Pitching the President

Presentation is everything

photo (c) 2018 Greg Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license.

[The Oval Office. TRUMP is at his desk; BEN SHAPIRO is standing in front of the desk, facing him; Chief of Staff JOHN KELLY sits in a straight back chair, legs crossed, reading the Wall Street Journal.]

TRUMP: Okay, kid. Let's see what you got.

BEN SHAPIRO: OK well first of all, sir, you know I graduated from Harvard Law right. I mean you said yourself you went to a good school and that proved you were smart, well Harvard Law's right up there, of course Wharton is totally great, I would never say anything against Wharton. In fact in some ways it's better than Harvard which has a totally communist faculty. What I mean is you and I are both educated men but at the same time we're men of the people. Not that I'm saying I'm more of a man of the people than you. You're the man of the people. You like wrestling, you love football, you like to swear and yell and beat people up, and that's all great. Personally I work my aggressions off in CrossFit and owning the libs, and that's something else you'll appreciate, I don't just do legal stuff, I really love to go right into the lion's den and totally own the libs. When I went to Berkeley I totally —

TRUMP: [holding up hand] OK, stop for a second. This speed-talking thing, you get that from the guy on the FedEx commercials? He talked really fast, but the way he did it was almost musical. You just sound weird, like your mouth has to go take a piss or something. You remember those commercials, Ben? They were very popular.

SHAPIRO: Mr. President, I'm totally sorry I don't know those commercials but I'll find them and I'll study up. And I totally mean no offense, but this speed you talk about, this energy, this drive, this is the hallmark of the millennial generation, not that I like millennials, I despise them, but I'm a millennial at least technically and —

TRUMP: [holding up hand] Ben —

TRUMP: — what I do is I channel that energy into market solutions and Second Amendment —

TRUMP: [To KELLY] This kid's not listening. [SHAPIRO stops. To SHAPIRO] Listen, Ben, this is your president speaking. When I raise my hand, you stop talking. Okay, we're gonna do a little drill. Now you go back to whatever it was you were talking about.

SHAPIRO: [Faster than before] Okay with the new social consensus around controversial social issues like same-sex marriage, which has essentially been taken off the table by the Supreme Court, there’s no reason young Republicans can’t make serious --

[TRUMP holds up his hand; SHAPIRO stops.]

TRUMP: Now was that so hard? Listen, what you were saying before about the lion's den, were you ever in the Barnum and Bailey Circus? You look like a guy I saw did an animal act there; maybe it's just your hair. You're about his age — you're what, fifty, fifty-one? You're much smaller than he was, but I figured maybe that was osteoporosis.

[RUDY GIULIANI barges into the room.]

TRUMP: Whoap, look who it is.

GIULIANI: [Shaking hands all around] How are you, Mr. President, hiya Kelly! Hey, Ben Shapiro, saw you on TV, how are you? [To TRUMP] You about done here, sir? Because the longer we wait, the more Hillary emails go flying off into the sunset.

TRUMP: Ben was just leaving. Alright, kid, great to talk to you. There's a guy coming in here in fifteen seconds looks like Bronko Nagurski. You're a millennial so maybe you don't know, but that means he's very big and likes to hurt people who stick around too long.

SHAPIRO: Mr. President it's been an honor, and I just want to mention —

[TRUMP holds up his hand; SHAPIRO falls silent, sprints to the door.]

GIULIANI: [Laughing] Kids today, huh, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Listen, Rudy, don't get comfortable, there's been a change in plans.

GIULIANI: [Serious] Whattaya mean?

TRUMP: I mean we're gonna let this thing ride a little while. There's no rush.

GIULIANI: [Angry but trying to hold it in] So you're gonna screw me again.

TRUMP: What, are you kidding? Come on. Listen, have I ever treated you like an asshole?

GIULIANI: Two years ago, two years almost to the day, I came in here expecting this job and you said the same thing.

TRUMP: Hey, if I thought you were an asshole I would have had you do a whole song and dance like that midget we just had in here. When the time comes — that's what I always said, right? Take it easy. You been, uh, using the facilities? They taking care of you?

GIULIANI: Dammit, Don — Mr. President — the girls and the rubdowns are great, but I want a legacy. People don't even remember 9/11 anymore. I'm just that guy who goes on the Sunday shows and makes an ass of himself for you. I need this.

TRUMP: The Chef at Bedminster has a special treat for you. Give him a look-see. Always great talking to you, Rudy. [To KELLY, who has folded up his paper and is already getting up from his chair] John, you wanna take Rudy to the humidor, show him those new cigars we talked about? You'll love these, Rudy. Made by actual slaves.

[KELLY escorts a glum GIULIANI to the door. Suddenly GIULIANI stops and turns.]

GIULIANI: [to TRUMP] Not much longer, Donald. Okay? Not much longer.

TRUMP: [looking at his phone] You worry too much. It’s bad for the health.


TRUMP: [After a moment, while looking at phone] Okay, you can come down now.

[LINDSAY GRAHAM falls from the ceiling and lands in a heap in front of TRUMP's desk. With some difficulty and groans he gets up.]

GRAHAM: God! O my God! Wow! How long was I up there?

[TRUMP, still focused on his phone, doesn't answer.]

GRAHAM: Twenty minutes? A half hour? God. There were a few times I thought I'd lose my grip, or pass out, at least have to yell. [Look at hands] Look, my nails are all bloody. I think I might have to see a doctor. You, you have a doctor around here? Because —

TRUMP: Have a seat, Lindsay.

GRAHAM: Oh. Oh, why, sure.

[GRAHAM sits in KELLY's chair.]

TRUMP: Listen, before we do this thing, I want you to go on the shows this Sunday.

GRAHAM: And drop a hint about Rudy and the hookers?

TRUMP: [Looks up from his phone, grins] Now that's what I call Attorney General material.