Yesterday, I received an encrypted IM from Gretchen about scheduling a new appointment:
Some guy named Mark Meadows called. Claimed he works at the White House. Sounded like a complete backwoods hick with a deep-fried redneck accent that would embarrass Larry the Cable Guy. It appears he’s what happens when southerners marry their cousins for a few generations – he can barely put together a nine word sentence without sounding like a total mouth-breathing moron, and he’s such an ignoramus he thinks Obama was born in Kenya and that the Earth is six thousand years old. I know that because his favorite subject is himself and he talked to me about it nonstop for twenty-seven minutes, during which he told me he got our business number from Rand Paul and wants a free consultation. While he was regaling me with his life story and tales of his adventures in the conservative movement, I Googled him and found out that he really does work at the White House – he’s the new Chief of Staff. Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel, I saw a photograph – saw one of his wife, too. They look like hillbilly characters out of that old movie Deliverance. The Egyptian cultural attache just sent an email asking to reschedule her 4:00 PM appointment for next week due to a conflict with an emergency meeting about a US archaeological research request to perform neutron activation analysis of some Third Dynasty statuary and tomb artifacts discovered last year. Want to talk to this jugheaded, bucktoothed hayseed bozo instead?
Of course I did. And at 4:02, the land line in my home office in Great Falls, Virginia rang. It was him.
Meadows: Hello, Tom Collins?
Tom: This is he. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, I presume?
Meadows: Yep, that’s me.
Tom: And how may I assist the Trump administration this afternoon?
Meadows: Well, uh, not the administration; not exactly; ah… not directly, that is. I’m sorta callin’ on my own here – it’s not like you can bill the EOP nur nothin’.
Tom: Understood. My private secretary explained the situation when notifying me of your request for a consultation. Free initial consultations are part of my marketing plan, so there will be no invoice for this one.
Meadows: That’s good, ’cause this is advice for me on what I should tell President Trump about stuff. That way, I figure it’ll make me look smart, instead of me tellin’ him you said so-and-so.
Tom: Ah… right. Good thinking. What’s on your mind?
Meadows: Well, for starters, President Trump is real worried about losin’ the election in November and all, mostly. That’s what he talks about mostly – the polls and things like that.
Tom: That’s interesting, because I thought he didn’t care about polls. Doesn’t he think they’re fake?
Meadows: That’s what he says, but I don’t really think he believes it, personally and all. I think he just says they’re fake because it makes him feel better. He just can’t stop talkin’ about how all the polls were wrong about him back in 2016 and how that means they’re all wrong now.
Tom: Wrong, not fake?
Meadows: In public he says “fake,” but around the White House he mostly says “wrong;” well, he don’t exactly say that word, you know, he says other ones that mean pretty much the same thing, only they’re not words you’d use in church, if you take my drift.
Tom: Sure. I can imagine he’s rather upset, what with Joe Biden leading him by double digits while not even leaving his house.
Meadows: Yeah, well, that’s why President Trump wants to get out on the campaign trail and have some of those big rallies, like that one tomorrow in Tulsa.
Tom: But he has to contend with the coronavirus pandemic.
Meadows: You hit the nail right on the head there. He says we gotta open up the country as soon as possible so the Democrats don’t get an unfair advantage by not havin’ him out there in front of the crowds.
Tom: Which, I suppose, explains why he was so desperate for a photo opportunity that he sent troops and armed police out to clear the street with pepper spray, rubber bullets, flash grenades and truncheons so he could be seen on television holding up a Bible in front of a church.
Meadows: Well now, hold on a minute there. He was just showin’ everybody what a good Christian he is, that’s all. He’s got to remind people about why they voted for him, ya know.
Tom: But he’s much more likely to be found playing golf on Sundays than in church, isn’t he?
Meadows: That don’t matter as long as he appoints judges with Christian values, you see. ‘Cause that’s what good Christians want – judges who respect the right to life and support the death penalty, and that’s what President Trump gives them.
Tom: So forcing women to have babies and executing people for committing crimes are Christian values?
Meadows: Of course they are! You think Jesus would want Americans to kill unborn babies and let criminals live in prison ’til they’re ninety-nine years old with three meals a day and cable TV on the taxpayers’ dime?
Tom: Well, I don’t recall the New Testament recording Jesus saying anything one way or the other about women having a choice about terminating their pregnancies, but as for the death penalty, what I do remember is Him saying that those without sin should throw the first stone.
Meadows: Well, I don’t know about you, Mr. Collins, but every good Christian American knows exactly what Jesus thinks, or they ain’t American nur Christian neither, and there’s too many like that in this country, and that there is the biggest thing that’s keeping America from bein’ great again!
Tom: And you’re a good Christian American and you know exactly what Jesus thinks?
Meadows: I sure do!
Tom: Okay then, tell me, what does Jesus think about lying?
Meadows: What do you think he thinks? He thinks people should tell the truth, that’s what!
Tom: But you lied.
Meadows: I lied?
Tom: Yeah, you lied, big time. You told the US House of Representatives Office of the Historian that you graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree when, in fact, you only have an Associates degree from that institution, did you not?
Tom: And that lie was recorded as part of your official biography as member of the US House of Representatives. Is that not a fact, sir?
Meadows: Yeah, but it wasn’t like that.
Tom: How was it, then?
Meadows: It wasn’t a lie, see, it was, I donno… like braggin’ kinda, that’s all. I didn’t mean no harm by it. And besides, I told Jesus about it and He forgave me.
Tom: Oh, well, that explains everything, doesn’t it?
Meadows: Yeah, now that you mention it, I kinda figure it does.
Tom: So I guess that means you figure as long as Donald Trump tells Jesus about the nineteen thousand seven hundred and forty-eight independently authenticated lies he has told the American public since he became president of the United States, Jesus will forgive him?
Meadows: I… hey, wait a second there! I think you’re on to something! You figure if I tell President Trump about how I told a lie about my college degree and let Jesus know I was sorry and how Jesus forgave me, President Trump would see how smart I was to do that?
Tom: Given what is obvious to anyone who has objectively observed Donald Trump’s intelligence and reasoning processes for the last couple of decades, it’s dollars to doughnuts he will conclude you are some kind of theological genius.
Meadows: Really? Hot diggity dog! I believe I’m beginnin’ to see why people pay so much money for your advice!
Tom: That’s good. So – what kind of advice would you like to have regarding your new position as White House Chief of Staff?
Meadows: Uh… okay… um… well, goin’ back to that thing we was talkin’ about, where President Trump tear-gassed all them terrorists to get to the church…
Tom: To be fair and impartial about it, the police and the National Guard used pepper spray, not tear gas. And to continue to be fair and impartial about it, the individuals the police and the National Guard attacked were persons peacefully gathered to petition the government for a redress of grievances, a right specifically enumerated and guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Meadows: Okay, yeah, if you want to get all technical about it, I guess so, maybe. But anywho, what burns up President Trump about it is this guy Esper, the Secretary of Defense, right after that, he came out and said he didn’t know that everybody from the White House as goin’ over to the church with President Trump for a photo op! Then he said he didn’t know nothin’ about usin’ the police and National Guard and pepper spray and rubber bullets and all to clear out them… them… people so’s they wouldn’t be in President Trump’s way when he went over there to stand in front of the church with that there Bible.
Tom: Yes, I heard about that.
Meadows: And then, that Mark Milley guy…
Tom: General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Meadows: Yeah, him. He went on TV and apologized for just bein’ there in front of the church with President Trump! Lemme tell ya, that got President Trump riled up real good, that did!
Tom: One can only imagine.
Meadows: And then, as if Esper ain’t done enough to chafe the president’s behind, he comes out and says he don’t think using the Army, Air Force and Marines to go into all them cities where the ni… uh, the… piccaninnies are kickin’ up such a fuss and straighten them out is the right thing to do!
Tom: Ah yes, that would be his statements regarding invocation of the Insurrection Act of 1807.
Meadows: I mean, we had the Eighty-Second Airborne Division on standby, right there in Washington, and that chicken sh… uh… that chicken-flickin’ durn fool Esper sent ’em all back to Fort Bragg! And now, that son of a… uh… that son of a gun even says the Pentagon’s gotta change the name of Fort Bragg because Bragg was a Confederate general!
Tom: And do you know whose idea it was to start naming US military posts after Confederate generals?
Meadows: Uh, no, can’t say as I do.
Tom: Woodrow Wilson. After he got Congress to declare war in 1917, he knew there would be a need for a lot of new forts and bases to accommodate the expanded armed forces. So he had the War Department come up with names of Confederate generals for the new military installations south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Meadows: Huh. I didn’t know that. That there was right thoughtful of him, I’d say.
Tom: Wilson was from the South, you know.
Meadows: Do tell?
Tom: And he was a total racist, too. For example, as soon as he got into office, he made sure every black employee of the federal service lost their job. And he invited D.W. Griffith to screen Birth of a Nation at the White House, too, and said it was the best motion picture he’d ever seen.
Meadows: Sounds to me like that there’s a story President Trump might like.
Tom: Probably. Why don’t you tell him about it?
Meadows: Wow! Another great idea! Thanks!
Tom: And maybe if the folks tearing down those statues of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis want to be as fair and unbiased about things as they say they are, they should insist on a new name for the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge as well.
Meadows: You mean that one where US 95 South crosses the Potomac River over by Alexandria, Virginia?
Tom: Yes, that one. At the very least, the politically correct set that’s always calling Trump a racist shouldn’t have any objection if he were to ask his fellow Republicans to draft a bill in Congress changing the name of that bridge to something else, such as, say, the Barry Goldwater Memorial Bridge.
Meadows: Holy smokes! If I put a June bug in the President’s ear about that, I bet he writes a tweet about what a great idea his new Chief of Staff came up with!
Tom: Better if you let him take credit for it, I think.
Meadows: Oh. Hmm. Uh, yeah, I see what you mean. Oh boy, I’ve gotta start writing these ideas down! Just a second while I get a pen and a note pad.
Tom: Sure. I’ll hold and wait for you to come back on.
[Five minutes elapse.]
Meadows: All right now – let’s see, here, I done wrote it all down. Number One: tell Trump about how Jesus can forgive all them lies he tells. Number Two: tell him to get back at those liberals who want to tear down all them Confederate statues and make the Pentagon change Fort Bragg and all the other forts and stuff named after Confederates to something else by tellin’ Congress he wants to re-name the Woodrow Wilson Bridge after Barry Goldwater. Now, what else?
Tom: Well, what else is bothering your boss?
Meadows: Oh, yeah, right. Let’s see… there’s all these Republicans in Congress bein’ disloyal.
Tom: Such as when the police in Buffalo, New York pushed a 75 year old Black Lives Matter protester backward onto concrete pavement, causing him severe injuries requiring hospitalization, and your boss re-tweeted a conspiracy-theory inspired interpretation of the incident invented by One America News Network that the old man was an antifa provocateur who was attempting to compromise police communications and threw himself to the pavement intentionally in an attempt discredit their attempts to restore order during a riot?
Meadows: And that jackass Mitt Romney comin’ out and sayin’ he read that tweet and was shocked. President Trump turned redder than a summer beet when he found out about it. And he called Romney a lot of stuff worse than “jackass,” I can sure ’nuff tell you that.
Tom: I have no doubt he did.
Meadows: And there was that ugly old cow Lisa Murkowski, who said she was strugglin’ with herself over votin’ for Trump this November.
Tom: And a number of others who wouldn’t say anything, as I recall – as opposed to backing the president up, of course.
Meadows: Yer durn tootin’!
Tom: Well, how about you take OANN at their word about what that protester was doing.
Meadows: You mean, listening in on police radios and stuff?
Tom: Exactly. If that was actually going on, shouldn’t President Trump start advocating for legislation making interference with police communications during crowd control operations a federal crime?
Meadows: I donno. Could he do that?
Tom: Of course. He could say that, under the Constitution, the federal government has jurisdiction over any such infractions if even one of the protesters crossed a state line…
Meadows: Wait a second there! Slow down! “…even one of the protesters crossed a state line…” Okay, then what?
Tom: Then that would trigger the Interstate Commerce Clause. The same one the liberals used to justify sending federal troops into the South during the 1960’s.
Meadows: Oh Lordy! That’s rich! He’s gonna love that one, I just know it! Let ol’ Mitt and Lisa fold that ’til it’s all corners and put it where the sun don’t shine! Oh, and you know what else has really got President Trump really burned up?
Meadows: The fake news people sayin’ he ran and hid in the bunker under the White House durin’ them durn protests. Even after he told everyone he just went down for, you know, inspection and stuff, they keep askin’ dumb questions like, why did he do it right then, and why did he bring Melania and Barron down there with him and stupid stuff like that. And then this idjut Barr over at Justice, he’s gotta shoot his mouth off and say the Secret Service went and took him down there, all so’s Barr don’t look like some kinda fool for orderin’ gummit soldiers and helicopters and police to clear them protesters outta… outta… whatchacallit…
Tom: Lafayette Park. The area in front of the White House on Sixteenth Street, Northwest.
Meadows: Yeah, that.
Tom: How about you tell the President that you suggest the Secret Service go back and have a hard look at their official logs for May 29, 2020, because obviously there has been some kind of misunderstanding.
Meadows: Really? How so?
Tom: Well, since President Trump and Attorney General Barr are both telling the truth, naturally, the only logical explanation is that the Secret Service must have scheduled an inspection tour of the bunker for that day, and, of course, that’s the kind of thing little Barron would be interested in going along with Dad to see, now wouldn’t it be?
Meadows: Oh yeah, sure! Any kid his age would be excited to see the inside of somethin’ like that there secret White House bunker!
Tom: And why shouldn’t his mom want to come along to enjoy her young son’s delight in the neat things his father’s job entails?
Meadows: … neat things his father’s job… uh, what?
Tom: Entails. That’s “E-N-T-A-I-L-S.” You could say “involves,” too, if you want.
Meadows: Okay, yeah, better go with “involves.” And how do you spell that?
Meadows: Right. Got it. And so you’re sayin’ that if the Secret Service has a look at their logs, they’re gonna see that they got an entry in there for “President Trump to tour the bunker under the White House today” or somethin’?
Tom: That’s correct. And all Fox News has to do is show that log entry on TV and everyone in the world will know that the whole thing really was just a big, crazy coincidence.
Meadows: Fox News?
Tom: Exactly – Fox News. You’re Chief of Staff, so just have the White House create a formal request for the Secret Service to review its logs for May 29 and then have one of your staffers contact Fox News through the usual channels the White House uses when they want Fox to run a story and tell them to… ah, shall we say… “mock up” a log entry that proves what you, Attorney General Barr and President Trump already know to be true. It should be no problem for Fox News, after all, since they have already come up with several “representations” of various scenarios concerning the current situation in Seattle and other large cities that were not required to rely on real photographs of things that actually occurred. Very pro-active of them, wasn’t it, not to depend on such old-fashioned techniques still favored by such journalistic troglodytes like ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN?
Meadows: Heck yeah, I guess so. What’s a trog… troglobe…
Tom: “Troglodyte” is a metaphoric term denoting a person who is woefully out of date – a “caveman,” if you will.
Meadows: Oh, yeah, right – Fox is way ahead of them Fred Flintstones over there at the fake news media! Okay! So, now, there’s that two-faced, back-stabbin’ ol’ skunk, Lindsey Graham!
Tom: I assume you are referring to Senator Graham’s recent remarks in a YouTube political advertisement, characterizing President Trump as a “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.”
Meadows: Uh, yeah, that. By the way, what’s “zeno… zenophub…”
Tom: It means Senator Graham thinks President Trump promotes fear of foreigners, particularly immigrants.
Meadows: And how can Graham say that when everybody knows President Trump’s wife is from a foreign country, now ain’t she?
Tom: Oh, yeah, sure – Trump is fine with foreigners as long as they are women with a rating or six or better who take their clothes off when he tells them to. That’s different from stirring up popular fear of foreigners in order to get votes, which is what Graham was talking about.
Meadows: Huh. You sayin’ President Trump talks out of both sides of his mouth? That he says one thing and does another?
Tom: Oh, I don’t think there’s any need to state that explicitly for our purposes, do you?
Meadows: Um… “explicitly?”
Tom: State precisely, affirm in detail. Oh, what the hell, all right, I stipulate that anybody who considers Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric on one hand and his record of marriages to foreign bimbos on the other and concludes that he is a hypocrite has plenty of reason to do so.
Tom: Ah, yes… moving right along here, as I recall, Senator Graham also said, “You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.”
Meadows: Uh-huh. And lemme tell you, what the President said about Lindsey Graham after he heard about that stuff, well, it was like to melt the ears off a brass monkey! Tell you the truth, I didn’t even understand half the stuff he was sayin’, what with him bein’ from New York City and all. Um… what’s “fisting?”
Tom: Sir, if you have to ask, you don’t want to know.
Meadows: Yeah, I figured as much. He went on for forty-five minutes, yellin’ and screamin’ back and to, just so, about what he was gonna do to Lindsey Graham’s this and Lindsey Graham’s that and Lindsey Graham’s what have you. God Almighty, I tell ya, I had no idea Lindsey Graham had so many this, thats and what-have-you’s for somebody from New York City to mess with.
Tom: And as I also recall, that commercial had Senator Graham telling viewers that Joe Biden is “as good a man a God ever created,” and “the nicest person I think I ever met in politics.”
Meadows: Can you imagine? Ain’t that the biggest act of treason you ever saw?
Tom: Having a crisis of conscience, experiencing an epiphany and changing one’s mind from being a fawning sycophant to being a person of principle hardly qualifies as treason, sir.
Meadows: Huh? Ep… epip… epimpany? Sick-o-fant?
Tom: Having a sudden burst of realization and deciding to no longer be a.. shall we say… “butt-kisser.” Telling the world that his opinion of the President is drastically different than it was in 2017 doesn’t make Senator Graham a traitor. In fact, some might say it makes him a patriot.
Meadows: Tarnation! You don’t think he’s some kind of patriot for talkin’ like that, do ya?
Tom: No, rest assured, short of him casting a single, solitary vote in the Senate that isn’t a self-serving parody of his duty to the nation under the Constitution, I would never consider Lindsey Graham a patriot. Most likely, he has realized that Donald Trump is destroying both the Republican Party as well as the American conservative movement in general, and he wants to do something to stop that from happening.
Meadows: And you figure that he figures that… gettin’ Joe Biden elected is the best way to fix them problems?
Tom: That would be the most reasonable explanation, I think.
Meadows: Well, irregardless of why Lindsey Graham’s doin’ it, what can I tell President Trump about how to make him stop?
Tom: I suggest President Trump write a few tweets about how Lindsey Graham is obviously gay and afraid to admit it, and that’s driving him into fits of irrational hysteria.
Meadows: …gay and afraid to admit it… and… that drives him into fits of… how do you spell “irrational”and “hysteria?”
Tom: I-R-R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L and H-Y-S-T-E-R-I-A.
Meadows: Okay. Got it. You figure that will shut Graham up?
Tom: No, I figure Graham’s reaction to tweets like that will, in fact, be genuine fits of irrational hysteria that he will be very, very challenged to control. And the things Graham will say and do as a result of those fits will discredit him entirely.
Meadows: ‘Cause Graham’s gay and afraid to admit it?
Tom: No, because Graham’s not gay and highly insecure about people thinking he is.
Meadows: Kinda like… what do ya call it… that there reverse sigh… sigh-coh..
Tom: Reverse psychology. Yes, kind of.
Meadows: Okay, then there’s these durn books that John Bolton and Trump’s niece, Mary, are bringin’ out…
Tom: If he were smart, Trump would just ignore them. All he’s doing with the law suits and court orders and so forth is giving them huge amounts of free publicity and driving sales through the roof. But since we both know Trump’s not anywhere near smart enough to realize that, and since he’s already revealed how obsessed he is about suppressing those books by any means he can, I would advise you not to mention those two particular issues.
Meadows: Uh… okay. But what if he asks me for my advice?
Tom: Tell him he’s doing exactly the right thing already. I think we both know that’s the kind of thing he loves to hear.
Meadows: Alright then, mum’s the word and if he asks, say he’s on course and steady as she goes, huh?
Tom: Yes, but try not to get too poetic about it.
Meadows: Not… too… how do you spell “poetic?”
Tom: P-O-E-T-I-C. Um… Looks like we’re about out of time now.
Meadows: Oh? Uh, sure. Well, thanks for all the free advice.
Tom: Worth it at twice the price. My pleasure. Got to go now, I have another consultation starting soon – a paid one – and I need to prepare for it. Just remember: Reince Priebus lasted one hundred and ninety-two days; John Kelly lasted one year and one hundred and fifty four days; and Mick Mulvaney lasted one year and eighty-nine days. You started as White House Chief of Staff on March 31, 2020. If you last until the election, that will be two hundred and seventeen days, and you will at least beat that insufferable prig Reince Priebus. But bear in mind, it is very important that you last until at least October 10.
Meadows: October 10? How come?
Tom: October 10 would be one hundred and ninety-three days. Try hard to make it at least that far, because if you don’t, you’ll be a total laughingstock, the guy who couldn’t manage to hold on to the Chief of Staff job any longer than the ultimate political dweeb, Reince Priebus. That would be the end of your public career, I’m afraid.
Meadows: Jesus! I never thought of that. October 10, huh? Okay, guess I better or I’ll be a coon up a pine tree with nine hound dogs at the bottom.
Tom: So to speak. Goodbye now. And good luck; you will certainly need it.
Meadows: Okay, thanks. ‘Bye.