Okay, first of all, I want to say that IMHO, the word “unprecedented” should be retired from the English language because it has been used so much since June 16, 2015 that it has been worn out. That date, of course, is the day when Donald John Trump rode down a golden escalator and told the world he was running for President of the United States of America. That’s when the word “unprecedented” went from a fairly ordinary, quotidian, average, run-of-the-mill English adjective to an utterance so common as to rank right up there with “ohmigod,” “thank you, next,” “oh no, you did-nt,” “gimme a high five,” “cray-cray,” “squad goal,” “adulting,” “turnt,” “on fleek,” “keep it one hundred,” “suh,” “that feel when,” “one true pairing,” “fomo / jomo,” “follow back / like back,” “narrative,” “damn Gina,” “so sus,” “woke,” “hey, fam,” “high key,” “stan,” and “hunty” – all of which, BTW, would desperately also need to be retired from the English language if a retirement process existed. And okay, I know, it’s not likely the word “unprecedented,” or any of those other words or phases, will ever be retired from the English language because, well, there is, in fact, no process for that. I also firmly believe that somebody at Oxford or Cambridge – where language geeks known as grammarians and lexicographers are actually paid money to define the English language – ought to design and promulgate such a process, if for no other reason than to rid us of such folderol as “a murder of crows,” “a pride of lions,” “a shrewdness of apes,” “a sloth of bears,” “a kaleidoscope of butterflies” and “an exultation of larks.” And once they have done so, they should retire “unprecedented” from the English vocabulary, because, as I just said, Donald [expletive deleted*] Trump has caused it to become totally, completely, utterly and unequivocally worn out.
But before that happens, however reluctantly, I’m going to have to use it, because something completely unprecedented has occurred in my consulting practice and therefore, has resulted in this, a completely unprecedented post in my World Wide Web Log. The unprecedented event, my dear readers all over the planet, has been a rising tide of requests from Washington DC insiders for advice on how to turn down President Trump’s offer of a position within his administration without incurring the inevitable wrathful twitterings and vows of destruction and revenge that President Trump indiscriminately targets at both those who decline his overtures and, likewise, those who accept them and subsequently fail to prove his willing henchmen, accomplices and vassals.
As an American, please let me tell everyone, everywhere, that I, like the majority of Americans, have what can only be described as a highly negative view of Donald Trump and again, like the majority of Americans, I am at a loss to explain exactly how something so asinine and dangerous as his ascendency to the presidency could have happened. I can only speculate as to the causes – Republican gerrymandering after the 2010 census, liberal elite neglect of the Rust Belt, massive Democratic stupidity in nominating Hillary Rodham Clinton – the only major Democrat whom Trump could possibly defeat – as their choice to run against him; the list goes on, but manifestly fails to satisfy the gnawing question of how the USA’s citizens, intelligentsia and ordinary polis alike, could have ended up, in 2016, in a predicament so similar to that of Weimar Germany in 1932.
But anyway, the burden of responding to so many inquiries about this situation has become untenable – just like answering all the same questions, over and over again, as I did analogously last month when besieged by newbie members of Congress, and essentially for the same reason: it would adversely affect my ability to dispense much-needed advice to my regular clientele. But as longtime readers of this Web Log well know, that former post has happened every November of an even-numbered year, like clockwork. Today’s post, in stark contrast, is… unprecedented.
So, without further ado, you – yes, you, Washington insider who is worried about being offered a post in the Trump administration; you can now stop trying to book an appointment in my already crowded consultation schedule; and you can stop trying to casually run into me at parties and strike up a conversation to get the same advice for free, too, because you, like everybody else in your predicament, ask the same questions and I’m tired of hearing them. Here are the answers.
No, you should not, under any circumstances, try to give Trump the brush-off by telling him you are a Democrat, even if that is actually true. This will automatically put you on his enemies list and he will do everything possible to destroy your reputation and your career. And usually, he won’t even bother to tweet nasty things about you – he will have his underlings to the dirty work instead so you don’t see him coming.
If you’re a well-known Republican, you obviously can’t even contemplate telling Trump you’re a Democrat, which, considering what I just said, is pretty much a blessing in disguise. But don’t say you can’t take the position in his administration because of your family, because the only family that counts is Trump’s, and if you put your family before him or any member of his family, you might as well have betrayed Don Corleone. As a matter of fact, it’s just not a good idea to draw Trump’s attention to the fact that you have a family, since, like the tin-pot third-world dictators of whom Trump is so fond, he likes to go after the relatives of those who displease him.
Don’t say you can’t afford to leave your present post and take a pay cut to work for the government, either. Trump will be offended by that and take it as a signal of disloyalty, because as far as he is concerned, he’s not asking you to come work for the US government, he’s asking you to come work for him.
It should go without saying that you should never, ever even imply that you don’t wholeheartedly agree with Trump on every single issue imaginable, including the ones where Trump himself has verifiably been on both or even three or four sides of it, but just to make sure, for the record, I will say that. Trump is convinced he knows everything about anything that matters, so even the slightest challenge to his unreasoning megalomania will render you an enemy for life. Use every single weasel-worded, ambiguously diplomatic and / or elliptic declarations you can possibly conjure, but never, ever clearly state opposition him in any way. And do I really need to tell you not to draw attention to yourself by granting an interview to CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC or CBS and telling some bozo like Wolf Blitzer that you wouldn’t take a job in the Trump administration even if the alternative was being tied naked to a fire ant mound and covered with honey, and then explaining to your interviewer exactly why? Well, apparently so, because plenty of you Washington insiders have already done that, and I would admonish the rest of you to refrain from doing it, no matter how good it feels. Look what happened to General Stanley Allen McChrystal, who went on the Sunday talk shows and told the world that he could never work for Donald Trump because Trump is “shady,” “immoral,” and “openly disingenuous on things.” Despite the fact that’s a pretty weak damnation there, compared, for example to what plenty of other people such as Maxine Waters have said about him, it was sufficient to send President Trump right over the edge. And do I need to tell you to lay off the social media, for Christ’s sake? Yeah, I guess so, because even though most of you are too old to understand how Twitter, Facebook and their ilk work, a lot of you are still capable of using them to say things you will later regret, including that you wouldn’t take a job working for Trump even if the alternative was being stripped naked and going over Niagara Falls in a barrel full of rabid skunks. Remember this, oh great Mover and Shaker, Grand High Academic Poobah, Beltway Demigod or Captain of Industry, I tell you now the very same thing my sister Rose tells her children: social media are part of the Internet, and whatever you put on the Internet stays there forever. And again, while this should be obvious to anyone in your exalted position, I will say it anyway: never use the word “recuse” in speaking or corresponding with Trump when discussing why you can’t take the job he’s offering. If you do, you are finished. Period. Simply never say it.
So – what to do? Well, right now, the most viable tack to take is telling Trump you have health problems that preclude your assuming the proposed position, due to its inherently stressful nature. Since he is fundamentally ignorant of medicine and science, experience has shown that this claim generally derails him. Naturally, it is remotely possible that, confronted with numerous instances of this declaration, he might come to suspect something. However, until then, this is the recommended course of action, despite the risk that Trump will tweet out what you told him is supposedly wrong with you. So don’t go overboard with it. Stick with something low profile that could conceivably be cured later, like hammer toe, neuritis, or anemia. And please, let’s not inundate Trump with an epidemic of hammer toe, neuritis and anemia, okay? Do some research and come up with your own low profile, non-fatal, reversible but nevertheless temporarily debilitating condition that won’t cause gossip about you, tarnish your sterling reputation or otherwise affect your future prospects when the feces hurricane that is the Trump administration finally subsides. If you are smart enough to be in a position in this society where you are noticeable enough for Trump to be aware of your existence, then you ought to be smart enough to think of something suitable on your own. Unless you’re actually a total fraud, of course, in which case you deserve to work for Donald Trump. And if, or when, claiming medical exemption finally proves unviable, tell Trump that you don’t think serving in his administration would be a good idea because you owe a large sum of money to a Russian organized crime syndicate – or you could tell him that you do not think you should work in his administration because certain foreign governments have compromising information regarding your, ahem, erotic escapades. Those, at least, are things you can count on him to understand.
*My New Years resolution is to save my editors at The Friend of Tom Collins the trouble of redacting my own obscenities, just as I do my best to redact those of my many interlocutors prior to the editorial review to which TFOTC invariably subject my postings. It hardly matters anyway, since Donald Trump has, by this point, exceeded the capacity of any known word in the English language which can adequately describe how ignorant, dishonest, idiotic, vile, cowardly, corrupt and evil he is. So until the aforementioned grammarians and lexicographers identify one (and, yes, I realize that inventing such words is not, in fact, within their remit, which is why I say “identify”), IMHO the phrase Donald [expletive deleted] Trump will just have to do.