5 Crazy Trump White House Stories No One's Talking About
There are so many crazy stories coming out of the Trump administration every day (see: Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Space Force) that's it's easy to lose sight of how there are other, even crazier stories that no one's talking about. If you think the current White House is a shambles from the front, the behind-the-scenes portion resembles an episode of The Office directed by Kafka. Or at least, that's our takeaway from stories like ...
The White House Made A Cringey Trailer For The North Korea Summit
In June 2018, President Trump met up with Kim Jong-un in Singapore to discuss, amongst other things, drawing a close to their long-standing dong-wiggling contest. Trump became the first U.S. president to sit down with North Korea -- a historic moment that the administration decided to commemorate via an awful homemade movie trailer.
Let's break this down. The trailer starts with the words "A DESTINY PICTURES PRODUCTION" written in a golden font usually reserved for zero-budget Sunday school videocassettes. And so right away, we must remind you that this is a real video that came out of the U.S. government, and not something @MAGA_Dad_69 made in his spare time.
Next up we see a "greatest hits" of free stock footage (landscapes, monuments, people taking the stairs in slow-mo) that gently fade into images of Trump and Kim addressing their citizenry. Meanwhile, the narrator informs us that out of the seven billion people in the planet, "only the very few will make decisions or take actions that renew their homeland and change the course of history." It's unclear who he's talking about (LeBron? Weird Al Yankovic?), but they sound pretty important.
As the video continues, it becomes clear that the narrator misplaced his script and began reading from a newspaper horoscope ("The past doesn't have to be the future. Out of the darkness can come the light, and the light of hope can burn bright."), and then he just started winging it. ("A new story. A new beginning. One of peace? Two men. Two leaders. One destiny.")
The basic message seems to be that if Kim is brave enough to "shake the hand of peace," both leaders will take us into "a new world" of "friendship, respect , and goodwill." And hey, look at all these "investment" opportunities in cloudy N.K.!
And if the two leaders don't see eye to eye? The video shows us footage of missiles and bombers being deployed, which is always reassuring during a peace summit.
The whole thing is so bizarre that when the video was played to journalists before a press conference with Trump and Kim, everyone assumed it was North Korean propaganda (which probably caused North Korea's actual propaganda team to quit in disgust). There's no word on what Trump thought of the trailer, but considering that he reportedly showed it to Kim on his iPad, it's fair to say that he likes it. (Or they were comparing prison camps. It's hard to say, really.)
In any case, as silly as the trailer was, at least it helped halt North Korea's nuclear development program, r-r-r-right?
The Trump-Themed Challenge Coins Are Hideous Ethics Violations
One presidential tradition to come about in recent years is involves "challenge coins," collectible coins handed out by the president to individuals during events like summits, meetings, and state visits. There are two types: ones that are specially made for those events, and your basic-ass presidential coins which feature nothing but the presidential seal. And yes, we mean nothing -- no names, no slogans, no nothing.
And then along came Donald Trump.
Since Trump assumed the presidency, the White House has been producing these things full-time for any ol' bullshit that crosses their mind. Alongside coins depicting his trips to the Vatican, Davos, and Singapore, he's also had ones made for his security team (featuring the tasteful slogan "Have gun. Will travel."), as well as coins made commemorating his resort at Mar-a-Lago. Just like everything Trump touches, however, these challenge coins are also creating numerous, hilarious ethics violations. For instance, ethics wonks have derided the Mar-a-Lago coin as an advertisement for his private business, which serves (as one watchdog group put it) as "a metallic tourist brochure."
It's only because The New York Times started asking some pointed questions about these things that we don't have coins depicting Trump Tower, or Trump's golf course at Bedminster, or his favorite Burger King.
Staff Have To Tape Together Documents That Trump Won't Stop Tearing Up
It's fair to say that President Trump has some ... issues when it comes to anger. Although we largely see those play out on Twitter between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m., it's easy to forget that he also has to live with those issues while he's carrying out the many harsh challenges of the presidency. Like sitting down and reading something. So what does he do when he gets pissed at something that crosses his eyesight? He, an adult man with a wife and a job and everything, tears it into tiny pieces.
As funny a visual image as this is, this habit is a total nightmare for the presidential records staff, who are legally mandated to preserve all of his papers for examination by future generations. In order to make sure that no one gets sent to prison, the members of this department have to gather together the scraps of each shredded document and, armed with only a roll of scotch tape and their broken dreams, reassemble them like a jigsaw puzzle.
According to sources cited by Politico, numerous staff have tried to ward Trump away from doing this, to no avail. This means right now, someone is sitting in a basement office somewhere trying to figure out what made the president so angry at a CVS mailer.
Melania Was Paid $100,000+ In Royalties For Stock Photos
Depending on who you ask, Melania Trump is either an innocent victim trapped in a horrible marriage or an amoral rascal in the same league as her husband. We don't want to tell you what to think on this (although you need to stop psychoanalyzing photos of the two for perceived "dissent"), but what's clear is that at least some of his personality is rubbing off on her. Or at least, that's what we infer from the fact that she was caught running her own little grift last year.
In 2017, Melania signed an agreement with Getty Images to license a bunch of photos taken of the happy family between 2010 and 2016 for use in everything from calendars to guidebooks to news stories. Not just any news stories, however. According to the terms of the licensing deal, any news organizations who wanted to use the photos could only do so if the attached story was "positive coverage" for the family. So it was meant for science fiction magazines, mostly.
Considering how "unfair" the media has been to the poor, misunderstood prez and his family, you'd think that she wouldn't have earned a cent from this. And you'd be way, way off. According to the financial disclosure forms filed by Trump late last year, Melania earned between $100,000 and $1 million in royalties from Getty after the stories were used by ... Fox News and The Daily Mail. OK, we get it now.
No One In D.C. Wants To Socialize (Or Have Sex) With White House Staffers
The first family and their assorted hangers-on / future chain gang buddies aren't the only people working in the White House. There's also an anonymous army of staffers, assistants, and aides who make the place work -- or whatever the current approximation of "work" is there. It's too bad, then, that despite moving to D.C. to make their political dreams come true, the city (which went 4 percent for Trump) is determined to make every moment as socially hellish as possible for them.
Alongside the constant protests and reminders that they're enabling human rights abuses, aides and staffers regularly wind up on the receiving end of fingers, shouting, and other rude gestures from members of the public while entering/exiting the White House -- treatment we used to imagine only happened if you got caught leaving a bestiality brothel.
It's little wonder, then, that when staffers find themselves having successfully escaped to a bar and wind up talking to a fellow patron about what they do for a living, their choices seem to be A) obfuscate until they're ready to drop the bombshell and consequently end their night, or B) just flat out lie. When one staffer was asked about this, he admitted that he told people he worked as an auditor on Wall Street. Wall Street. That's how bad it's gotten.
On apps like Tinder, a popular disclaimer among Washington residents is "Trump supporters swipe left," though some who manage to score a swipe find themselves locked in political debates. ("You're going to take away your own birth control!" "Do you rip babies from their mothers and then send them to Mexico?")
Yeah, might as well quit swiping and save your hand energy, guys. You're going to need it.
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