Helsinki — The Play — Chapters 14 & 15
Oval Office — 3 AM
Trump is alone at his desk, staring off. He raises his hands to his temples, then he begins…
Trump — To all the women whom I have mistreated… I beg your forgiveness… in my fits of narcissism I violated your boundaries… treated you like chattel… thought myself entitled to your bodies to satisfy my carnal desires. Owning up to my transgressions is an acknowledgment of the predator impulse in me… a first step to understand it and to control it… for I have caused emotional injuries that have left you with scars. I have no doubt that… with the assistance of my wife, Melania… I will in time conquer that disgraceful flaw in my character… and help me move toward becoming a better human being… and a better man.
(he swivels in his chair to face the window that looks out onto the city)
Trump — I’ve memorized my culpability speech… but will I ever make it public?
(he leans forward, hands clasped, the mood pensive)
Trump — Melania would say that it’s the right thing to do.
(he stands up)
Trump — Will I be mocked? I can see women saying, ‘It’s too late’… questioning my sincerity. Some will try to take me to court… but without any physical evidence, I should be okay. What worries me is what my base will say. They accept me as who I am. A manly guy who loves… but that’s in the past. I’m giving it up. For Melania.
(he turns to walk into the room, hands held in back)
Trump — What will the political fallout be? This finding my higher self… and my emotional depth… has political risks. And then Melania wanting me to be a bipartisan president.
Trump — I’m not saying it’s not possible but it’s a stretch. Still, I have to find that sweet spot in me from where to draw the strength to confront Putin. And I have to find it now. Could it be… that making my culpability speech public… will take me where I have to go?
(he sits by the fireplace)
Trump — Something about owning up to the truth as a source of psychological strength. What would I say to Putin?
(he pauses, then narrowing his eyes leans forward and begins to speak to the imaginary Putin)
Trump — Look man… whatever you have on me, you have on me. I don’t care what it is. I do not care. If you helped me get elected, so be it. That’s right. I owe allegiance to my country, got that? That’s right. I owe allegiance to my people… that means everybody. Native and immigrant. White, Black and Brown and whatever lies in between. Protestant and Catholic, Jew and Muslim. And yes, I’ve taken a vow to protect and nurture the American mind. With whatever wrinkles it may have. So here’s the deal, Vladimir… you have to stop interfering in my country’s elections… or in anything else. Did you get that? By hook or crook, it has fallen to me, a hotel businessman from New York, that great city who survived 9/11, to protect and enhance the American way of life… with all its defects… because we keep learning, buster, did you get that? We keep learning so we can make it better, and if you don’t stop… then I will start piling up sanctions on you… one after the other, until your people are sick of them. And once they get to that point, they’ll come to you and say, ‘what’s the deal, Vladimir? Are you representing us or are you on a power trip? Because we’re the ones getting hurt with the sanctions, not you.’
(he sits back in his chair)
Trump (still addressing the imaginary Putin) — What did you say?
(he leans forward again)
Trump — That your interference in the election was vaster than it’s known? Okay. Then put it out, man. Just put it out. You can’t prove anything. You do not control the American mind. Period. Okay? That’s your delusion. And you do not control my mind. No one does. I am now putting an end to the nightmares, all right? Do you understand? I am in control of my mind. That’s it. Case closed. Dismissed.
(he nods and sits back)
Trump — I like that. It felt good.
(he crosses his legs, now more relaxed)
Trump — You are not Russia, Vladimir, like I am not America. Our nations are greater than us. Better than us. Smarter than us. And if you don’t stop your cyberwarriors, I’m warning you, I will punish you with sanctions ’til your people are hurting so bad they’ll tell you to go to hell.
(he smiles to himself, a hint of regret)
Trump — I should’ve said something like that in Helsinki but I didn’t. Okay. We get to have second chances in this country. And third ones. I’m taking mine.
Trump — Wow, I feel lighter. This feels good. Melania had a point.
(he stretches his arms over his head)
Trump — I feel great, beautiful. Yes! I liked the part about our countries being better and smarter than us. It just came out. Love it.
(he walks back to the window, looks out)
Trump — Wow… feeling the way I am… I might just… what?
(a thought occurs to him that takes him by surprise. He is astonished)
Trump — Really? I’ll be darned. Who would’ve thought? I should tell Melania. She’s probably asleep, though. But I’ll wake her up, she won’t mind. No… it can wait. No… it shouldn’t wait.
(he crosses to the door to exit but stops. He turns around and looks in the direction of Andrew Jackson’s portrait. He walks over and stands before it.
Trump — Stonewall… I wanted to tell you… right here, today… and God is my witness… that I’m taking a vow to protect and nurture the American Soul.
(Jackson smiles at him)
Trump — Thank you, buddy.
(he returns to the door and exits the office)
White House. Bedroom Suite. 4 AM
Melania is at the table, writing on her journal. Trump enters.
Trump — Hey, how come you’re up?
Melania — Wanted to wait for you.
Trump — That’s sweet.
(he goes to her and kisses her. He pulls up a chair and sits opposite)
Melania — Something’s on your mind.
Trump — Yes, I was talking to Putin…
Melania — This early…?
Trump — The imaginary Putin…
(she is intrigued)
Trump — … and I told him he had to stop the interference. Period.
Melania — Okay. You’re practicing…
Trump — It’s done. I’m going to do it.
Melania (surprised) — I need to hear this…
Trump — You will. Tonight, for sure. I want to go over it again. But that’s not what I wanted to tell you.
(he takes her hands in his)
Trump — What I wanted to tell you was that it felt great telling Putin to back off or else. I don’t care what he has on me. And feeling great I had this thought I wanted to share with you.
Melania — What?
Trump — You won’t believe it.
Melania — The suspense grows…
Trump — Feeling as good as I felt from my conversation with Putin, I realized…
Melania — Yes…?
Trump — That we don’t have to build the Wall.
(Melania gives a gasp)
Melania — Are you serious?
Trump — Yes, I’m going to walk it back.
Melania — Oh, my god.
Trump — It was a ripple effect from my imaginary talk with Putin. I realized that I could come out as a leader… and that doing so meant telling my base that… after careful consideration…those moneys would be better spent in programs for their education and training to acquire new skills… to help them become a cutting edge work force… and that I still would be keeping my commitment to stop illegal immigration… but that considering all costs and our existing border guards… building a Wall is unnecessary.
Melania (joyously) — I knew you could surprise me!
(she leans over and embraces him)
Trump — I realize it would be a test for my base. They have believed in me… but it’s the right thing to do.
(tears have welled up in Melania’s eyes. She dabs them dry)
Melania — I thought this moment would never come.
Trump — I know, I didn’t either. It surprised me.
(she pulls back slightly)
Melania — And the Mueller investigation?
Trump — I will endorse it as the right thing to do… for the good of the nation… a nation that is better and smarter than I am.
Melania — No more witch hunt?
Trump — No more witch hunt.
(she still doesn’t believe it)
(he gets up, takes a few steps into the room and, going down on one knee, lets himself drop to the ground to lie flat and face the ceiling)
Melania — Please tell me that this isn’t a joke?
Trump — It’s not a joke.
Melania (going to him and lying on the ground next to him) — How did this happen?
Trump — It was the nightmares… I felt so humiliated by them… and I knew I had to push back.
(he takes her hand in his)
Trump — You know what this means, don’t you?
Melania — What?
Trump — My base may not be supportive… they may not go along with me… they may feel betrayed and I may not be nominated in 2020… if I survive the Mueller probe. But I have to do the right thing… or I’ll be running scared and in shame for the rest of my life.
Melania — I love you.
(They turn to face each other, while still on the ground)
Melania — When are you going to tell Putin?
Trump — Tomorrow. And then I’ll hold a press conference.
Melania — Does anybody else know?
Trump — Just you. It will be a surprise. I won’t tell anybody in advance. I will then fully endorse the importance of the Mueller probe.
Melania — What do you think the party will say?
Trump — I don’t care. For some things I don’t consult the party. I’m not a committee.
(she gently caresses his face)
Melania — Have you thought of apologizing to women?
Trump — I have. I’ve memorized that short speech you heard a while back. But I want to wait a few days before I go public. I promise I will.
(they kiss… and make love)
Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net available in anchor.fm, apple, google podcasts and buzzsprout