It can happen to the best of us — to the worst of us, even. You say one thing, but you meant something completely different. Like that time Churchill meant, “We shall always surrender!”
President Trump, fresh off of his triumphant Surrender Summit in Helsinki, says what he meant to say when asked whether Russia had undermined the 2016 election was, “I don’t see why they wouldn’t have.” Instead of ‘would have.’ Uh, OK.
In an unrelated story, the president issued an executive order dictating the American flag shall henceforth be a white pillowcase and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has been renamed Trotsky Square. Also, in an renewed effort toward inclusivity, now when you call the White House, you’ll hear, “Press 3 to hear this message in Russian. Press 4 if you’re Muslim, and wait right there.”
There’s a lot of speculation the reason the president rolled over on the stage, belly up and paws in the air in the international signal for submission, is because he is deep in debt to unsavory Russians. Or that Putin has some interesting video in his possession. Ridiculous, I say! Why, all it would take is just one look at the president’s tax returns … aww, never mind. But trust him when he says he really is a thousandaire — the bigly richest thousandaire ever in the history of richedness. Everyone knows money equals decency.
And, seriously, is it possible there is anything on tape that could embarrass this guy? I think nyet. Possibly, a ménage à trois with Boris and Natasha. Or Moose and Squirrel. Maybe all of them together — what is that? A ménage à quint? I need to check my Kama Sutra.
Meanwhile, as criticism raged from people who will look for any piddly excuse to hate Trump, all Real Patriotic Americans stood behind the president and his courageous surrender to Russia. After several days of stunned silence, right-wing spin doctors offered explanations. Turns out it’s actually a brilliant long-game strategy, originally devised by Robert E. Lee, whose surrender at Appomattox was really a ploy to lull the Union into a false sense of security. It’s working brilliantly. Who among us does not feel lulled?
When you think about it, Russia should get a medal for saving us from Hillary. And, really, what’s one surrender compared to our recent victory over the real enemy, NATO? Besides, we have serious problems in America. NFL players might kneel again.
The important takeaway is sometimes people misquote themselves. And just because the president doesn’t mean what he says, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t believe him.
It’s common for newspapers to run corrections after they say one fake thing but meant another fake thing. In that spirit of accountability, here are excerpts from The Definitive Collection of Things They Meant to Say:
- “Make Russia Great Again.” — Donald J. Trump
- “I did have sexual relations with that woman.” — Bill Clinton
- “Mr. Gorbachev, don’t tear down this wall!” — Ronald Reagan
- “Don’t surrender until you see the whites of their eyes.” — Donald J. Trump
- “I Shot the Deputy, but I did not Shoot the Sheriff.” — Bob Marley
- “I shot a man on Fifth Avenue just to watch him die. When I hear that train a-comin’ I don’t hang my head and cry … because I know the base is with me, through hell or high hell.” — Donald J. Trump
- “It’s a terrible day in the neighborhood.” — Mr. Rogers
- “You Can Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd.” — Roger Miller
- “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ ain’t.” — Slick Willie
- “You’re hired!” — Donald J. Trump
- “I Found What I was Looking For.” — Bono
- “I’m an unstable genius.”— Donald J. Trump
- “You Can Always Get What You Want.” — Mick Jagger
- “Mexico won’t pay for the wall.” — Donald J. Trump
- “Frankly, my dear, I do give a damn.” — Rhett Butler
- “Just say yes.” — Nancy Reagan
- “I meant Merrick Garland.” — Donald J. Trump
- “Send Lawyers, Guns and Rubles.” — Warren Zevon
- “A basket of deportables.” — Hillary Rodham Clinton
- “I love the smell of capitulation in the morning.” — Robert Duvall
- “You’re going to lose so much, you’re going to get tired of losing.” —Donald J. Trump
© Tony Bender, 2018