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Dear Mr. President,

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I have an idea for simultaneously eliminating your two big problems: Puerto Rico and Mike Pence.

Your problem with Puerto Rico is that besides being an island (who knew?), it’s ungovernable – even in the best of times, because , hey! look who lives there, just the people who haven’t moved to the Bronx yet – and right now it’s a total mess because of poor leadership skills and people drinking out of creeks and sitting around whining about their houses not having roofs.

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Your problem with Mike Pence is that he’s not Donald Trump – he’s calmer than Calvin Coolidge, blander than Gerald Ford, more pious than Jimmy Carter, and shorter than you – and, OK, I know that’s why you chose him, so he could play Tonto to your Lone Ranger, Robin to your Batman, Pat Nixon to your Dick, just standing respectfully beside (and slightly behind) you, smiling that smile that means “OK, whatever you say, Boss” – the guy who, far from seeing women as prey, sees them as temptation, the politician nobody outside Indiana ever heard of until you told him to get on the plane, and most of America still hasn’t. The reason that’s a problem is that calm and bland is starting to look good to the people who have heard of him – and most of them are in Congress. Do I have to say the I-word?

Instead of going to Puerto Rico next week, explain that you’re too busy preparing for the invasion of Venezuela or the elimination of all forms of life on the Korean Peninsula – and instead of going yourself, send Pence.

So solve your two problems by jamming them together. Instead of going to Puerto Rico next week, explain that you’re too busy preparing for the invasion of Venezuela or the elimination of all forms of life on the Korean Peninsula – and instead of going yourself, send Pence. Call him an ambassador plenipotentiary – look it up, medieval popes used to tag some schlump with it and send him off to clean up some backwater, like England, whatever happened was his fault. And order him to stay there until PR is orderly and prosperous.

Of course, he won’t be able to do it. Seriously, the guy who thinks Chinese take-out is a walk on the wild side eating mofongo with sofrito sauce? Let alone drinking out of a creek? He’ll never leave the latrine. And solving problems? Pence is the 12-year congressman who never got a bill passed.

Those streetwise Ricans will eat him up, the place will be a state with two senators or an independent country within the month – it will be Westside Story without Maria. And speaking of that, order him to leave his wife at home – that way he’ll refuse to go to meetings with the San Juan Mayor, who is . . . a woman!

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Dan Embree