Father and son

A touching encounter

Public domain.

[The Oval Office. TRUMP is, for once, standing in front of his desk. He has what looks like powdered sugar on his nose, cheeks, and chin. White House Chief of Staff MICK MULVANEY stands a little off to one side, with this look on his face.]

TRUMP: I bet you think this is a bad idea.

MULVANEY: [After a beat, blandly] What? Oh, no, sir, it’s a brilliant idea. I really can’t wait to see it in action.

[MELANIA TRUMP comes into the room. She does not smile and stops several feet from TRUMP.]

MELANIA: Knuck knuck.

TRUMP: [Holds his hands out in a “what’s this?” gesture] Where is he?

MELANIA: The cook iss giving him a swit.

TRUMP: A swit? You mean like Loretta Swit?


MELANIA: She dutts on him.

TRUMP: What the hell?


TRUMP: [To MULVANEY] You shut up. [To MELANIA] I don’t have time for this shit. Get the kid in here.

MELANIA: Budt Dunnald —


[MELANIA flees. Pause.]

MULVANEY: Wipe your nose, sir.

TRUMP: [Surly] What for?

MULVANEY: [Faintly] No reason.

[BARRON TRUMP enters, dressed like a prep school kid — polo shirt, very nice dark suit jacket, boat pants, moccasins. He looks like he couldn’t give a shit. Like his mother, he stops well short of TRUMP.]

TRUMP: There he is. Hey kid, how you doin’?

BARRON: [Mumbles.]

TRUMP: Oh yeah? [Quietly, to MULVANEY] What’d he say?

[MULVANEY shrugs.]

[To BARRON, gesturing] Come over here, gotta ask you for something.

[BARRON comes a little closer.]

What are you, scared of me? C’mere.

[BARRON walks up to TRUMP, looks him in the face.]

How old are you now?

BARRON: Thirteen.

TRUMP: Yeah? How you doing in school?

BARRON: [A light laugh] School?

TRUMP: OK, let’s cut to the chase. You know that bitch in Congress, she said some things about you today, right?


TRUMP: Aren’t you mad about it?

BARRON: Why should I be?

TRUMP: Why? Didn’t you hear what she said?

[MELANIA has crept in at the door, near which she hangs.]


TRUMP: What’s the matter with you? She disrespected you! You can’t let anyone get away with that! Especially a woman!

BARRON: [Shrugs]

TRUMP: Listen. We’re gonna put you on TV. And you’re gonna say how bad this lady hurt you, and how much she hurt your mother and father and how you’ll never get over it. Don’t worry, I got Miller working on a script, he’s good at this stuff. And, I would consider it a personal favor to me if you’d cry. Not bawling, just a few tears. They got tricks you can do, like you yawn and think about sad shit.

[TRUMP dips his hand in his jacket pocket.]

And if that doesn’t work you do this — look at me —

[TRUMP turns away, puts his hands to his face, turns around — some kind of liquid trickles from his eye down through the white powder on his cheek.]

See? Instant tears.

BARRON: [Disgusted] What’s on your face?

TRUMP: It’s a tear! Well, it’s Murine, but it looks like a tear.

BARRON: No, the white stuff.

[TRUMP rubs his face, looks at his fingers, sniffs them, then snorts them, then wipes and snorts some more, then sticks his hand in his mouth and sucks, then runs his tongue along his upper gums, then seems to notice BARRON.]

TRUMP: It’s moisturizer. Okay, you’re staying here tonight, we’re gonna work —

BARRON: No I’m not.

TRUMP: What’d you say?

BARRON: I said no.

TRUMP: Tough shit, you’re staying.


TRUMP: Hey, you talking back to me?

BARRON: Yeah, what are you gonna do about it?

[TRUMP freezes, wide-eyed.]

What are you gonna do? Cut my allowance? Take me out of your will? Hit me? Go ahead. I’ll go on CNN the next day and tell everybody. I’ll even add some details. And when I do? I’ll remember that crying trick you taught me.

TRUMP: Why you little —

[TRUMP lays hands on BARRON, but MELANIA almost literally flies across the room and tears TRUMP off him. For a few seconds her hands are a blur, as is TRUMP's head. Suddenly she grabs BARRON and flees again. TRUMP topples across the desk. A few SECRET SERVICE AGENTS run in.]

MULVANEY: It’s okay, fellas, we were just having a little fun.

[The AGENTS leave. TRUMP straightens up. He looks like Beetle Bailey after Sarge beats him up. MULVANEY reaches into his jacket pocket, takes out a handkerchief, and hands it to TRUMP, who starts wiping his face.]

MULVANEY: Maybe we can try it with Tiffany dressed up like a boy.