How I Spent My Summer Trumpcation

PODS are loaded from the White House on Fri., Aug. 4. The dumpy old West Wing, seen here, is getting a really classy renovation while President Donald Trump is away on vacation. AP Photo/Laurie Kellman.

BY MAX BURBANK | By the time you read this, the bitter clementine we call President Donald Trump will be well into a 17-day vacation at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ. A very private resort, according to its website, it boasts “world-class amenities.” So you know it’s not a dump, like the White House. It’s a nice arrangement. His private suite presumably features the kind of gilded bathroom fixtures men of quality literally cannot go without, and a “yuge” amount of money will be transferred from the federal government into the coffers of The Trump Group, a business entity now run by sons Jr. and Eric. It’s not a kleptocracy! It’s a blind trust Trump has no more to do with than the text of Jr.’s latest denials about whatever Russian tomfoolery he’s been caught at since I turned in this column.

I don’t begrudge Trump a vacation. What with Trumpcare tanking, “The Mooch” coming and going faster than a feckless prom date, and wee racist Lil’ Jeff Sessions tormenting Trump at every turn by doggedly refusing to resign, biting at his exposed ankles like a venomous, albino chigger, I’m certain our beleaguered Commander in Chief needs a break. Hell, I need a break. From him, not to mention all the shenanigans sucked along in his wake like the plastic flotsam garbage trailing behind a drunken frat boy’s jet ski.

I find myself praying that Trump’s vacation is my vacation from Trump. Please Donald, spend your days away from the White House blissfully not hastening Armageddon. Put your phone in the hotel safe and pretend you never got this job you clearly hate so much! Play golf every day, drive your cart on the green, hell, do donuts, it’s your course! Have slice after slice of the world’s most beautiful chocolate cake, have two scoops of ice cream, hell, have three and don’t let your dinner companions have any if that makes your ice cream sweeter! Just go be you and stop… doing things. Stop saying things and signing things and lying about who called you to tell you you’re the very best ever in history at whatever the hell you’re lying about. Stop bragging and preening and pouting and whining and above all, stop tweeting. No, I don’t really mean that, don’t stop tweeting. Twitter is the shovel you’re using to dig your own grave, tweet away, just maybe take a break from tweeting. So I can get a break from you tweeting.

Illustration by Max Burbank.

I suppose that’s unlikely, what with Robert Mueller empaneling a grand jury and subpoenas flying out like letters from a Hogwarts where the only available house is Slytherin. I wonder if by the time this column sees print he’ll have fired Mueller, or maybe had some Russian push him out a window. Trump’s rage at this moment must be incalculable, dashing hopes for a 17-day respite from his contagious lunacy.

On the other hand, the president who on two separate occasions played in trucks while major health care votes were taking place has a famously goldfish-like attention span. He might be just a three-over-par and a 12-piece extra crispy bucket away from distraction.

Trump promised we’d be tired of winning, and he was half-right. I’ve never been this tired. As a nation, the majority of us are exhausted. We’re a country suffering from PTSD, but the “P” doesn’t stand for “Post” — it stands for “Perpetual.” Half of my friends and family have turned away from news altogether and refuse to speak or hear his name, referring to him as “Voldemort” or “Jabba the Hutt,” and only then when absolutely necessary. The rest of us have become Twitter junkies, jonesing for every fresh doom nugget, as if “staying connected” will somehow maintain our sanity while we wait for things to get inevitably and dramatically worse. It was kind of a dystopian rush for about a week after the initial denial wore off, but now everyone I know has the thousand-mile stare Viggo Mortensen sported in “The Road.”

You want to vent all the time, but can you trust the bystanders who might overhear you? What if they’re one of them: The unchangeable? The 36 percent who think Mexico will repay us the money we’re fronting for the big, beautiful, solar power wall with windows in it, so you can watch out for bad hombres and not get hit in the head when they throw 60-pound sacks of drugs over; the ones who still believe maybe a morbidly obese teen sitting on a bed in his mom’s basement hacked our elections, because whatever all our intelligence agencies might say, Trump asked Putin not once, but TWICE, in TWO DIFFERENT WAYS if the Russians were responsible, and he said “Nyet” BOTH TIMES! You get people like that riled up, they might unhinge their jaws and devour you whole on the spot. It’s possible! Don’t tell me Stephen Miller couldn’t do that. He could, would, and does.

Looking for a glimmer of hope in all this, something beyond the dream of a 17-day respite while Trump carts around his golf course like an orange walrus in a wheelbarrow, dismounting occasionally to whack his little dimpled balls with a stick? I find myself thinking a lot about time travel.

I imagine this is an alternate timeline created by a time travel accident. Some poor, brave, sci-fi bastard stepped on the wrong butterfly somewhen in time and now we’re all screwed. But even as you read this, intrepid Time Stream Agents are trying over and over again to set things right before it’s too late, and one morning we’ll wake up and Hillary will be president. Or Bernie. Or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Jeb friggin’ Bush, and I’ll complain constantly, never imagining just how damn lucky I am. But deep inside, some small part of me will be happy, and I’ll wonder why I’m only mildly anxious as I work for whatever candidate seems like they might beat him and wonder why I sometimes smile when I think of Jeb.



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