A Rough Cut
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A Rough Cut

Everybody Hates Don

Examining the probability that President Trump’s friends, colleagues and family actually hate him.

“These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends” — Arnold

If Donald Trump watches HBO then he has to love Westworld. A theme park where everyone around you responds to your wishes and desires, without judgement, with explicit instructions to always put you first. If he watches Westworld, I doubt he made it past the first episode — once you find Valhalla you don’t have to go further.

If he did go further, then he must have wondered why the show was spending so much time asking questions about free will or consciousness. He must have wondered why anyone would care about the inner workings of another being, animatronic or otherwise. His muddled mind continues to be a source of intrigue for those who cover him but I doubt he has ever considered the man in the mirror, much less the figures and figurines who surround him.

Many men and women have pledged their fealty to Trump, but from the outside it’s fairly clear that they are cynical, willing pawns in his game. From Trump’s point of view, he is either blissfully unaware or willfully ignorant to the fact that everyone around him probably hates him. In fact, the real question is not whether everyone hates him, it’s how much do they hate him?

And if they do, does he even care?

Smiling for the camera.

Melania

Hate-Level: Quiet, suffering disdain

Imagine you’re Melania Trump five years ago. You rarely see your husband, who is off filming episodes of his dumb TV show that you never watch, or playing golf at his boring resort in Florida, you affectionately, secretly, hopefully even, refer to as the Old Folks Home.

Every once in a while you go on a trip with him, Smile for the camera, wear some nice clothes. Sometimes it’s even nice to be around him. He helps you push your jewelry line on QVC. He shares knowledge with Barron, your son — though lately he keeps repeating himself and rambling. He probably cheats on you regularly, but whatever, the marriage is a transaction — that’s just the interest.

You don’t love him, but you have your own life. You never want for anything. Your family back home in the old country are taken care of. Modeling didn’t work out, but on the whole, things are working out. You’ve had worse gigs than wife of a sometime billionaire.

But then, a few years later, he decides to run the world. You realize that your feigned affections, the gold columns and marble in the Trump Tower estate, and the feud with Rosie O’Donnell are no longer enough. You tell yourself, this idiot can’t win. Sure, it’ll mean more time away from my New York friends and more time with him, but if it makes him happy and keeps him busy, it is a small price to pay.

Months later, you’re walking through a crowd in Iowa. People chanting “Build the Wall”, balding men with missing teeth ogle you, an overweight woman waves at you. What’s going on? Who are these people?

A year later you’re handing a green box to Michelle Obama who doesn’t know what to do with it. Michelle probably hates your husband. You stand next to them in a state of shock for a photo while the Obamas seem kinda relieved, to be honest. Four years is a long time. You think about the pre-nup. You smile at him when he looks back. The smile fades.

Donald Jr. and Eric Trump

Hate-level: Patient, Therapy-inducing

Donald Trump Jr. sits in a chair while the interviewer from NBC lobs question after question at him about his namesake, President Donald Trump. He smiles, though behind it is a clear hate, not defiant nor directed at the journalist.

He is thinking about the slopes. His early years where he lived the jet-set life of a rich man’s son. Skiing on any mountain he wanted to around the globe. Keeping his last name secret, preferring instead to just go by Don. He slept in til noon, he skied until dark. He ate cheap food, he drank cheap beer. His hair was uncombed. His father hated him in those days, but in some ways, those were the best years of his life.

“Your father recently said millions of voters voted illegally…”

The NBC reporter looks at him snidely. She knows he’s about to spin a non answer. Donald knows he’s going to spin a non answer. But still, they go through this dance together. The media goes through the motions, the future heir to a real estate empire goes through the motions. Up and down the slope.

“Let’s get the facts straight, my father won the presidency fairly and that is undisputed…”

In ten minutes the interview ends. In 5 hours Donald turns on the TV in his office while his wife sleeps in bed. The sound is low and images of the winter X-Games flash in front of him while he sips scotch, letting his slicked back greasy hair, finally, for the first time that day, fall out of order.

Eric Trump wakes up to a text message telling him to bring his father’s and Ivanka’s dry cleaning to Trump Tower. He asks himself if it’s really worth it.

Mike Pence

Hate-level: Praying for you

The TV is on. Mike and his wife are finally settling down in the vice-president’s residence. Madonna is on the TV threatening to blow up the White House. She finishes by dropping the F-Bomb.

“You know, that woman needs to get a life,” says Karen, Mike’s wife. “All of those women, glorifying sex and killing millions of babies and thinking they’re standing up for a cause. It’s disgusting, they should be standing up for life.”

“I’m praying for them Kare bear,” he replied without looking up from his book.

The television is on in the hall outside of the Oval Office. Mike sits patiently, while Fox News and CNN plays on a couple of adjacent TVs. Mike never liked television, it was too crass for him. The internet was worse. His interns posted on Twitter for him, mostly encouraging messages about America, occasionally a plug for events he would be at. The Tweets have no personality, no individuality, just a friendly if cold, informational tone. Never a misspelled word or phrase that was 2 words too long. They were all pre-crafted and loaded, set to go live at predetermined times.

For the vice president, Twitter seemed like nonsense. The president seemed to love it, he tweeted seemingly at all hours. Staffers had tried to discourage him from posting without at least giving them a heads up first, but the Donald was defiant, brash, couldn’t-be-bothered. He felt things and reacted on them in the moment. When he felt slighted he held onto it, trying to force his way into absolution. Sometimes, even Mike Pence wondered if he really did repent.

Rachel Maddow was on and they were showing a picture of Mike and Karen near a podium. That was a good speech, he thought.

“And while everyone is focusing on the President’s tweets, we cannot allow ourselves to forget about the vice president,” said Maddow, dead center of the screen, staring right at the viewer. “We can’t forget that this man wanted to overturn gay marriage and that for years he peddled cigarettes as a lobbyist. He might seem like a good family man, but Mr. Pence, your actions speak loudly.”

A White House intern, approached the vice president, telling him that President Trump was ready for him.

In his head he thought, I’m praying for you Rachel.

“Try not to walk in front of me, OK Pence? I just don’t like the way it looks,” says Donald John Trump in mid-stride.

The two men are walking together on the White House lawn after exiting Marine One. The president’s hair is a tangled, orange mess. A photographer calls out to the president and he slows to turn and wave while the vice president walks a few steps further, then slows and awkwardly raises his hand in a wave but stops when the president turns to walk again.

“No problem sir, just following your lead.”

“Yeah, the whole country needs to do that. I am great, I really am, aren’t I?”, says the president, self-admiringly.

“Yes sir, the American people expect you to do great things and I know we won’t let them down. Just yesterday I spoke at the March for Life and that crowd was really energized…”

“Yeah about that. I don’t know if I really want you being so… front and center.”

“Sir?”

“I mean, the baby stuff, it’s great, it really is… but, with that big crowd cheering… I just don’t like the way it looks.”

Pence reaches for the door, to open it for the president.

“I’m not sure I follow sir, I asked you if it would be okay for me to attend in person and you said it was a great idea. I thought you were on board.”

Donald walks through the open door without saying a word, two posted Marine guards stand at attention and salute him. Pence follows after and thanks the men for their service. The president stops walking and turns toward Pence.

“Yeah, I didn’t think there would be a crowd there, just a few old grannies or something. Next time, if there’s going to be a big cheering crowd who loves me, I should be there to accept it. It just looks bad.”

Staring at Pence, the president sees a look of concern on the vice president’s face. Trump never would have chosen him as The Apprentice™, but Kellyanne insisted they needed him for “Christian-cred” even though Donald knew he nailed it when he spoke at that Christian university and showed the media his mother’s Bible.

“Look,” he says to Pence, cringing inside. “It’s alright — don’t ever do it again — but I’m not mad at you. I forgive you.”

Pence stares back at the president with that slightly amused smirk he always has. It is a look that is supposed to convey a condescending parental confidence, useful when dealing with the liberal media, but it unintentionally makes him look like he’s confused.

“Thank you Mr. President, I’m always praying for you.”

“Yeah great. I really am a great president,” he replied, only half listening.

Sean Spicer

Hate Level: I’ve made a huge mistake

The wolves are out there waiting for him. Minutes away from the first press conference, first day of his new job, the most important job of his entire career, Sean Spicer is nervous.

He looks at his watch. Hallie Jackson is about to take her seat, so is Jim Acosta. They’ve got questions, a lot of them. But none will be answered.

“Mr. Spicer, it’s time,” says Omarosa.

The bright lights, a packed room, it’s game time. You can’t blow this, he thinks. You have to be firm and whatever you do, don’t back down.

“…This was the largest audience to witness an inauguration. PERIOD.”

The press was stunned at what they witnessed - some reporters are smiling. Spicer takes no questions.

Nobody bought that. I just hope the president did, he thinks, feeling a migraine coming on.

“Sean, that was terrible. No conviction, the worst. The dishonest, failing media, including fake news like CNN, are literally laughing at you. Nobody bought it, you weren’t forceful enough. Do I have to go out there myself and do it, or should I get Kellyanne to put on some big boy pants and show you how it’s done?” says President Trump as he sits with his feet on the desk in the Oval Office.

A chuckle from behind the president - Spicer looks over to see Steve Bannon’s grey, stubbly face staring back with a grin. Wearing black from head to toe, Bannon somehow hides in a shadowy corner of the round, well lit room.

“Sir I tried my best, everybody has already seen the pictures-”

“Don’t give me that. Look at me I’m Sean Spicer,” the president says in a mocking voice, standing up from his seat and holding one hand limp in front of him. “I have no conviction cause I want to kiss my boyfriend instead of Making America Great Again.”

Bannon chuckles again, clasping his hands together, evil-ly.

The next day, Spicer approaches the podium. The press asks him again about the crowd size. Everyone leans in.

This is the moment. You. Have. To. Commit.

With confidence, he answers the first question, changing the context of all of his previous comments and giving out bogus statistic after bogus statistic about internet audiences and subway ridership and hotels. He doesn’t just lie, he attempts to… change reality.

“I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts,” Spicer tells a reporter. “Our intention is never to lie to you.”

Nearly flawless.

Later that day the president walks by Sean’s cubicle near the water heater.

“You did better today. Not great, but better,” Don says, holding a coffee mug with his own face on it.

“Thank you, sir. Thank you for pushing me to be great,” Spicer replies.

“I still may get Kellyanne to put on your jockstrap to show you how a real man does it, but for now you can go play hopscotch with your little boyfriend, knowing I wont fire you.”

Trump walks over to the coffee maker and fills his mug to the brim, emptying the pot. He then walks out of the room, turns off the light and leaves Sean Spicer alone, unable to see his notes for the next day.

In the darkness, Sean hears a chuckle.

Alex Jones

Hate-level: COINTELPRO

Alex Jones’ Austin mansion is a few miles outside of the main city. In the winter, the weather in Austin is brisk at night but mostly warm during the day. At dusk, the sounds of wildlife near the Colorado river fill the air with frogs croaking and coyotes laughing as they hunt hares and house cats.

Alone, he reaches into the fridge for his 4th Lonestar of the night. It’s getting late. Jones spends most of his waking life prepping for his INFOWARS agenda, booking guests and listening to his young staff’s pitches for stories they’re following.

The frogs make him laugh. He once said that chemicals in the water were turning frogs gay. His mantle is full of spurious awards from different conspiracy clubs and organizations. He remembers the days when he spouted off on the radio and was a curious, but beloved quirk of Austin. “Keep Austin Weird” is the city’s motto that meant something all those years ago before hipsters and tech moguls turned Austin into the Silicon Valley/Portlandia of middle America. It used to bother him.

He once thought of himself as the free-est man in the country. Accepting no government control or limits to his speech. Every thought he had was valid because it was his own, untainted by outside opinion. Nobody knows anything for real. Socrates said something like that, if he even existed.

Jones is older now. He is rich, something he never considered or wanted when he started. He sells end of the world preparation kits to his loyal followers, yells at rally’s across the country, and broadcasts on YouTube. His powerful voice, amplified by a megaphone, is now clipped and edited and shared. His brand of conspiracy has been codified and monetized, inspiring hundreds of copycats and followers. The most famous of these copycats now sits in the White House.

His instincts tell him that Trump is a know-nothing who stands for nothing. His promises are empty, his ties to global elites well documented, his grasp of globalist conspiracy is amateur at best. But Jones saw an opportunity. With Trump, came a larger, less savvy audience — a chance to grow his niche, to turn INFOWARS into something closer to a mainstream, profitable alt-right website. In another time he would have made up a conspiracy about Melania being Ivanka in a mask. He would have accused Trump Tower of secretly housing the Bilderberg Group. He would have backed Ron Paul.

Jones sits in his hot tub in the back yard and relaxes. Some of his longtime followers say that he sold out. Younger, more extreme, more creative people are slowly replacing him. His audience is getting older. Jones is older.

He turns on the TV. Donald Trump says 3–5 million people illegally voted in the election, specifically the ones that voted for Hillary Clinton.

“At least that many” Jones says to himself. He finishes his beer and slides further into the water. The jets massage his back.

Paul Ryan

Hate-Level: Deal with the Devil

Paul Ryan thinks of himself as the most important voice for conservatism in the United States. He is a true family man, a true Catholic and maybe the last true conservative. When John Boehner was removed as the speaker of the House, it was Ryan who stepped up to the plate when nobody wanted to touch it. He works out. In some ways he thinks of himself as the anti-Obama, a smart, young, measured counter to the sometimes too slick for his own good ex-president. Someday, he thinks he will run for president.

His cellphone rings. The caller ID says POTUS.

“What do you think you’re doing, taking their side on my Muslim ban” Trump yells through the receiver without saying hello. “Do you think anyone cares if you’re going to be such a great guy and say all this garbage about America being for everyone. Do you think voters will care when they toss you out with the bathwater in 2018 for not staying tough on Radical Islamic Terrorism™ — which no liberal was willing to say — but I am the only one who will tell the American people — who overwhelmingly voted for me — the truth?”

“Sir, I’m sorry but America is a beacon of light for the world and we need to have compassion -,” Ryan says while thinking about the Federalist Papers before being interrupted.

“SHUT UP with that whiny garbage. Do you think you’re talking to Don Lemon or one of the other Fake News™ liberals who cry every time a terrorist is killed?”

“Sir, I don’t change who I am when i’m on the camera,” says Ryan, believing it the way he believes in the strictest, literalist interpretations of the Constitution.

“That’s not what I heard Pauly Shore.”

“What does that mean sir -” says Ryan.

“You know. Look, i’m going to get Kellyanne to say whatever it takes to get you removed from office if you don’t stop helping the media do their fake hit jobs on me. Or… do you want me to sign another executive order, shortening congressional terms to 3 years?”

Ryan thinks about all of the honorable men he has served with. He remembers the way Mitt Romney was graceful in defeat, even if privately he stewed at the results. He remembers what Boehner said to him the day he took over as Speaker of the House:

“Suck it Paul,” Boehner said, smoking a cigarette in Ryan’s office. “Have fun repealing Obamacare, I hope you and the tea party drown in Boston harbor.”

Ryan’s phone was running low on battery and his wife wanted him to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home.

“Sir, it is not my intention to hurt you or the party. Just… try not to tweet anything that will cause congress to have to answer for you.”

The phone is quiet for a second.

“Are you there sir?”

“Sorry, I was ordering dinner. Anyway, I know you’ll do the right thing. It’s not like you have a choice, because unlike your old boss, I won,” Donald says, hanging up before Ryan could respond.

A moment later Ryan sees a Twitter notification on his phone.

“If congress wont back my immigration ban, they’re responsible for the next 9/11. DON’T LET THEM HELP ISIS #MAGA” - @realDonaldTrump

Before Ryan can swipe away the notification, his phone shuts off — the battery finally dies.

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Not Trying to be a Meme

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Steven Martinez

Steven Martinez

Born mobile. @day4bananafish

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