The documents referred to in this editorial are part of a trove of classified files provided to The Onion by an anonymous whistle-blower in the White House. All of these documents can be found here.
Who is Donald Trump truly? What are the private thoughts he contemplates? And how will his presidency reshape America? As The Onion’s 300,000 staffers in its news bureaus and manual labor camps around the world continue to pore through the immense trove of documents obtained from an anonymous White House source, the answers that are emerging to these questions are deeply unnerving and suggest grave outcomes for the American people, the current international order, Wolf Blitzer, four of the five Great Lakes, and most devastatingly, the nation’s lighthouses and lighthouse keepers.
The evidence of improper—if not outright criminal—behavior is ample, from a damning series of encrypted emails sent directly to President Trump from Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, to a revealing invoice from Trump’s personal accountant charging the president $111.90 for a “replacement gas valve for [his] evidence furnace,” to a secret money-throwing party with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. The abuse of the nation’s highest office appears to be rampant and ongoing.
However, beyond the headline-grabbing scandals of Russian collusion, tax evasion, and conflicts of interest, what these documents reveal, above all else, is that there is something haunting President Trump. Throughout these pages, there is substantial proof that Trump is afflicted with some severe emotional disorder, given that he requires arm restraints in his bed and calls out the name “Frederick” whenever he sleeps, that he scrapped his plan for a new golf course because its layout was too painfully reminiscent of the supple curves of Marla Maples, and that he has his aides lay him down on the Oval Office couch each evening and repeat the words “handsome,” “luxury,” and “strong” for 20 to 30 minutes in a calm and steady tone of voice to soothe his destructive impulses.
Indeed, the president’s behavioral problems have become such a problem that his staffers have banned certain TV channels from ever being shown in the West Wing, as the accents on the BBC and the fast-moving graphics on the Weather Channel tend to induce his spastic outbursts.
But what is it exactly that haunts Donald Trump? Most notably, the president appears preoccupied with the question of his rightful claim to the presidency. In the days immediately following his inauguration, Trump signed a series of increasingly lengthy and aggressively worded executive orders designating himself as the legitimate and undisputed 45th president of the United States, legally requiring that he “be held in the same regard as all former U.S. presidents, including: I. Abraham Lincoln II. Ronald Reagan III. Barack Obama.” In addition, despite receiving a cordial handwritten letter from President Obama on his first day in office, Trump seems determined to undo his predecessor’s signature accomplishments, as evidenced by the secret executive order he issued on February 26 titled “Reversing the Harmful Legacy of Barack Obama by Reanimating the Remains of Osama Bin Laden.”
Moreover, Trump perceives anyone who disagrees with him as an enemy to be vanquished, a tendency most clearly on display in the lawsuit the president filed against a West Wing tour group for yawning in his presence and talking over his favorite Planters Peanuts commercial, as well as the defamation suit he filed against the estate of Johannes Gutenberg for “the vindictive and unwarranted character assassination” he has suffered from publications that owe their existence to the invention of the printing press and movable type. The president’s deep personal paranoia is also being channeled through the agencies he controls, as revealed in a classified CIA memo that warned the president the Star-Tribune in Wyoming was determined to release a highly damaging blog post about the administration and outlined strategies for eliminating the newspaper with military force.
What’s abundantly clear in these documents is that the president thinks almost exclusively of himself and his own personal desires, paying little attention to others, even his own family members, as evidenced by an email exchange between him and White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway regarding Trump’s youngest son. He is obsessed with the material trappings of his job, demanding that Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg make numerous upgrades to Air Force One, including the installation of marble fixtures, marble seats, and marble engines on the aircraft, and later issuing an executive order declaring that all of his favorite objects in the White House once belonged to President Lincoln, from the Resolute Desk, to the china collection, to Harry Truman’s “The buck stops here” plaque, to the White House bowling alley.
As the most powerful officeholder on the planet, Trump’s egoism, dark paranoia, and quickness to cast blame are particularly disquieting. In just his first few weeks in office, he enacted numerous secret executive actions for purposes that remain disturbingly opaque, such as the order he issued on February 15 authorizing the use of the Grand Canyon as a temporary morgue, or the one he issued just two days later enacting a mysterious program known only as the Theseus Protocol.
Perhaps most disturbingly, though, the president and his team have developed a fill-in-the-blanks executive order template that allows them to quickly and easily crack down on whichever racial, religious, or ethnic group they please simply by inserting a handful of details into the text—a “fear-inducing noun” here and “an adjective that implies ‘subhuman’ without explicitly stating it” there—and in so doing, immediately curtailing the rights of large swaths of the populace.
As Americans, we hope that our president approaches the momentous challenges of the job with a resolute, measured, and humane mind-set. However, the documents that have been tirelessly examined and reexamined by The Onion’s most highly skilled child laborers reveal that the occupant of the highest seat in our country spends more time doodling than paying attention in budget meetings and has considerable trouble completing even the most basic word-search puzzles in his daily intelligence briefings.
So what can be said about President Trump and the imprint he will leave on this country? Perhaps the only definitive pronouncement to be made is that, should his next four years follow the pattern of his first four months, citizens should prepare themselves for a stark erosion of America’s bedrock ideals and smoldering, pockmarked coastlines completely devoid of any lighthouses.