Note: This 2020 essay, from my good friend, novelist and distinguished teacher, Clay Reynolds, now deceased, rings as true in 2024 as it did four years ago. And no one had yet heard of the crazed full immunity folly. His lively writing delightfully walks the line between great satire and sputtering absurdity. That Trump is unchanged, indeed worse, four years later demonstrates (surprise!) that he’s incapable of learning from experience, whether good or bad. The duration and appeal of the mayhem he spews, without compassion, history, or depth of thought, speaks volumes about the enduring American psyche, at least one third of it. -Robert Becker
A Republican friend of mine noted that Trump is insisting that Biden is not offering any policies, but that he is. She (my friend) asks, “What policies?” I made her a list of the top 25 planks of Trump’s platform. Did I miss any?
Policy One: If you like your guns, you can keep your guns. If you want to change guns or buy more guns, you can do that, too. We’ll keep buying guns easy to do. Everybody gets a gun!
Policy Two: You will not be forced to have an abortion, whether you’re pregnant or not. In fact, we’ll make it just about impossible for anybody to have an abortion.
Policy Three: You won’t have to worry about paying for healthcare insurance if you can’t afford it. We’re going to do away with it unless you can afford it. You won’t have to pay for it or worry about it.
Policy Four: You won’t need to worry about the pandemic, either, because it will end two days before the election; if not, it will end someday; if it continues past someday, I’ll end it by Executive Order. It’s not really any worse than the flu, anyway; the spread is all a hoax by Democratic governors who brought it over from China to make me look bad in an election year.
Policy Five: Only losers and suckers are in the military; losers die or are captured; suckers serve. I’m sure of this because I didn’t serve. Jared didn’t serve. Donald Jr. didn’t serve, either. We tried to get Eric to serve, but they wouldn’t take him for some reason. Who knows? They’re all suckers, though. Except for Homeland Security. They’re the real patriots, and that’s why we keep their identity a secret. FBI, same thing.
Policy Six: Military generals and admirals love to make war because it feeds the industry that makes weapons of war, so they support war. People tell me that most generals are traitors and liars, anyhow. Look how many I’ve fired. I may soon be firing some more. These guys need to learn where their loyalty should lie.
Policy Seven: If somebody works for me and hasn’t been indicted or tried and convicted, then he or she soon will be. If not, I’ll fire them, anyway. Then I may pardon them if they have to go to jail. I have to talk to Barr about this. He’s way behind. I may fire him.
Policy Eight: Not one of my children is qualified to do much of anything, but I will keep them at the top of my government adviser list and make sure they are in positions of authority. Especially Ivanka, since she’s nice to look at. I might date her if Jared’s out of the picture. And except for Eric. I think Eric may be illegitimate. I hear that I have another daughter somewhere, but we’ll have to see how that works out. I keep Jared because he makes Ivanka happy. But I don’t like to have him around her, believe you me. I may send him to Iran or North Korea.
Policy Nine: I will keep all the Congressional Republicans in line to do precisely what I want by threatening their campaign funding, no matter what is good for the country. The people have no idea what’s good for them. I have done more for them than all the presidents in history. I hear this all the time, like a voice in my head.
Policy Ten: I also hear that “That government is best which governs least,” so I will have the goodliest government of all by making sure that it doesn’t govern at all. That just makes sense. I may do away with Congress entirely. It’s very expensive, and I could make a lot off of the real estate it sits on. If the Supreme Court doesn’t get on board soon, I’ll definitely get rid of that bunch of ingrates, too.
Policy Eleven: Education is not all that important; what’s important is degrees. So college degrees will be given to everyone, no matter how much education they have. Private school degrees mean more, so we’ll handle that, also. So will Medals of Freedom. Ivanka wants one for Jared, but she wants to have it redesigned first to match his accessories. I want to give a Medal of Freedom to Vladimir, but they say he doesn’t qualify. This is unfair. Everyone says he deserves one. I may give him one, anyway. We’re looking into that. We’ll see what happens.
Policy Twelve: If you don’t have a job and want a job you should get a job. Don’t ask me for a job. Or for unemployment benefits. If you’re getting unemployment, then you won’t have the incentive to get a job. Get a job!
Policy Thirteen: Social Security doesn’t work. These funds should be turned over to hedge funds for development of profits. Junk bonds are hot, right now, anyway. I’m tired of seeing our tax dollars go to Social Security when they could buy more planes and ships that I hear everybody saying that our military wants and needs. I want to get rid of Medicare, too. It may be a hoax, I’m not sure.
Policy Fourteen: As Climate Change is FAKE NEWS it doesn’t exist. Open the taps for industrial waste and raw sewage in waterways, deregulate carbon emissions, build more pipelines, do more fracking. We need to drill in all the national forests. You have to go where the oil is. Let the good times roll.
Policy Fifteen: We need more tariffs to punish the American people for government tax policies that favor outsourcing of industry to China. I don’t know why people do this. A lot of those closed factories are sitting on prime real estate, and we could use that. China is hurting right now because we won’t sell them soybeans and stuff. They’ll soon be begging for trade reforms. They’ve been ripping us off with their cheap stuff, like Apple products and TV sets.
Policy Sixteen: Infrastructure is a Chinese conspiracy. Why would I want to improve or maintain that? Who cares about streets and bridges? People can take helicopters and planes wherever they want to do like I do.
Policy Seventeen: No more written memorandums in the government; if something can’t be recited in three minutes, it’s not important. If it has to be written out, it must be in 18-point font, triple-spaced, and can’t be longer than one page. With pictures, please.
Policy Eighteen: The Wall Will Be Completed, and the American taxpayer will fund it; most of them are Mexicans, anyway, so that’s another promise kept! We also will start work on another Big Beautiful Wall to seal us off from Canada. People tell me that there are too many actors and doctors and so forth coming down here from there. They’re all a bunch of liberal extremists who support Antifa. They are hockey fans and singers and small business owners, although some, I’m sure, are good people. I hear that most only speak French. We will seal all of our borders to keep everyone in, too, especially people going to Mexico for cheap medical treatment, except billionaires on their way to Monaco or the Virgin Islands or someplace with fantastic golf courses or who need to take their boats out for a spin or have some plastic surgery done. NOBODY gets in, though, unless they’re rich or beautiful, like my wife, or Russian like my friend Vlad. No Muslims. We’ll see what happens with the North Koreans. No French, though. I draw a line there. We’ll see what happens with the Germans, too, and also with people from Sh**-hole countries like Norway or Greece.
Policy Nineteen: All the Mainstream Media must shut down, especially NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, NPR, MSNBC, CNN, HBO, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Atlantic, Harper’s, the Associated Press, Reuters, and about five or ten dozen others that only publish FAKE NEWS. Smart-ass reporters will all be fired, especially that Sneaky George Will, who pretends to be on the Republican side and a few other spies and imposters like Fake Bill Kristol. FOX NEWS will now be on all channels, along with Rush Limbaugh on all radio stations. I may replace Mike Pence with Sean Hannity. People tell me they like Hannity better than Pence. All the time. Twitter can handle breaking news offered from my personal office or bathroom. All videos of me talking will be subject to review before broadcast. Some editing may be required, and I want my people to do it.
Policy Twenty: The tax cut from last year will expire for you, unless you’re a millionaire or higher on the financial ladder. If you don’t make so much money that you never have to show your tax returns, then you lose your tax cut. We’ll have to raise taxes, anyway, on the wage-earners, since somebody has to pay for all this cost COVID-19 has created.
Policy Twenty-one: We’ll do away with the Postal Service. Who needs it when there’s Twitter and UPS? It’s expensive and a lot of trouble, and post offices are pesky nuisances sitting on prime real estate we could turn in a heartbeat. We’ll close all of them. Those ugly blue boxes clutter up the sidewalks, too. They’re gone! This will stop voter fraud that’s rampant in every state where, I’m told, millions and millions of people vote five or six times.
Policy Twenty-two: US military forces will always be deployed against any civic demonstration or protest to clear the streets and protect property. Live ammunition will be issued, and we may use tanks. We’ll see. This includes all cities and states with Democrats in mayoral or gubernatorial positions. Republican-run cities and states get a pass—for now. We’ll see. Force will be used if crowds fail to disperse or if people are seen wearing masks. Make America Great Again, and Again, and Again!
Policy Twenty-three: We have the greatest nuclear arsenal in the world with some new secret weapons. Anybody who messes with us better watch out, because our secret stuff will take them out, no problem. I’m not telling what it is, because it’s secret, but if anybody attacks us, they’re going to be in for a nasty surprise. And don’t forget Space Force! People are very excited about that.
Policy Twenty-four: We will soon have lasting peace between Israel and all the other countries in the Middle East. I’ve sent Jared there to live in our new embassy in Jerusalem to make sure of that. And he’s going to stay there till I talk more with Kim about how he got rid of his uncle. Then we may send him to North Korea or Iran. We’ll see. Jared’s already working on getting rid of the Palestinians, though. We may send them all to Yemen—we’ll see. They control some great beach-front property where they are, and we might develop it. It could be like Miami.
Policy Twenty-five: We will repeal DACA for good. We’ll send all these illegals back to where they came from. If we can’t find out where they came from, we’ll send them to North Korea. Or maybe Yemen. I’ll talk to Kim about that. We’ll see what happens.
BONUS POLICY: Repeal whatever stupid law stops a president from serving for more than two consecutive terms. People tell me that was only passed to stop one of those Roosevelts from doing it again. But don’t worry. If I don’t win, it’s because the election is RIGGED, and I’m not going anywhere! Vlad tells me this is easy to do, and so does Kim. If they want the Oval Office, they’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead hand!! It’s mine, I tell you: MINE!!!