Age of Computer

Trump waited for the door to close. When it was just him and me alone in his office, he pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows — a wry look millions have seen in brief flashes over his years hosting The Apprentice, a franchise he’ll be executive producing even after he takes office as President.

“I’ve got this whole thing I do — you know. It’s very, very effective. Just look at my success. Now, with all this! Amazing, right? This is history. What do you think?”

He looked around the office, then across the cluttered expanse of his desk. There were stacks of magazines with his face on the cover — Time, Esquire, People, GQ, Forbes — at least a dozen copies of each. He pushed aside a pile of Time “Person of the Year” issues, opening a clearing. “They did a bad job with this. It’s always man of the year. Every other President — always man. For me they go with ‘person’, which is very, very disrespectful. It’s a great magazine, though.”

Under the pile was a 15-inch MacBook Pro. Neither I nor any other reporter covering Trump had ever seen him use a computer of any kind, yet here he was behind a glowing Apple logo, rapidly pecking a password. He said “ah fuck” and reached into his breast pocket, probing, pulling out something small and black. He stuck it into the side of the laptop and said, “it’s a Yubikey. I used to use the Google Auth thing on my secure phone, but my son wanted me to have something in hardware. I’m an Android guy, and Barron doesn’t trust the platform.”

He touched the Yubikey, then pulled it out and dropped it back in his pocket. “I was always an Emacs guy too, I mean, uh, GNU Emacs, okay? But Barron convinced me to switch to vim. It was very, very hard to switch. But you know, family is very important to me. I have a great family, and we are very close — it’s a very — it’s a tight circle. The boys — all my kids use vi” — he exhaled in a sort of snort that was the closest I’d ever heard to an actual laugh — “Christ I’m old! I mean vim. Fucking Pence uses vim! So I’m like, I need to, I have to think about this. I should consider this.”

“When I brought Perry in for Energy and saw even he was a vim guy, I was very impressed. Very impressive guy! I like to joke about his glasses, but Rick Perry is a fucking master of details. Not just physics. So I looked at my situation. I don’t, you know, want cabinet meetings fucked up with these holy wars, right? No distractions, okay? I’m like a fucking laser. So I was up all night running vimtutor. And now I’m on vim! Very solid software. Terrific, very, very solid.”

The President-Elect typed rapidly for a few minutes. His mouth was open a bit and I could hear his breathing. He looked up, squinted his eyes in a half-smile, then tapped a few more keys. Trump never closes his office blinds, so I could almost make out his screen reflected in the Trump Tower office windows, floating like a hologram five feet out into the night behind him. The screen was dark and the text was bright green. “I’m going to do something amazing now. Do you want to see something really incredible?” His voice was uncharacteristically high. He was excited. “This is called metasploit — let’s go to my sit room with the big screen.”