We’ve come a long way since New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger met privately at the White House with Donald Trump — and all of it in the direction. Sulzberger, recall, was there to chastise the president for his heated rhetoric, which, the Times chief said, was “not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”
Sulzberger also chided Trump over this use of the term fake news, which since the meeting the Times has continued to produce on a fairly regular basis.
But on Sunday, the Times took a break from fake news to publish non-news, more specifically political fiction. The Times Book Review called upon five prominent spy and crime novelists — Joseph Finder, Laura Lippman, Jason Matthews, Zoë Sharp and Scott Turow — to imagine the next chapter in the Trump Russian collusion drama.
All paint a fairly unflattering portrait of President Trump, but one in particular must have warmed Sulzberger’s cockles. A month before his meeting at the White House, his paper took flak over its corporate sponsorship of a production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in which the main character, who is assassinated at the end of the play, was made up to look like Trump.
Assassination was a theme once again in one of the five submissions to the Book Review, but this time it had a novel twist. Here’s the money portion:
When it was time, [the Russian] went downstairs, took his place in the lobby before the [president’s] entourage appeared. The hotel staff had been lined up to see their boss, the president, go by. A few of them applauded. Most did not.
The president didn’t seem to notice. He waved, in his desultory fashion. The Secret Service agents clustered around him, ushered him toward the armored limo idling outside at the curb.
The Russian waited until they were a few steps past before he drew the gun. He sighted on the center of the president’s back, and squeezed the trigger.
The Makarov misfired.
The Secret Service agent at the president’s shoulder heard the click, spun into a crouch. He registered the scene instantly, drawing his own weapon with razor-edge reflexes.
The Russian tasted failure. He closed his eyes and waited to pay the cost.
It did not come.
He opened his eyes. The Secret Service agent stood before him, presenting his Glock, butt first.
“Here,” the agent said politely. “Use mine. …”
Neat-o: The president is done in by a member of his security detail!
Not only that, but notice the other signs of contempt for the man: “The hotel staff had been lined up to see their boss, the president, go by. A few of them applauded. Most did not.” [Emphasis added]
This the Times has no qualms about publishing. Yet it’s publisher claims to be concerned about the president’s dangerous rhetoric.
What a joke.