[What follows is a transcript of President Donald Trump speaking into the Oval Office recording device originally used by President Richard Nixon. This series of recordings encompasses the president’s communication to his inner circle.]
To: The Trump Circle of Trust (TCT)
cc: National Security Advisor H. R. McMasters,
Secretary of Defense Mad Dog Mattis
[Sound of fingers drumming on the desk]
[Sound of heavy sighing]
You know, people, I don’t ask for much out of you. Just some loyalty. That’s all. You don’t have to be qualified for the job you’re in. You don’t have to follow the rules and traditions set down by previous administrations. You don’t even have to like the department you’re in charge of running.
You just have to have my back. And right now, my back is so full of knife wounds, that I’m going to have to get on the phone to Mexico to have another set of Trump suits flown first class to Mar-a-Lago. Do you know how much that’s going to cost the American taxpayer? I don’t.
I mean how the hell do we lose an entire armada? I’ve been on one of those aircraft carriers during the campaign. It was huge! So many people loved it when I stood on the deck of that big boat and talked about how the military was a disaster.
When the president speaks. It has to be the truth, even when it isn’t. Understand? My credibility and the credibility of the country depends on you people getting that through your thick skulls. Nunes gets it.
So what happened? I asked Sheila in the Steno pool to look it up for me.
She says just over a week ago, someone at Defense talked to the Clinton News Network saying we were sending one of those big beautiful boats to North Korea because what’shisname was getting too big for his britches. Sounds good to me. I don’t remember making that decision, but like I told the press after we dropped that huge bomb on . . . uh . . was it Pakistan? No, that doesn’t sound right. Afghanistan! Jeeze, I need flash cards or something.
Anyway, like I told the press, my military is fully authorized. I’ve given them total authorization. So if someone decided to take one of those big beautiful boats to Korea, then I say pick me up some barbecue on the way back after you’ve shown that inscrutable little bastard what American might is all about.
They loved it in South Korea! You should have seen that guy on CNN talking about how grave the situation was and how this armada was going to show what’shishead that he needs to sit down because he’s not messing with some squishy Democrats anymore.
South Korea was excited. North Korea was furious. The media was sporting big war boners, talking about how my decision to divert that boat to Korea signaled a new strategy in dealing with that guy. Everything was coming up Trump! And I don’t even remember making that decision! That’s just how great I am at this job.
Mad Dog! You went on TV and said the order to send the . . . damn it what’s the name of that boat? [sound of papers shuffling] It’s a guy’s name, something like Vinnie? The USS Vinnie Barbarino? [more papers shuffling] Here it is. The USS Carl Vinson (See? I knew it was Vinnie something). You said it was “on her way up there because that’s where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time.” Do you remember me giving the order?
McMaster! You went on Fox a week ago and they asked about why I gave the order. You said, “Well, it’s prudent to do isn’t it?”
Sean! When the dishonest reporters asked you about it, you said “The forward deployment is deterrence, presence. It’s prudent.” Where did you guys get that word? Did I use it when I gave the order to send the Barbarino to Korea? It doesn’t sound like me. But it sure sounds like you guys got together and got your stories straight, which makes for a nice change of pace around here, believe me.
After all that, I felt pretty confident going on Fox Business News and telling them, “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.” See? Commander-in-Chief! Large and in charge! Flexing some military muscles. It was beautiful.
But now I hear that the damn boat wasn’t even going to Korea at all? The commander of the Barbarino was tweeting selfies in Singapore?
— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) April 12, 2017
Did I give the order or didn’t I?
Well, I’m giving it now. I want the USS Vinnie Barbarino headed to North Korea now! Sean, you go back out there and tell them that was the plan all along. Blame it on a miscommunication or something. But emphasize that I definitely didn’t lose a damn aircraft carrier.
Will someone please make me some flash cards so I can remember the name of the leader of North Korea? Would that be “prudent?” The press is getting wise to my trick of just calling him “this gentleman.” It turns out, there’s been three of them? Really? And no one thought to mention it?
You’re just making your own jobs harder. I mean how are you ever going to be able to convince everyone that Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un are the same person? I suppose you can play up the craftiness angle. Or maybe you could mention how they all look alike? Whatever you do, make it quick. Chop chop!
Look, I’ve been rough on you guys. But that’s me. I’m a rough guy. Tough as they come — a steely-eyed, hard-nosed, take-no-crap negotiator. But let’s end on a positive note. The Easter Egg Roll was a huge success. I want to thank everyone for hurrying back to Washington last Monday and finding all the eggs I hid when I thought it was supposed to be an Easter egg hunt. Also, I appreciate Steve Bannon dressing up as the Easter Bunny this year.
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) April 17, 2017
I don’t know who leaked that it was him, but I’m looking at you, Kelly Ann.
Sure, there were some hiccups, I threw a kid’s autographed Trump hat into the crowd instead of giving it back to him and had to be reminded by an immigrant to put my hand over my heart during the National Anthem. But at least the kids got to meet Jeff Sessions, am I right?
Oh, Jerrod? Send Bill O’Reilly a falafel basket and ask him if he wants Sean Spicer’s job. And send Alex Jones a chili basket and ask him to forget my number. I can’t take any more late night calls blubbering about his kids being turned gay by juice boxes.
[Sound of microphone dropping]