Trump -The Day After
He’s in the Oval office and his adult children, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr, are seated across.
He’s in a sad, pensive mood.
Both Facebook and Twitter have banned him from their accounts for the remainder of his term.
Some of his staff have resigned.
The phone is not ringing like it was before.
The TV is muted but still the scenes of the chaos from the assault on the Capitol the day before are replayed.
He looks at his children. They’re all quiet.
Trump — I didn’t intend for it to get out of hand. But I was well aware that the electoral ballots were being counted.
Ivanka — It was horrendous… the disrespect of the Capitol… I could barely watch it.
Donald Jr — You didn’t intend for it to get out of hand…
Eric — Right… it just happened… it was a patriotic demonstration… people need to be able to protest… it was probably some communists in the group masquerading as your supporters that stirred up the rest. We’ll have to investigate.
Trump folds his arms.
Trump — I suppose… I wanted to write my own ending to my presidency… not wait till Inauguration Day.
Ivanka — That you did.
Donald Jr (glancing disapprovingly at Ivanka) — It’s not like this is the end of his political career.
Ivanka — I think it is.
Eric — What? No. Dad… this will blow over… look at all the Senators who have come out in favor of overturning the election, even after the riots.
Donald Jr — There were too many irregularities…way too many… it’s not the end. It can’t be.
Ivanka — Excuse me, but I don’t see what’s the point of glossing over the issue. This is the end. That’s it. No more.
Eric (miffed) — The end… after 74 million people voted for him?
Donald Jr — Of course it’s not the end.
Ivanka rises and walks off a few paces before turning to her brothers.
Ivanka — Just what are you doing? You’re not helping anybody here. This is not what dad needs now… not what any of us needs now.
(she now faces her father)
What you needed from us after the voting ended and it was clear Biden had won, and still you kept denying the evidence, was for all of us to have come together, sit you down and just tell you, ‘Give it up, dad… you lost… and the longer you keep denying the truth, the more likely you will be of doing something stupid, really stupid, which is what yesterday was all about.
Donald Jr (jumping to his feet) — Stop it, okay, stop it now! You’re being disrespectful.
Ivanka — No, you stop. Since when is telling the truth disrespectful?
Eric — You’re getting hysterical.
Ivanka (calmly) — Isn’t it really easy to call me that, Eric? What about what I just said we should’ve done?
Eric — Dad had it under control all along.
Ivanka — No, he didn’t. He never did have anything under control. And he didn’t because he didn’t muster the guts to do it.
Donald Jr — Don’t talk like that!
Trump — Let her talk.
Ivanka returns to her seat. She leans forward and then, holding her face, struggles to hold back her tears as she looks directly at her father.
Ivanka — I’m sorry dad… but you screwed up… you really did… this is big… really big… and there’s no turning back, is there?
Trump nods slowly.
Trump — No… there isn’t.
Ivanka — There will be no more presidential campaigns for you… no more rallies… you’re done politically… and maybe even as a businessman…
Donald Jr — What are you saying?
Ivanka (ignoring her brother, still looking at her father) — Who’s going to return your phone calls?
Trump is silent.
Ivanka — And all because you couldn’t process the pain of your loss… all because you couldn’t pause to admit your mistakes and learn from them.
Trump now rises. He crosses to the window and looks out. The sun is setting and the city’s lights are turning on.
Trump — There it is… isn’t it? As simple as that.
I’m going to miss Washington. Yes, I am. The thing is… I had great moments as a president… I’ll never forget those moments… but I failed overall… and I did because I gave up on trying to reach out to the other side. If I had… I would’ve learned as I went and I’d have won the election. Take the Covid crisis… if I had just let the doctors take over and tell us what to do… instead of me fighting them all the way… then it would’ve been different. But I had to hog the mike. I had to be the one always in front of the camera. I was too insecure to let it be otherwise.
He turns around, walks back slowly to his seat and sits down.
Trump — Ivanka raises an issue I had not thought about… caught as I was in my own anger… I may have damaged the Trump brand… and that may affect your careers.
Eric — Never mind that, dad, we’ll deal with that.
Donald Jr — It’s not over. Give it some time… and you’ll be able to run again in 2024. And beat Biden.
Eric — People love you… and they will forgive you.
Trump leans forward and looks down at the ground for a moment. Then he looks up at Ivanka.
Trump — What do you think I should do now?
Ivanka — Apologize to the nation.
Trump — Apologize?
Ivanka — Yes, dad. If only for your dignity… for your self respect. You need to go on national television and apologize to the nation for all your mistakes. And maybe… maybe… you’ll find forgiveness.
Trump — All my mistakes?
Ivanka — Yes. You don’t have to mention them, I suppose… but just say that you’re sorry for all your poor decisions. You should include yesterday.
Trump — You think they’ll vote for me again?
Ivanka — Dad… forget about running again… what we’re looking for is for you to show humility… and maybe find forgiveness.
Trump — My political career is over?
Ivanka — Yes. Over.
Trump — I destroyed it myself?
Ivanka — You did.
Silence for a moment.
Trump — Do you still love me?
Ivanka — I do. I wish though… that I had been more forceful in trying to get you to listen to me. I regret that.
Trump — You tried… many times… but I didn’t get it. Thank you. I appreciate your words.
Eric and Donald Jr look at it each other, uncomfortably.
Ivanka — Dad… I think we should leave you alone now… so you can start working on your apology to the nation. There’s no time to waste. You must act now. I’ll be glad to read it before you go on the air.
Trump — Thank you,
They all rise and he hugs each one of them.
He remains standing for a moment and, after the door closes, he goes to his desk and sits down. He picks up pen and paper. He looks up at the portraits of past presidents. Then,
he starts to write.
oscarvaldes.net oscar valdes@widehumr