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Emoluments Clause

Sunday, 20 April 2017

Dear Mr President,

Transcript of 100-day Assessment Meeting, Cabinet Room, White House. I think you have a leaker.

Kushner: The President has asked me to chair this meeting, though he’ll be sitting in. He wants everyone to know that he is not responsible.

Priebus: I think we all know that. Let’s have each department report.

Kushner: Please don’t speak unless you are called on. Let’s have each department report. Security Council?

McMaster: We have not started any new wars, but . . .

Kushner: That’ll do. Defense?

Mattis: We have bombed two countries, taking out a cave and 96 terrorists in Afghanistan, and a village in Yemen, taking out one Navy Seal and . . .

Trump: I was not responsible. That was Obama.

Priebus: How do we know they were terrorists?

Mattis: Viet Nam Rule: If they’re dead, they’re terrorists.

Kushner: Good. Commerce?

Ross: The economy grew by only .7 percent this quarter.

And a brave modern woman you were! Not every new mother would bravely turn her baby over to a nanny and go back to copying shoe designs from Aquazzura the very next day! OK, Munchkin?

Trump: I’m not responsible. I inherited a mess.

Kushner: Yes sir. Health and . . . whatever?

Price: Medical stocks are up 7 percent. Not all, just mine. We’ve made tremendous progress in repealing Obamacare, but some Democrat bleeding hearts are still whining about cutting maternity leave.

Ivanka: I went to work the day after my kids were born.

Kushner: And a brave modern woman you were! Not every new mother would bravely turn her baby over to a nanny and go back to copying shoe designs from Aquazzura the very next day! OK, Munchkin?

Mnuchin: That’s Mnuchin, I keep telling you! When you call me a dwarf, you undermine the faith and credit of the United States.

Trump: The United States has tremendous faith and credit! I won a landslide victory. Look at this new map. See all this red! Measured in acres, I won 95 percent of the vote! Tremendous!

Chorus: Tremendous!

Kushner: EPA?

Pruitt: Deregulation is having fantastic results – by cutting water quality standards, we'll soon have Flint’s drinking water within acceptable limits without any further action.

Kushner: Well, Carson is off looking for possible pyramid sites, and Perry is practicing finding his ass with both hands (it’s a test suggested by fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson). So that just leaves Tillerson.

Trump: Who?

Kushner: State. You know . . . the Exxon guy.

Trump: Oh, I told him not to bother me.

Kushner: Well, I guess that wraps up my first hundred days. A tremendous success!

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Chorus: Tremendous! Tremendous!

Trump: How come he gets two “Tremendouses”? I only got one.

Read All Dan's Daily Letters to President Trump Here

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Dear Mr President,

Here’s a transcript of a conversation secretly recorded deep in the People’s Royal Palace in Pyongyang. Would you care to comment?

Kim Jong Un: All right, let’s get started. Where’s Kim Jong Dooce? If that slacker comes in late again, I’m going to have him poisoned.

Mi Kee Boi: You already did that, sir. In Malaysia? Remember?

Kim Jong Un: I didn’t do that. I just heard about it. Well, what about Kim Jong Tre?

Mi Kee Boi: Went to LA last week, sir. To spy on latest fashions for Ie Vah Nka. She says there’s a handbag gap.

Kim Jong Un: Jeez, why did I cut all my relatives in on the deal? OK, OK, what’s on the agenda? I haven’t got all day. I have a golf date with Mike Flynn. I’m thinking of hiring him as a secret agent.

Sun Lah Jar: We’re trying to assess Trump’s sanity, sir. General Sah Pu Kee is here with the latest intelligence analysis.

Sah Pu Kee: Sir, opinions are divided. General Kay Lee An of the Psychological Directorate says he’s “bug-nuts”. That’s a technical term. But General Stee Ban Un of the Political Directorate says it’s a ploy, designed to make us think he’s unpredictable. For example, he’s been displaying a flag with only 39 stars on his website. It might be to scare the states that didn’t vote for him into thinking that he’ll kick them out. Or maybe he just doesn’t know.

Kim Jong Un: That’s definitely nuts. Everybody knows there are 50 states.

Spu Kee Wun: Yes, every North Korean fourth-grader knows that. But there are lots of things Trump doesn’t know – he thinks he can enact legislation by himself!

Kim Jong Un: What?! Without a majority of both houses, and 60 votes in the senate for bills that would increase the deficit?!

Shan Spi Suh: Wow! That’s news to me.

Kim Jong Un: You can say that again.

Shan Spi Suh: Wow! That’s . . .

Kim Jong Un: Silence, you fool!

Sun Lah Jar: He’s definitely unpredictable, which makes it hard to avoid conflict, so let’s put more troops down on the border, while we try to get Xi Jinping to lean on him. He was able to explain Chinese history in 10 minutes, so maybe he can get him to the bargaining table.

Kim Jong Un: Right. But in the meantime let’s keep an eye on California real estate, just in case the 39-star flag means something.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Dear Mr President,

I have, as usual, a few suggestions – this morning for holding onto that third of America who doesn’t already think you’re bug-nuts. No sense worrying about the two thirds who think you are. They are mostly paid supporters of Bernie Sanders and known liberal terrorist hoaxers, who believe that the photographs of the shrunken ice-caps are real, that treating local heroin addicts may keep them from burglarizing houses in the neighborhood, and that the produce in Representative Devin Nunes’s California district will not get picked without people who don’t have green cards. Hoaxers, as I say. They are encouraged by the 41,000 mental health professionals who have signed their names to the Duty to Warn petition labeling you too “severely mentally ill” to perform your duties – let alone the duties of a police officer, a nurse’s assistant, a long-haul truck driver, or a kindergarten teacher. But what do they know? So let’s concentrate on holding on to the faithful:

  • Keep your grip on the evangelicals – not the narrowly moral ones whom you lost with the pussy-grabbing and Miss Teen America dressing room stuff – but all those others who can rise above trivial instances of individual sexual assault to cheerfully contemplate the massive sexual assault on all women that they are certain Justice Gorsuch will enable the Supreme Court to commit. You have already secured them by proposing Gorsuch. Just keep them in line with meaningless blather about “tremendous blessings of this land, our home.”
  • Keep bombing places. The places are not as important as the bombs. And unmanned is much better than manned.
  • Keep your programs verbal: issuing executive orders cost nothing as long as the orders are to plan, study, identify, propose or (better) begin planning, studying, identifying, or proposing. Proposing is best of all because it shifts the burden over to Congress, where you can be pretty sure nothing will be done. Then Congress can be added to your list of bad guys.
  • Keep mentioning healthcare, tax reform, Muslim bans, and the Wall – but don’t try to do any of it. The first three are too complicated to engage without a drawn-out period of thinking and negotiating (not your strengths), and the Wall is much more useful as an idea than as a structure.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Dear Mr President,

I’ve just been rereading your “1600" statement for Monday. It is remarkable for its depth of thought and its unprecedented degree of detail:

“In his first 100 days, President Donald J. Trump has taken bold action to restore prosperity, keep Americans safe and secure, and hold government accountable. At an historic pace, this President has enacted more legislation and signed more executive orders than any other president in over a half century. With a focus on rebuilding the military, ending illegal immigration, and restoring confidence in our economy, the President is keeping his promises to the American people.”

But I have a couple of observations.

– Presidents don’t “enact legislation”. This phrase contains two difficult words (“enact” and “legislation”) that you might want to ask someone to explain – maybe Reince, if you haven’t fired him. In 8th-grade social studies, we spent a couple of weeks on “How a bill becomes law” which covered this is a simple way. I’ll look around for my old study guide. But essentially the “enact” part requires the involvement of Congress, sometimes even compromise. Bummer. The other word, “legislation”, means a law – not an executive order or a “promise to the American people” or any of that I-want-to-have-my-way-or-else-I-will-pout stuff. I may have missed something, but I don’t think any significant legislation has been enacted.

– By the way, during the Obama administration, executive orders were proof of a dictatorship.

– Am I right that your promise to “hold government accountable” means other parts of the government, not your part? I get it that you’re keeping the EPA from spreading lies about climate change (though out here in New Mexico, the summers keep getting hotter and the water table lower), but what about the “Emoluments Clause” in the Constitution? That’s the part that says you can’t get foreign governments (or their oligarch buddies) to give you money. If you want to be precise (not your thing, I know), it’s Cause 8, of Section 9, or Article 1 of the, you know, Constitution. I think you can find a copy on line.


Dan Embree