Satirist Christopher Buckley meets his equal in Donald Trump


“The stench of corruption is just plain old! Exclaimed Christopher Buckley, appreciating the 45th President of the United States and his fanatical cult of enablers and sidekicks. “Do you know that word ‘olid’? It’s a nice word. It means stinky. But now we’re going to have to invent some new words for stinky.

Buckley, whose satirical novel of the current administration Make Russia more beautiful just stepped out of Simon & Schuster, was speaking the morning after Donald Trump – in a typically belligerent White House press release on a Friday night – commuted the prison sentence of his favorite criminal, the dirty trickster Roger Stone.

“I saw him this morning on television,” Buckley said of Stone, who was convicted in a jury trial last February on various counts of witness tampering, obstruction to justice and perjury – and lied to the press about his contacts with WikiLeaks. and Russian intelligence agents, including this reporter, to protect his friend Trump.

“He appeared to be wearing a black mask that could say ‘ROGER STONE FREE,'” Buckley said, speaking from the same garage office in suburban Connecticut where his late father, conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. , edited National exam, has produced thousands of newspaper and magazine columns, and nearly 60 books. “The only good thing about Roger Stone’s mask is that it hid what must have been a very smug smile.”

“The twists and turns that follow lead to a large number of serious crimes and misdemeanors, all committed incompetently.“

Stone was not only spared incarceration, nor is he a character in Make Russia more beautiful– a rare example perhaps of Buckleyan’s mercy. “The comic genius behind classics like Thank you for smoking gave us an outrageously funny novel at the height of the absurdity that shakes Washington, ”book reviewer Ron Charles of The Washington Post, wrote in a glowing review, which noted that Buckley “is not mad at Donald Trump. Instead, he seems as thrilled as a fly discovering the world’s largest manure heap.

Buckley’s last book – his 19th – is a political send-off in the tradition of his 1986 bestseller The disorder of the White House, a bogus memoir by a fictitious presidential aide, no doubt informed by Buckley’s stint in the early 1980s as editor of the Reagan White House Speech for then Vice President George HW Bush. (Full disclosure: I have been a friend of Buckley’s for many years.)

Difficult to know if it is an advantage or the opposite that Simon & Schuster published Make Russia more beautiful the same day he released the mega-bestseller of presidential niece Mary Trump Too much and never enough– just three weeks after the same editor released Trump’s White House memoir from disgruntled former national security adviser John Bolton The room where it happened.

“My beloved Mr. Karp,” said Buckley, referring to its longtime editor, Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp, “sandwiched me between Mr. Bolton and Ms. Trump. I feel like the stick of chewing gum between courses – the light palette cleaner before the second main course. My little consolation – or let me put it as hope – is that my book might still be readable in 10 years. “

His latest novel involves an unstoppable Pentagon computer, codenamed “Placid Reflux”, spontaneously meddling in the Russian elections and denying a victory arranged for Trump’s friend Vladimir Putin. The twists and turns that followed – which include a Supreme Court ruling ordering Trump to release his tax returns and the big revelation of how the Russians blackmail him – lead to a slew of serious crimes and misdemeanors, all committed with incompetence.

Indeed, the book is written as a prison memoir by a certain Herbert K. Nutterman, inmate # 107-3374-34-8 at the Federal Correctional Institute Wingdale, but previously Trump’s seventh chief of staff in the White House and before that, for 27 years until his abruptly halted retirement, hospitality supervisor at various Trump brand properties, including as director of food and beverage at Trump Magnifica, deputy general manager at Trump Farrago-sur-Mer , and finally as General Manager of the Trump Bloody Run Golf Club.

“He’s a lovable schlub,” Buckley said of his protagonist. Also Trump’s “favorite Jew”, as in “How’s my favorite Jew?” A lot of people who grew up in Queens, ”says Nutterman,“ talk this way. Mr. Trump called one of the colored butlers in the White House “My favorite African American.” There was a Navy steward at the White House mess hall with whom he always greeted: “How is my favorite Mexican today”. To be honest, I don’t think Mr. Trump had any “favorite” Mexicans.

“I say in the author’s note that this is a work of satirical fiction and anyone who sees a resemblance to himself should be ashamed of himself.“

– Christophe buckley

The victims of Buckley’s gleeful mockery — their identities undisclosed by burlesque names—Including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (“Jored and Ivunka”), Kellyanne Conway (“Katie Borgia-O’Reilly”), Stephen Miller (“Stefan Nacht von Nebel”), Sarah Huckabee Sanders (“Beulah Puckle-Peters”) ), Hope Hicks (“Greta Fibberson”), Lindsey Graham (“Sen. Squigg Lee Biskitt of South Carolina”), Newt and Callista Gingrich (“Salamander and Clytemnestra Neuderscreech”), Sean Hannity (“Seamus Colonnity”), Tucker Carlson (“Corky Fartmartin”) and, of course, the president himself.

“I say in the author’s note that this is a work of satirical fiction and anyone who sees a resemblance to himself should be ashamed,” Buckley noted. “But one of the pleasures of writing fiction is finding names. Dickens was pretty good at it. Tom Wolfe was brilliant in this area. I smiled when the name “Colonnity” swam in my memory. And “Squigg Lee Biskitt”. Sometimes they come straight to you. Sometimes you spend days doing little crossword puzzles on the notepad.

Buckley didn’t feel the need to come up with a mocking name for Trump.

Turns out the fictional Trump, while recognizable, looks a bit more nuanced and articulate than the genuine article. “I tried to make it as we know it,” Buckley said. “But if anything, my Trump might be a little less talkative than the real Trump. In the first draft, anything that came out of his mouth as a line of dialogue could have been rendered in bold uppercase letters with five exclamation marks per sentence. And in this final version, I lowered the amperage. Because, among other things, it’s annoying if a character is just screaming. “

As any current employee of the White House could attest ardently.

Buckley, meanwhile, revealed that after spending a solid year working on it, the novel almost didn’t happen.

“I wrote two drafts and submitted both – and when I reread them I was appalled,” he said. “I thought, my God, this is terrible, so I took them out. My beloved Mr. Karp accepted them, although I do not understand why. I repaid the advance.

Using the voice of an omniscient observer, Buckley had written what he had come to believe “reads very bad John le Carré, with a few humorous passages.” But it just wasn’t funny, ”he said. “Every time I write a book, I sit down and put the bold capital letters ‘KIF’ at the top of the page. And it’s the acronym for “Keep It Funny”. It reminds me that I am not John le Carré, I am not Hemingway, I am not Dostoevsky – like I need to be told these things.

“I have a little narrow talent and that’s the ‘F’ word in ‘KIF’,” Buckley said. “And it often acts like a little bit in my mouth to overpower me when I think I’m really smart.”

In this case, however, Buckley was stuck.

“Rewriting a novel is not a lot of fun,” he said. “I don’t mind doing successive drafts of a book that has a solid foundation, but rewriting it entirely, and changing everything entirely, is what my old man used to call ‘a real bore.’ Finally, after the second draft, I said to Mr. Karp, “Look, let’s forget that. I was really fed up with it all.

Karp, however, resisted defeat.

“The smart old Mr. Karp said: ‘Why don’t you do this another White House Mess? ‘ And that unlocked it for me, ”Buckley recalls. “The first person point of view of this amiable schlub who is over his head, but he can’t say no to Trump because he worked for him in the hospitality industry for 27 years.” And I immediately knew that this third version had a chance to work. It was liberating. “

““You bet!” he replied when I asked him if he was voting for Joe Biden.“

When I asked the inevitable, well-worn question – what would Bill Buckley have done with those strange times and this heterodox president? Cigar lover.

“In some cases, the vision is not just a program to adopt. Bill Buckley has written about potential presidential candidates for the 2000 electoral cycle. “It is a program that includes the visionary’s function as president. Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in programming today is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump had a slightly different form, he would compete for Miss America. “

It’s no surprise that Christopher Buckley, who divides his time between Connecticut and South Carolina (where he votes, since it’s the home state of his wife doctor, Dr. Katy Close), won’t support not the incumbent this time around.

“You bet!” he responded when I asked if he was voting for Joe Biden and Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, the Democratic opponent of Senator Squigg Lee Biskitt.

For his part, Buckley has little hope that Trump will ever pick up his new novel.

“There is speculation as to whether he can actually read above a fourth grade level,” he said. “We know he doesn’t read anything he’s been given.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.