
DJT: “He is 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age.”9
JD: You’re so right! Some people call you self-centered, but I’ve never heard the plight of being a young heir described so movingly. You sure know a lot about inheriting undeserved wealth and power! Is there anything else you’re an expert on?
DJT: “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”10
JD: Oh, I do. Always. But they probably know more about some topics then you. Missiles, for example. I would think your generals know more about missiles than you.
DJT: “It would take an hour and a half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles…I think I know most of it anyway.”11
JD: I’ll be honest—that makes me feel pretty lazy for not knowing everything there is to learn about missiles. In the time I spent writing this interview, I could have learned everything about missiles three or four times.
One last question, Mr. President. I had a weird experience yesterday and wanted to ask your advice about it, since your I.Q. is one of the highest. I was walking down the sidewalk, and I passed a woman who had a bunch of different pets all leashed together. Suddenly, she lost control of the leash, and one of the dogs started pulling all of the pets toward the road…only the cat was lagging behind. I needed to act fast to save them, but I felt like an everyday guy like me couldn’t do anything.
DJT: “You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”12
JD: Mr. President, you’re right! I should have grabbed the cat and pulled all the pets to safety. Thanks! Incidentally, it just occurred to me that in any other context, that comment of yours would be borderline sociopathic. Ha! OK, good talk.
1 Sep. 3, 2015 interview with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, after Hewitt asked Trump is he was familiar with a particular Iranian general and Trump said “yes” and then proceeded to demonstrate that he definitely was not. (Reading it now, I honestly think this might be one of the toughest interviews Trump has had, which is nuts. Interviewers, please just ask him to explain stuff he claims to be an expert on.)
2 May 8, 2013 tweet. I have no idea what prompted it, other than that he genuinely feels pity for the haters and losers and carries that pity, all the time, like a heavy yoke.
3 You recognize this one, right? It’s one of the many passages underlined in your dog-eared copy of The Art of the Deal. (I will concede that quoting books he has “authored” is, perhaps, unfair.)
4 May 17, 2016. While interviewing Trump, Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly noted that he had called her a bimbo on Twitter. Trump was trying to explain that actually, she was lucky to have him call her a bimbo.
5 March 22, 2016, Twitter. Trump never carried through on this threat, but at the risk of cyberbullying we will spill the shocking beans on Ted Cruz’s wife: she married Ted Cruz.
6 When JD used to work in PR, this was one of the tips he’d give clients. But it’s also something Trump told Esquire in 1991.
7 May 17, 2011, during an appearance on Good Morning America. He was actually discussing his beauty as a candidate, and claiming he would spend $600 million of his own money. He actually ended up spending $66 million, which—in all fairness—also starts with a 6.
8 October 27, 2016 campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio. But this might also show up in 2018 or 2020 as an executive order.
9 April 27, 2017 interview with Reuters, in response to being asked whether he thinks Kim Jong Un is rational. Think about that for a moment.
10 November 13, 2015 campaign rally in Ft. Dodge, Iowa. It seems unlikely he knows more about ISIS than literally anyone else who works for the U.S. government. But maybe he was actually saying “Isis,” the ancient Egyptian goddess.
11 November 15, 1984 interview with The Washington Post. In the same interview the 38-year-old Trump says he has a secret strategy for negotiating nuclear arms reduction with Moscow. Maybe that’s what been happening in all these meetings with Russians? Trump and his people aren’t trying to keep them secret because they’re guilty of something, it’s just that they don’t want to ruin the surprise of a nuclear-free world!
12 2005, Access Hollywood tape. You may remember this as one of the many, many times Trump has broken a norm of American society and gotten away with it because of people choosing party over country. But if you don’t remember, don’t worry, because he still has plenty of norms to go.