Commentary: Brainstorming Trump's Inaugural Address

President-elect Donald Trump and his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, on Election Night (Evan Vucci/AP)
President-elect Donald Trump and his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, on Election Night (Evan Vucci/AP)

The Trump team is preoccupied with transition, but imagine this brainstorming session at lunch…

Donald Trump: OK, has everyone got a cheeseburger? Fine, let’s talk about my Inaugural Address.

Kellyanne Conway: Yes, we need to decide on the theme, style and substance.

Trump: Well, we already know the theme: “Strong.” And the substance is obvious: “Let’s make America great again.” So, let’s go bigly on style. We should be surprising and dramatic. What kind of entrance should I make? Could we build a giant, classy escalator?

Reince Priebus: Given the timetable, I don’t think that would be practical.

Trump: How about a helicopter? We could buzz the crowd for a few minutes, and then land on the stage.

Steve Bannon: How about arriving in a tank? That screams: Strength! You could have a four-star general, or Chris Christie, as the chauffeur.

Trump: I like it. It’s very George Patton.

Conway: But people associate Mike Dukakis with a tank. The media would say it seems copy-cattish.

Trump: Yeah, the dishonest media would make fun of me. Oh well, Melania wouldn’t like crawling out of a tank anyway.

Priebus: I favor the traditional entrance.

Trump: You mean, just a red carpet, with famous TV interviewers asking who we’re wearing?

Priebus: No, I mean, just the usual motorcade…with you in the presidential car with President Obama.

Trump: What?! Why should I ride with him? The focus should be on Donald Trump.

Bannon: Absolutely. Let’s make a statement by you driving in alone, in your own limo. Melania could sit with you in the front seat.

Trump: And Ivanka between us. And Barron. And in the back, Eric and Donald Jr., and their wives.

Priebus: And Tiffany.

Trump: Hey, there’s only so much room in a limo. People need to be able to stretch their legs.

Conway: Let’s get back to the theme. You say “strength.” What do you mean, exactly?

Trump: No, the word is "strong," not strength. “Strong” is a stronger word. The message is the same as at my rallies: “I will make America greatly strong again. So strong, your head will spin. Believe me.”

Priebus: Well, your team will do that — not just you alone. You don’t want to sound too boastful, right?

Trump: The American people did not vote for a team; they voted for Donald Trump. They want to hear and see Donald Trump. They want to see my hair and my family. They will not be seeing a “team.” You guys will be in the bleachers. Anyone have a problem with that?

Priebus: No, you’re absolutely right. This is your show. We’re just honored to be your apprentices.

Bannon: And not celebrity apprentices — just the regular, white nationalist kind of apprentices.

Conway: I agree with all of that, and so do the American people. My latest polling shows that people love you, Mr. Trump. They trust you, and think you are the strongest president-elect in history.

Trump: Yes, and my popularity just gets bigger every day. That recount supposedly showing me losing the popular vote by over 2 million votes is so rigged! On my first day, I should issue an executive order banning the words “popular vote.” I won; that means the voters chose me as the most popular. Ever.

Priebus: Yes, it’s so unfair. And I’m sure we will have many more fans in Washington for your events than that so-called Million Woman March to protest your inauguration.

Trump: Maybe I should make a few remarks about those protesters before I read my official Inaugural Address in the Teleprompter. You know, I could bash them as losers, and say they are un-American.

Conway: I don’t think that’s a good idea. It would just give them more attention. Let’s ignore them.

Trump: Maybe you’re right. But I could insult Rosie O’Donnell and that would make clear that we’re not going to tolerate unpopular protesters.

Bannon: That could be a message in your inaugural address. You could say: “We will not let unpopular protesters ruin our great American democracy. We will be strong against enemies at home and abroad.”

Trump: I like it. There are a lot of strong words in that message; including the word, "strong."

Priebus: So we have finished our brainstorming?

Conway: Yes, I can flesh out the rest of the speech with things you’ve said in past rally speeches.

Trump: And look through all my tweets, too. That’s a gold mine of strong sayings.

Bannon: Thanks for the lunch, Mr. Trump.

Trump: That reminds me: Why don’t we tell people to call me “Mr. Trump” instead of “Mr. President”? Many people have been called, “Mr. President” -- it’s so common. But my brand is blazing hot right now. And it would sound strong just to call me, “Mr. Trump.” You know, like Caesar went with his own name. “Hail, Caesar.” They didn’t say, “Hail, Dictator”…or whatever his title was.

Priebus: Whatever you say, Mr. Trump.

Bannon: Yessir, Mr. Trump.

Conway: I think this cheeseburger has given me indigestion…

Headshot of Todd Domke

Todd Domke Republican Political Analyst
Todd Domke is a Republican political analyst for WBUR.



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