In a free press, journalists must expose the truth even if it upsets those in power. Our work often leads to significant backlash, and we at The Onion are no strangers to receiving threats of legal action. While we generally dismiss them as the baseless accusations they are, we recently found an old cease-and-desist letter from the president’s personal attorney that has caused us to reexamine this policy.
Our editorial board would like to formally announce that we have finally read Michael Cohen’s 2013 email regarding his client Donald Trump and would like to discuss the matter further at his convenience.
In 2013, we published a piece by Mr. Trump titled “When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years.” Mr. Trump’s column, which was thoroughly vetted by our editors, simply endeavored to offer any of The Onion’s over 10 billion readers who had found themselves depressed about the state of the world a hopeful reminder that he would mentally and physically deteriorate and most likely die very soon.
Shortly thereafter, we apparently received an email from Mr. Cohen. Unfortunately, this email must have been improperly sorted by one of the Malaysian children who work in our mailroom, and was only discovered crumpled up under a pile of journalism awards in a remote corner of our offices last week. We read the email, and given Mr. Trump’s ascension to the presidency since its writing, we want to apologize for the delay and would be delighted to meet with Mr. Cohen in person—at the White House, perhaps?
In the spirit of transparency, here is Mr. Cohen’s letter, printed in full:
While we respectfully disagree with Mr. Cohen’s assessments, we understand that he is duty-bound to safeguard his client’s public image, a task he has no doubt fulfilled time and time again throughout his many years of dedicated service. With that in mind, we would like to, at long last, take him up on his request that we “contact immediately to discuss.”
As Mr. Trump is now the leader of the free world, now is clearly the best time to resume our discussion. While it is generally not our policy to let outside forces affect our editorial decisions, the opportunity to gain a direct line to the president clearly presents a special case. We would be more than willing to accommodate Mr. Cohen’s wishes—provided we get something in return, of course. A quid pro quo, if you will.
We believe the removal of the piece in exchange for influence over the president’s decision-making constitutes a more than reasonable deal, and we implore Mr. Cohen to meet with us without delay. We are happy to schedule around his upcoming court appearances.
Mr. Cohen, in trying to reach you, we have called both phone numbers you provided us and even sent a courier to your New York offices. After receiving no reply, we can only assume you are trying to stonewall us. We are growing concerned that you have remained silent because you have been building a rock-solid case against us for the last five years, and in fact shudder to even imagine the detailed, thorough, and likely damning charges you would bring forward. But it does not have to be this way.
In your letter, you implore us to “Guide yourself accordingly.” These enigmatic words have haunted us ever since. Although we assume no small risk in asking the president’s own accomplished and ingenious lawyer for help acquiring Oval Office influence, we believe that a partnership between us and Mr. Trump, shepherded by your steady hand, is the most fruitful way forward for the president, for The Onion, and for America.
We eagerly await your reply.