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Ring. Ring.


"All right, I'll hold for Mr. Un.

"It's Mr. Kim?

"OK, I will hold for the Supreme Commander of the People's Army, Chairman of the Workers' Party, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission and Deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly. Sheesh.

"But not for long. I've got the leader of the free world here.

"No, not her. You know who. You've got Caller ID, don't you?

"Actually, he's not even here. He's in that round office, doing some easy trade war winning. But he's got a 1 p.m. tee time, so, you know, chop chop.

"Me? John Barron, though I don't see how that's really important. I do a little freelance for Mr. Trump. He's a longtime associate who has been very good to me, I'll have you know. He saved my life in the 'Nam.

"Of course you haven't. Secret mission. 'Bone spurs' was the cover. But I've said too much. He's so modest. You've never seen a modester guy.

"No, I'm pretty sure he's more modest than the Supreme Commander. Way more modest.

"OK, I get it. You've got to say that. What if we just agree to disagree? I've got my position and you've got yours. Now could you please put the Supreme Chairman on the phone?

"Yeah, I guess. But please hurry up."

The Stray Kids' song "Hellevator" plays through. Twice.

"Yes, is this Kim? OK, put him through, then I'll put Mr. Trump on the line.

"No, you go first. Yes, I called you. I took the initiative. Which means you should give a little something-something, you know what I mean? That's how negotiation works. I know because I wrote the best-seller The Art of the Deal.

"I mean, I read it.

"OK, let's go on three. One, two -- two-and-a-half -- helloCommanderDeputypleaseholdforMeesterTrump.

[clears throat]

"Hello, Kim.

"I did not just change my voice. This is how I always talk.

"You're thinking of Alex Baldwin. He sounds nothing like me. Fake news. This is how I sound. But enough about that, your English is very good. Switzerland? Really?

"You know, people don't understand. I went to an Ivy League college. I was a nice student. I did very well. I'm a very intelligent person. You know, the fact is, I think, I really believe, I think the press creates a different image of Donald Trump than the real person.

"Exactly. That's what they do. They make you out to be more uncivil than you are.

"Switzerland, huh. They make some nice watches. I know because I made my own for a while--Donald J. Trump® Signature Collection. Sold 'em through Macy's. You got Macy's there in Phnom Penh? Or wherever you are? No?

"Anyway. Switzerland. Nice watches. You know Rolex makes one called The President? I've had one of those for a long time, even before I won in the biggest landslide ever. And a Freddie Patek. And a Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968 in pink gold that used to be my lucky watch. Last time I wore that one was election night. It's deep in the drawer now. Very sad. Right now I'm into my Azad Power Tourbillon which I think comes from your part of the world ... .

"Well, I wouldn't use that word, Un. I mean, she's a film star and for sure a nasty woman, but that's a little rude. And I didn't think you wanted to discuss that ... .

"No, I heard you. OK, spell it. Hold on, let me get a pencil.

"H-o-r-o-l-o-g-y. That's what I thought you said. And I most certainly didn't call you up to discuss horology. Though I certainly could, believe you me.

"No, I'm pretty sure I know what horology is, Kim. Maybe your Swiss professors were playing a joke on the little Oriental dude with the funny haircut. Ever think of that?

"Well, believe me, I will look it up. I mean I'll have someone look it up. I'm too busy making America great again to look it up myself. Maybe I'll put Jared on it, if he's still got Google privileges. But we've got more important things to discuss.

[awkward silence]

"So you like golf? I hear your dad was quite the player.

"Yeah, I'm what they call a nice little hack. Nineteen, 27 club championships. A few trophies. I don't hit it that far anymore, maybe 320, a little more if I let out the shaft, but then I get wild.

"I don't know. My handicap? State secret. Kidding. Plus-8, maybe. Somewhere in that range.

"Wow, your dad did that? How long was the track? Couldn't have been much over 6,000 yards. C'mon.

"Seriously? And he was playing from the tips?

"You should come down to Mar-a-Lago. We could play a round at Trump® National, then head over to Doral. Still some memberships available, and you'll have reciprocal club privileges at Trump® Golf throughout the world.

[awkward silence]

"No, to tell you the truth I'm not much for basketball. I should have left those players in jail in China. And Dennis Rodman was either either drunk or on drugs. Glad I fired him on Apprentice!

"Oh, he's there now? Sure, put him on. I'll say hello.

The Wonder Girls' "Nobody" plays for 40 seconds.

"Hi Dennis.

"That's what Marshal Kim and I are trying to figure out. I don't think he's all that keen on Florida. And Panama and Scotland are definitely out now. I think he wants Switzerland, but Europe is problematic.

"No, Disney World is a non-starter for me. But don't worry about it, Dennis, Little Rocket Man and me will figure it out. Put the Dear Leader back on. The grownups need to talk."

PSY's "Gangnam Style" plays, followed by Diplo's remix of the track featuring 2 Chainz & Tyga. Then both tracks repeat.

"Yes, Un, I'm still here.

"I see. Well, let me make this counter-proposal: Let's not and say we did. Because think about it--your people don't see anything but what you let them see, right?

"I know, and I really admire that. You've got that whole perception-reality divide wired. So what if you just tell them you nuked us. Just blew us off the planet. Who's going to know the difference? I mean, you can even cook up some video--like Volodenka Putin just did--and feed it to them on DPRK Fox News or whatever you got over there and they'll all love you. I predict approval ratings in the high 90s.

"Anybody says different? Fake news! Maybe a little spritz of VX pour homme in the face! Problem solved!

"Oh, don't worry about me. I'll just tell my people you told me you didn't have any more nukes and that I believe you. Anybody says different? Fake news!

"Yeah, I know. Ain't this president-for-life gig grand?"


Philip Martin is a columnist and critic for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Email him at and read his blog at

Editorial on 03/13/2018

Print Headline: A phone call from the White House

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  • WGT
    March 13, 2018 at 6:32 a.m.

    The fact is, Phillip, you have it 100% correct.

  • GeneralMac
    March 13, 2018 at 9:59 a.m.

    To all you liberals.........who do you think North Korea feared most........'

    #1.....A 2017 United States with Donald Trump as president?
    #2......A 2009-20017 United States with Barack HUSSEIN Obama as president?

    If any of you picked #2 I have some oceanfront property in Harrison Arkansas to sell you.

  • PopMom
    March 13, 2018 at 10:44 a.m.


    The only smart thing that Trump has done is keep the same military people in place that Obama had been promoting. If there is any respect, it is for James Mattis and our military establishment--not Trump.

  • BoudinMan
    March 13, 2018 at 4:31 p.m.

    A Freddie Patek. Now that's funny right there.

  • WhododueDiligence
    March 13, 2018 at 10:10 p.m.

    Yes, that's funny but I didn't get it. I had no clue. I appreciate Freddie Patek's work but I didn't know there was such a thing as a Patek watch. As Casey Stengel suggested, I had to look it up.
    Horology, too.

  • WGT
    March 14, 2018 at 7:17 a.m.

    republicans are out! trump has disgraced the effort of striving for a “more perfect union”. He has had every opportunity to do good and has chosen evil every time! And republicans support this behavior! No more! You’re out!
    “ On some glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” H.L. Mencken.

  • Delta123
    March 14, 2018 at 9:41 a.m.

    WGT, you like ole Mencken huh? Here's another one from the Sage of Baltimore. "The educated negro of today is a failure, not because he meets insuperable difficulties in life, but because he is a negro. He is, in brief, a low-caste man, to the manner born, and he will remain inert and inefficient until fifty generations of him have lived in civilization. And even then, the superior white race will be fifty generations ahead of him."
    Need to be careful when using quotes from others to try and make your case.