Culture


The media, which clearly watches too much Law & Order and gets all hype about minor legal procedures like grand jury indictments, won’t stop talking about Paul Manafort and the potential Russian collusion. The White House is totally not worried about it. It’s totally fine. Nothingburger! They’re so not worried, that they’ve released a series of prerecorded rebuttals. We have access to a few.

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First, some background! Yesterday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders began a press briefing by reading a viral email about tax reform, because what better teaching tool than parable that came from a Geocities.com address and has, I’m sure, no less than 112 emojis in it. Most of them flags and thumbs up. “Suppose that every day 10 people go out for beer and the bill for all 10 comes out to $100,” she began. She explains how they’d split the bill if they were following our current tax arrangement. Things do go well. We don’t need to go into it here; just know that if you’re trying to get a SHS to Venmo her share of the happy hour tab it’s going to be a chore.

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At one point, Sanders made mention that all the fictional people in her story were men which, not to cast aspersions, but we have to consider that this is the reason they couldn’t figure their bill out, not our tax code. But what do I know? I’m just the person across the bar who ordered a Manhattan, paid for it with no issues, and is judging everyone.

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Shockingly, the gathered reporters were completely uninterested in discussing the finer points of Sanders’ story. So much for Comparative Literature! With a straight face, Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to questions about the indictment of Trump’s former campaign manager and the guilty plea by former policy adviser to Trump, George Papadopoulos, by saying, “Look, today’s announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president’s campaign… The real collusion scandal… has everything to do with the Clinton campaign.”

Driving the point home, this morning, Trump tweeted out another foolproof defense, saying that Paul Manafort’s lawyer had said Manafort was innocent (something defense lawyers almost never do!) and that nobody even knew who this George dude was.

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So, there you have it. It’s a Nothingburger. Which you can split with nine of your friends if you can figure out how to pay the tab. And after that, if you’re still not convinced, read these rebuttals from the future:

Today

“Hi, Sarah Huckabee Sanders here. Just want to reiterate to you weirdos that the President has never heard of this Paul or this George guy. Or anyone named Paul or George, actually. He thinks The Beatles were a sister act featuring Ringo and John. A drummer and a singer: what more do you need for music?! That’s a fact, okay? Phil Collins, okay? Look, let me put it this way: if you go to a bar on a Tinder date but you don’t meet the person who you were supposed to meet, let’s say his name was Paul, are you supposed to split the bill with him? How? How would you even? Okay? Class dismissed.”

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Next week

“We’re still doing this? Just a reminder, the President wasn’t even aware he was running for office. How can you have a corrupt campaign manager if you don’t have a campaign. Okay? Shadow government? Okay. Deep State. Got it? The Net starring Sandra Bullock. Do you read me? The President thought Paul Manafort was an actor from The Sopranos, okay? When he met him, he signed his bicep. It was very weird. But as you’re aware, the President is a very famous man. It is a continuing shock to him that he is actually the leader of the free world. We appreciate your privacy during this difficult time. Now, as I was saying, if you go to Olive Garden and you don’t have any salad or breadsticks…”

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Next month

“It should go without saying that the President never met Michael Flynn or Mike Pence. He has a rule: he can’t be alone in a room with a Michael. He’s basically a recluse, okay? Howard Hughes up in here. Leo DiCaprio is going to play him in a movie and that movie is going to star one person because the President has never met anyone in his life. And when he orders takeout, he pays the whole bill himself, so you’re welcome, America!

2018

“Donald Trump was never President and I’m a little unclear why you keep saying that. He was an invited guest of Barack Obama and the charlatans in Hillary Clinton’s administration want to try to use that against him. It is not a crime to go to the White House and sit in it for a little bit more than a year. It is a known fact that they do not let you eat for free in the White House. So he starved, for a year, okay? Who is supposed to pay the bill for Donald J. Trump’s hunger? Okay? And that’s the tax code.”

Follow R. Eric Thomas on Twitter.





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