You may have heard of, may even have read, my anonymous op-ed piece in the September 5, 2018 New York Times, chronicling the efforts that I, with other colleagues in the White House, have made to rein in President Trump’s hasty, erratic policy-making tendencies.
In the piece, I made clear my support for the objectives and accomplishments of his administration and, above all, my dedication to the best interests of America, which the President’s behavior puts at risk.
Some have accused me of engineering a virtual coup d’etat that violates Constitutional principles, thwarts the will of the American electorate, threatens an even deeper split in our already-divided country, and leaves us vulnerable to outsider meddling.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and, to prove that I meant no harm, and that, indeed, no serious harm could possibly come from my accusations, I feel I must provide specifics:
Pajamas: Tradition says that the President’s pajamas are replaced daily, and the pants carefully starched and ironed, with a crease front-and-back. The reasoning is simple: should a crisis develop, requiring the President to meet immediately with staff, and no time to get dressed, he must at least be able to present himself with whatever dignity he can muster. The President objects, but we have found a way around with a pattern that camouflages the crease (at least initially, in subdued bedroom light) and a less obtrusive starch. So far, he hasn’t noticed. (To lighten the burden of so heavy a decision, we called our operation A Starch in Time, or Meet the Press.)
The Oval Office Chair: President Trump’s preference for a full-reclining, heated, massage-giving swivel-chair, with footrest, poses serious problems: the President is subject to sudden and severe swings of mood and behavior; a quick twist of the chair could propel him, centrifugally (and dangerously), into a drawer-knob or onto the floor; he might, just as suddenly, decide he needs a rest, and nod off for an inappropriately long nap. Unknown to him, we have retrofitted his chair with an airbag that deploys if his rotation speed exceeds a prescribed limit, and an alarm clock (under our control) to wake him if he dozes off.
Cabinet Meetings: There has long been a strict precedent for what official sits where. The President, who is sensitive to his size and appearance, often demands that, in order to avoid his standing out so prominently, the largest and most hirsute cabinet members sit closest to him. At other times, his keen aesthetic sense inclines him to reseat participants according to the color of their clothing or hair. You can imagine the disruption! We have solved this by randomly moving the President’s seat, in advance, and recreating the traditional seating pattern from there. This so disorients the President when he enters the room that he simply forgets to redo the seating pattern and the meeting can proceed as efficiently as his leadership style allows.
The Formal Dining Room: Place-settings are ruled by time-honored principles. However, the President, who is right-handed, and does not like left-handers, insists that place settings should all be to the right of the plate, arranged from right-to-left according to the sequence of use. The result is that guests with short arms often cannot reach their napkin or their fork and either have to stand up, lean, and reach, or ask their right-side neighbor to pass the item. Some guests have taken to eating the entire meal with their dessert spoon. We have found no easy solution beyond buffet-style, which does not sit well with dignitaries, especially when the President, as in Cabinet meetings, tries to rearrange them by their size, or the color of their clothing or hair.
These past few days have not been easy, but I do not regret having spoken out, nor providing this clarification. I know that, now, I will be identified quickly and fired summarily. With my country’s honor and integrity at stake, I have no regrets. And I have no illusions about my future. My resumé is updated and I’m anticipating a call from a five-star restaurant here in town. It’s not the White House, but, at least there, the management is predictable, things are executed as planned, and decorum prevails.