PENSACOLA, Fla. — As federal authorities worked on Saturday to piece together clues to last week’s attack at a Florida military training base, new details emerged about the gunman, a Saudi trainee who had apparently shown videos of mass shootings at a dinner party the night before…
President Trump said before flying to South Florida on Saturday evening that the government would immediately look into “the whole procedure” of accepting foreign military trainees. King Salman of Saudi Arabia, he added, “will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones” of those killed and injured in the attack.
“I think they’re going to help out the families very greatly,” Mr. Trump said. — New York Times
[The Oval Office. TRUMP sits at the Resolute Desk. Senior advisor for policy STEPHEN MILLER stands with his arms folded. A young SHEIK dressed in Saudi thobes sits near TRUMP in a comfortable chair that is not usually in the Oval. He is serene. White House Chief of Staff MICK MULVANEY enters.]
MULVANEY: Okay, here he is.
[MULVANEY sits on a sofa. SAMEH HAITHAM, a slightly built man of Middle Eastern extraction, about 45, wearing a light-colored suit, comes in. TRUMP does not get up.]
TRUMP: Mr. Haitham, come on in. Take a seat.
[HAITHAM does so, in a straight-back chair near TRUMP, silently turning his attention between TRUMP and the SHEIK. MILLER stares at him.]
Listen, terrible tragedy, just terrible what happens and we’re all sorry for your loss. I know we can’t replace your son, but we have an emissary here from the King of Saudi Arabia [Points to SHEIK]. This man is also very sorry for your loss, isn’t that right, your — what do we call you, excellency? I forget.
SHEIK: Muhammad Ibn Abdullah ibn Abdullah Al-Saud.
TRUMP: OK, that’s kinda tricky. Can you just call you — Sir, I guess, or —
SHEIK: Muhammed is fine.
TRUMP: [To HAITHAM] Oh, Muhammed, like your son. Isn’t that a coincidence. Anyway, Muhammed feels especially bad, and so does the King, because this, this person who did this thing was unfortunately from his country and he wants to give you something as a token to show how bad he feels, isn’t that right?
SHEIK: My people are willing to give you one million dollars U.S.
TRUMP: That’s tax free, by the way. See, we’re not going through the bureaucrats. They probably wouldn’t even allow us to do this.
HAITHAM: Please. One million dollars for what?
TRUMP: [Shrugs] Pain and suffering, I guess. Restitution. I don’t know the legal term, I have lawyers for that kind of thing, Jews, you know.
HAITHAM: And what do you want me to do for this money?
TRUMP: See, that’s the beauty part: You don’t have to do anything. Normally you’d have to go to court, get lawyers involved, go on the witness stand, it can go on for years, it’s a pain in the ass, believe me, I know. But this way you get the money without any of that hassle. The guy just hands it to you. You fill out some papers, of course. NDA, receipt, the usual. It’s over like a shot.
HAITHAM: And this is justice? You think this is justice?
TRUMP: You want more? We can go to two million. [To SHEIK] Isn’t that right?
[HAITHAM gets up.]
HAITHAM: I thought you would talk to me as a man who has sons of his own. Not to offer money like…
[HAITHAM shakes his head and heads for the door. MILLER runs to get in his face.]
MILLER: Are you threatening the President? Hmm? Are you making threats? What country are you from? What country? We’re going to send you back, what country —
[HAITHAM punches MILLER in the mouth. MILLER falls to the floor and curls up into a ball. HAITHAM slowly walks out. Pause. MULVANEY starts laughing. So does the SHEIK. Even TRUMP takes on that grimace that serves him for a smile. MILLER looks around, gets up.]
TRUMP: Guess he showed you!
MULVANEY: Why didn’t you hit him back, Mr. Master Race.
[MILLER looks like he wants to say something to MULVANEY, but as the laughter redoubles he starts laughing too, exposing blood-stained teeth.]
MILLER: Ha ha, notice I’m laughing!
TRUMP: Well, it’s no joke if he talks to the press.
[EVERYONE quiets down.]
Like that two we tried to pay off last summer. Remember that?
MULVANEY: Harry Dunn’s parents?
TRUMP: English kid, got run over.
MULVANEY: We didn’t offer them money, sir, just… tried to get them to hug his killer.
TRUMP: Yeah, that was a bust.
MULVANEY: Well, don’t worry, sir. Haitham doesn’t look like the type.
TRUMP: You can never tell with these Arabs. They could come back and cut your throat. [To the SHEIK] No offense, your excellency! I say that about everybody, the Puerto Ricans, the dagos. Well, it’s true.
[The SHEIK gets up.]
SHEIK: So that’s it, then.
MULVANEY: The other families didn’t even take our calls so, yeah.
[TRUMP gets to his feet, runs to the SHEIK, grabs his hand.]
TRUMP: You did me a big favor here, your highness. I won’t forget it.
[TRUMP kisses his ring. The SHEIK heads for the door. TRUMP calls after him:]
Give my best to our friend. I’ll send Jared to take care of business.
[The SHEIK wordlessly leaves.]
Was I supposed to kiss his ring?
MULVANEY: [Slowly] No, Mr. President.
TRUMP: I can never keep it straight. [Checks his watch] OK, well, what is it, one oh five, good, still time for my prostitute. You guys take it easy.
[TRUMP leaves. MILLER picks up some folders from a coffee table. MULVANEY passes behind him; suddenly MILLER falls onto the coffee table. He stands up quickly, stares at MULVANEY, who has crossed to the Resolute Desk and is taking up papers from it.]
MULVANEY: [Quietly] Oops. Sorry.
[MULVANEY turns, leans his butt on the Resolute Desk, and thumbs through TRUMP’s papers. MILLER takes a step toward him; MULVANEY looks up; MILLER freezes. MULVANEY reaches into his pocket and throws MILLER a handkerchief.]
Better wipe that blood off, Steve. Makes you look weak.
[MILLER puts the handkerchief to his mouth and leaves. MULVANEY goes back to TRUMP’s papers. CURTAIN.]