Helsinki – The Play – Chapts 16,17,18,19 The End

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Two days later

New York Times headline.

President Trump Takes Charge

In a surprise press conference, the President admits to the nation that Russian hacking may have played a decisive role in his election. He then proceeded to give his full endorsement to the Mueller probe. He provided details of a phone conversation with Mr Putin, held earlier in the day, demanding an immediate stop to any interference with the American electoral process. Speculation has run rampant regarding the motives for the President’s about face…

The following day

Washington Post Headline

President Trump says Bye Bye to the Wall

While remaining committed to immigration reform, the President announced that he would not include building the Wall as a priority. ‘We can use the money for education and training of the American work force,’ he said to a stunned crowd in West Virginia. But there were no boos in the arena. Pundits were left puzzled at the move, with some speculating that he is feeling more secure as we head into the mid term elections, with others seeing it as an effort to broaden his support and woo the center. The decision comes right after taking an unexpected tough stance against Russian interference and openly stating that had it not been for the interference, Hillary Clinton may well have been elected President in 2016. The stock market greeted the news with relish and the Dow jumped 581 points to an all time high…

Chapter 17

Washington DC. Park. Evening.

Two men in suits approach. They spot a bench and sit side by side. They pull out their cell phones, turn them off and place them on the bench between them.

1st – Pretty crazy.

2nd – We knew he was full of surprises.

1st – It’s insane. After all we’ve done to provide him with cover.

2nd – I know. He must think we’re a yo-yo.

1st – You think the base will go with him?

2nd – They have a love affair with this guy… I don’t see it.

1st – But there it is. What bugs me is his new talk about bipartisan dialogue. Where did that come from?

2nd – You vote for him?

1st – Holding my nose.

2nd – We all did.

1st – Well, they can’t prove anything so we’ll keep our seats.

2nd – Maybe he had a stroke… one of those silent ones…

1st – Anything is possible.

2nd – Maybe he got hit by lightning… I read about this doctor who got hit during a rainstorm and became a pianist afterwards… he hadn’t been musical before.

1st – I suppose it could go the other way and you become a dope fiend. I’ll tell you this… if he gets the base to stay with him, that’s the rabbit out of the hat trick.

2nd – If he does that, he’ll win the next election.

1st – Bipartisan dialogue… can you believe it? We haven’t done that in so long we don’t know what it sounds like.

2nd – On the other hand… maybe we’ll get something done for a change.

1st – I suppose. I’m up for reelection and my opponent is getting all kinds of donations. Women and immigrants are up in arms.

2nd – You worried?

1st – A little.

They look at each other.

2nd – I’ll hate to miss our chats.

1st – Don’t count me out yet.

A gay couple goes by. They’re holding hands as they talk amorously.

Chapter 18

White House. One week later.

Press conference. Late afternoon.

The President at the lectern, Melania standing near him on one side, Ivanka on the other.

Trump – To all the women whom I have mistreated… I beg your forgiveness… in my fits of narcissism I violated your boundaries… treated you like chattel… thought myself entitled to your bodies to satisfy my carnal desires. Owning up to my transgressions is an acknowledgment of the predator impulse in me… a first step to understand it and to control it… for I have caused emotional injuries that have left you with scars. I have no doubt that… with the assistance of my wife Melania… I will in time conquer that disgraceful flaw in my character… and help me move toward becoming a better human being… and a better man. Thank you.

Reporters jump to their feet with an abundance of questions but the President simply waves to them and exits.

Chapter 19

White House. South Lawn. Midday

Melania is strolling on her own. Trump comes into the garden and calls to her.

Trump – Melania!

(she waves back at him. He approaches and they embrace)

Trump – What did you think?

Melania – It went very well.

Trump – I thought so, too. Will it help us win the election?

Melania – Dee… what will be, will be… and we’ll always have each other.

(they turn and holding hands, start to walk off)

(after a stretch…)

Melania – Have you thought about your tax returns?

Trump – Ah, those… let me think about that one some more.

                                                            The End

This play was written in 2018, right after Trump and Putin’s conference in Helsinki.

My intention was to help the president change course and lead the country in a different direction. Events, however, turned out to be quite different.

This work is copyrighted Oscar Valdes. 2018. All Rights Reserved. also available in, apple and google podcasts and buzzsprout.

This is a dramatization of events. I do not know Mr Trump, Melania or Mr Putin.

Helsinki – The Play – Chapts 14 & 15

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Oval Office – 3 AM

Trump is alone at his desk, staring off. He raises his hands to his temples, then he begins…

Trump – To all the women whom I have mistreated… I beg your forgiveness… in my fits of narcissism I violated your boundaries… treated you like chattel… thought myself entitled to your bodies to satisfy my carnal desires. Owning up to my transgressions is an acknowledgment of the predator impulse in me… a first step to understand it and to control it… for I have caused emotional injuries that have left you with scars. I have no doubt that… with the assistance of my wife, Melania… I will in time conquer that disgraceful flaw in my character… and help me move toward becoming a better human being… and a better man.

(he swivels in his chair to face the window that looks out onto the city)

Trump – I’ve memorized my culpability speech… but will I ever make it public?

(he leans forward, hands clasped, the mood pensive)

Trump – Melania would say that it’s the right thing to do.

(he stands up)

Trump – Will I be mocked? I can see women saying, ‘It’s too late’… questioning my sincerity. Some will try to take me to court… but without any physical evidence, I should be okay. What worries me is what my base will say. They accept me as who I am. A manly guy who loves… but that’s in the past. I’m giving it up. For Melania.

(he turns to walk into the room, hands held in back)

Trump – What will the political fallout be? This finding my higher self… and my emotional depth… has political risks. And then Melania wanting me to be a bipartisan president.

(he stops)

Trump – I’m not saying it’s not possible but it’s a stretch. Still, I have to find that sweet spot in me from where to draw the strength to confront Putin. And I have to find it now. Could it be… that making my culpability speech public… will take me where I have to go?

(he sits by the fireplace)

Trump – Something about owning up to the truth as a source of psychological strength. What would I say to Putin?

(he pauses, then narrowing his eyes leans forward and begins to speak to the imaginary Putin)

Trump – Look man… whatever you have on me, you have on me. I don’t care what it is. I do not care. If you helped me get elected, so be it. That’s right. I owe allegiance to my country, got that? That’s right. I owe allegiance to my people… that means everybody. Native and immigrant. White, Black and Brown and whatever lies in between. Protestant and Catholic, Jew and Muslim. And yes, I’ve taken a vow to protect and nurture the American mind. With whatever wrinkles it may have. So here’s the deal, Vladimir… you have to stop interfering in my country’s elections… or in anything else. Did you get that? By hook or crook, it has fallen to me, a hotel businessman from New York, that great city who survived 9/11, to protect and enhance the American way of life… with all its defects… because we keep learning, buster, did you get that? We keep learning so we can make it better, and if you don’t stop… then I will start piling up sanctions on you… one after the other, until your people are sick of them. And once they get to that point, they’ll come to you and say, ‘what’s the deal, Vladimir? Are you representing us or are you on a power trip? Because we’re the ones getting hurt with the sanctions, not you.’

(he sits back in his chair)

Trump (still addressing the imaginary Putin) – What did you say?

(he leans forward again)

Trump – That your interference in the election was vaster than it’s known? Okay. Then put it out, man. Just put it out. You can’t prove anything. You do not control the American mind. Period. Okay? That’s your delusion. And you do not control my mind. No one does. I am now putting an end to the nightmares, all right? Do you understand? I am in control of my mind. That’s it. Case closed. Dismissed.

(he nods and sits back)

Trump – I like that. It felt good.

(he crosses his legs, now more relaxed)

Trump – You are not Russia, Vladimir, like I am not America. Our nations are greater than us. Better than us. Smarter than us. And if you don’t stop your cyberwarriors, I’m warning you, I will punish you with sanctions ‘til your people are hurting so bad they’ll tell you to go to hell.

(he smiles to himself, a hint of regret)

Trump – I should’ve said something like that in Helsinki but I didn’t. Okay. We get to have second chances in this country. And third ones. I’m taking mine.

(he stands)

Trump – Wow, I feel lighter. This feels good. Melania had a point.

(he stretches his arms over his head)

Trump – I feel great, beautiful. Yes! I liked the part about our countries being better and smarter than us. It just came out. Love it.

(he walks back to the window, looks out)

Trump – Wow… feeling the way I am… I might just… what?

(a thought occurs to him that takes him by surprise. He is astonished)

Trump – Really? I’ll be darned. Who would’ve thought? I should tell Melania. She’s probably asleep, though. But I’ll wake her up, she won’t mind. No… it can wait. No… it shouldn’t wait.

(he crosses to the door to exit but stops. He turns around and looks in the direction of Andrew Jackson’s portrait. He walks over and stands before it.

Trump – Stonewall… I wanted to tell you… right here, today… and God is my witness… that I’m taking a vow to protect and nurture the American Soul.

(Jackson smiles at him)

Trump – Thank you, buddy.

(he returns to the door and exits the office)

Chapter 15

White House. Bedroom Suite. 4 AM

Melania is at the table, writing on her journal. Trump enters.

Trump – Hey, how come you’re up?

Melania – Wanted to wait for you.

Trump – That’s sweet.

(he goes to her and kisses her. He pulls up a chair and sits opposite)

Melania – Something’s on your mind.

Trump – Yes, I was talking to Putin…

Melania – This early…?

Trump – The imaginary Putin…

(she is intrigued)

Trump – … and I told him he had to stop the interference. Period.

Melania – Okay. You’re practicing…

Trump – It’s done. I’m going to do it.

Melania (surprised) – I need to hear this…

Trump – You will. Tonight, for sure. I want to go over it again. But that’s not what I wanted to tell you.

(he takes her hands in his)

Trump – What I wanted to tell you was that it felt great telling Putin to back off or else. I don’t care what he has on me. And feeling great I had this thought I wanted to share with you.

Melania – What?

Trump – You won’t believe it.

Melania – The suspense grows…

Trump – Feeling as good as I felt from my conversation with Putin, I realized…

Melania – Yes…?

Trump – That we don’t have to build the Wall.

(Melania gives a gasp)

Melania – Are you serious?

Trump – Yes, I’m going to walk it back.

Melania – Oh, my god.

Trump – It was a ripple effect from my imaginary talk with Putin. I realized that I could come out as a leader… and that doing so meant telling my base that… after careful consideration…those moneys would be better spent in programs for their education and training to acquire new skills… to help them become a cutting edge work force… and that I still would be keeping my commitment to stop illegal immigration… but that considering all costs and our existing border guards… building a Wall is unnecessary.

Melania (joyously) – I knew you could surprise me!

(she leans over and embraces him)

Trump – I realize it would be a test for my base. They have believed in me… but it’s the right thing to do.

(tears have welled up in Melania’s eyes. She dabs them dry)

Melania – I thought this moment would never come.

Trump – I know, I didn’t either. It surprised me.

(she pulls back slightly)

Melania – And the Mueller investigation?

Trump – I will endorse it as the right thing to do… for the good of the nation… a nation that is better and smarter than I am.

Melania – No more witch hunt?

Trump – No more witch hunt.

(she still doesn’t believe it)

(he gets up, takes a few steps into the room and, going down on one knee, lets himself drop to the ground to lie flat and face the ceiling)

Melania – Please tell me that this isn’t a joke?

Trump – It’s not a joke.

Melania (going to him and lying on the ground next to him) – How did this happen?

Trump – It was the nightmares… I felt so humiliated by them… and I knew I had to push back.

(he takes her hand in his)

Trump – You know what this means, don’t you?

Melania – What?

Trump – My base may not be supportive… they may not go along with me… they may feel betrayed and I may not be nominated in 2020… if I survive the Mueller probe. But I have to do the right thing… or I’ll be running scared and in shame for the rest of my life.

Melania – I love you.

(They turn to face each other, while still on the ground)

Melania – When are you going to tell Putin?

Trump – Tomorrow. And then I’ll hold a press conference.

Melania – Does anybody else know?

Trump – Just you. It will be a surprise. I won’t tell anybody in advance. I will then fully endorse the importance of the Mueller probe.

Melania – What do you think the party will say?

Trump – I don’t care. For some things I don’t consult the party. I’m not a committee.

(she gently caresses his face)

Melania – Have you thought of apologizing to women?

Trump – I have. I’ve memorized that short speech you heard a while back. But I want to wait a few days before I go public. I promise I will.

(they kiss… and make love)

Oscar Valdes   available in, apple, google podcasts and buzzsprout

Helsinki – The Play – Chapts 12 & 13

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Moscow – Putin’s Dacha – Afternoon

Putin is outside with his dog, standing on a little hill by the lake.

Putin – Why do I do it? For the pleasure of it. The pleasure of seeing the dominant nation in the world being tossed about by our actions. The pleasure of seeing them go at each other…. doubting, hating, reviling each other.

(He laughs)

The supposedly dominant nation in the world… electing whom they elected… hating immigrants when they are a nation of immigrants… questioning their values… what is there not to like about that?

(He smiles, picks up a stone and throws it far off and into the lake. His dog gives a start but Putin calms him down)

The more confusion I stir in that land, the weaker their resolve to block any move I make to extend my influence or my territory. I, on this side, Xi Jinping on the other, both enlarging our spheres of influence… squeezing the Americans. And the more divided they are, the more China will continue to insert itself in Latin America… right in their backyard… and in Africa, too. Meanwhile, I strengthen my support for Far Right movements in Italy, Hungary, Poland, even Germany. Let the Americans bicker with the Europeans… the more distracted the better.

(He laughs)

I have time. Oh, the virtues of autocracy. One nation, one man.

(He pets his dog)

Do I need to do it? Out of a sense of self preservation? Yes. But there’s also the satisfaction of having control over the lives of other men and women. Men and women who live under the delusion that they are free.

(He kneels down to speak to his dog)


(The dog licks Putin’s hand)

Because he made money in his hotels he thinks he can be a leader… ha!

(The dog makes an affectionate sound. Putin stands again)

But we’ll see… for sure, once I get his tax returns. Still, there’s that virus that could spread here… or anywhere… the virus of wanting an open dialogue… the virus of freedom… freedom to criticize… to question authority… to make money… to be all you can be… to dare climb the ladder… but no, I will not have that here in Russia. But I’m not really worried. After all, we’re the land of the Czars… of Stalin… of institutionalized cruelty… the mass killing of dissidents… Russians killing Russians… by the millions… we have a long way to go to heal those wounds… if ever… America has never experienced such abuse as Russians endured… except for Black Americans… but nothing… nothing like we have.

(He turns to his dog)

Our cyberwarriors will take care of things, won’t they, Washington? So we can even out the playing field.

(The dog makes a wimpy sound)

I need to get you something to eat.

(The two start walking down the little hill towards the dacha. In the distance, guards in black garb are posted at various locations)

                                                                     Chapter 13

A very dark, rectangular room, barely lit, and Trump sitting at one end.

The same shadowy figure with no discernible features, a black suit and a hood over his head, appears at the other end. As before, at the wave of the Man’s hand a chair materializes and he sits facing Trump.

Trump – You again?

(The Man nods slowly)

Man – You’re running out of time. The mid terms are coming up… and the democrats are gaining… so unless Mueller clears you… they will likely move to impeach you.

Trump – On what grounds?

Man – Mueller is scaring some folks.

Trump – Their word against mine. Can you be more specific?

Man – Cannot. But you’re the big fish…

Trump – And a good incentive for someone to flip. But I know that. I’m not worried, though. We’ll keep the House and the Senate, I’m sure about that.

The Man leans forward, arms on his legs.

Trump – Say, how come I can’t see your face?

Man – I don’t have one.

(Trump squirms)

Man – What mistake did you make?

Trump – Mistake?

(Trump looks down at the ground, searchingly)

Man – If you know, you may still have a chance.

(A moment passes. Trump looks up at the Man, still unable to come up with an answer)

Man – Don’t know?

Trump – Melania… she’s talked about the need for dialogue…

(The Man nods slowly)

Trump – … building bridges…

(The Man nods again)

Trump – Finding my higher… self…

Man – And?

Trump – I don’t think it’s in me.

Man – I see.

Trump – What do you see?

Man – Really want my opinion?

Trump – I don’t know… I suppose…

Man – There may not be enough time but here it goes…

Trump sits back, bracing himself, wary of the Man’s answer.

Man – You played the one note… and that’s all.

Trump – The one note?

Man – Same note, again and again… you got lucky that the one note attracted a lot of customers at the start… but you got stuck on it… and here you are, well into your second year and you’re still on the same note.

Trump (puzzled) – One note?

Man – You need more than one note to find your depth as a leader.

(Trump hangs his head for a moment)

Trump (anxiously, quickly) – One note… two notes… three notes… what difference does it make? I keep my promises.

Man (calmly) – The thing is, leading is about much more than that.

Trump – More than keeping your promises?

(The Man slowly reaches forward with his long right arm, and keeping it extended then turns the palm of his hand upwards. Trump draws back)

Man – Touch the soul…

(Trump is tempted to reach out and touch the Man’s hand but is afraid of it)

Trump – Touch the soul? The soul? Ha! Look, I’ve made a lot of decisions in my year and a half…

Man – But have you led?

Trump is disconcerted.

Trump (timidly) – No?

(The Man shakes his head very slowly)

Trump (rousing himself) – What about the stock market, it’s going up and up, and the GDP, the tax cut, the low unemployment… I’m giving people what they want… money…money! Isn’t that what we’re all about, the rest just empty pieties?

(Trump lets out a loud laugh but the Man doesn’t stir, all the while keeping his arm extended, the palm facing up. A somber expression then settles on Trump… fearful that he’s missing out on something but unable to overcome his fear)

Trump (not giving up, rousing himself again) – Remember Liza and Joel in Cabaret… the movie? Money Money Money! Makes the world go round!

The Man lowers his head and pulls back his arm.

Trump – What’s the matter with you, you don’t watch the movies… you too good for them?

(Trump stands up abruptly and is surprised he’s able to do it)

Trump (looking at his wrists) – Hunh…. I thought I’d be held back… like the first time… how come I can move now?

(The Man stands up)

(Trump takes a few determined steps toward the Man but then stops. They look at each other in silence)

Trump (softly, tentatively) – You think I have it in me?

(The Man pauses, then turns and starts to walk away)

Trump – Hey, wait a minute. I asked you a question!

(Trump lunges for the Man but the figure disappears and Trump ends up falling to the ground. Slowly, he sits up and looks around at the dark and empty room. The Man’s chair is still there. Trump gets up and approaches it carefully. He sits on it. Now he hears the disembodied voice of the Man)

Man (voice over) – One note.

(Trump covers his ears, frightened. All is still. He lowers his hands slowly, then, seized by a fit of rage, jumps to his feet)

Trump (shouting full blast) – God dammit! I said goddammit! Do you hear me? God dammit! The hell with everybody! God dammit!  Yes, you, god… damn you!

Man (voice over) – One note.

(Trump drops to his knees, head bowed, and starts to cry softly,

A moment passes, then he begins to raise his head… as tears stream down his face… and while extending his arms upwards…)

Trump (pleadingly, anguished) – Can’t I have depth? Can’t I? Please God… give me depth!

White House – Bedroom – 2 AM

(Trump wakes up with a startle. Melania is asleep at his side. He rubs his face, then gets up and crosses to the window. He opens the drapes and pulls up a chair. He sits and looks out into the night.

Melania awakens. She looks at him)

Melania – What happened?

(He shrugs)

Melania – Another dream?

(He nods)

Melania – Want to talk about it?

(He says nothing. She rises and goes to his side, stands beside him and begins to rub his shoulders)

Trump – I have to make some decisions.

(She kisses the crown of his head)

Melania – Just know that I love you.

Oscar Valdes   also on, apple and google podcasts and buzzsprout.

Helsinki – The Play – Chapt 2

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Trump strolls by himself in the White House lawn. It’s already dark. After a while he goes back inside and into the Oval Office. He sits at his desk.

Trump – I could’ve been more forceful. Melania’s right. Why wasn’t I? That’s my ghosts coming back to haunt me. Moral beacon, she says. Hmm. How do you do that? There’s no way in hell that I’ll ever fill those shoes. I don’t see it. I can make us some money, that I can do, but moral beacon?


I think I can win this trade war, I’m pretty sure about that. And I’m sure I can get most NATO members to pay up their share of defense spending. And then there’s the tax cut. That’s made a lot of people happy. And tax receipts may be even higher because of it, it’s happened before. Not that I haven’t pissed off a good share of folks, too, but that’s part of my shtick.

He now looks at the portrait of Andrew Jackson on the wall to his left. He gets up and goes to stand before it. After a moment, he crosses to sit on one of the chairs by the fireplace.

Trump – Not everyone has been a great president. I’m sure I won’t be the worst.

Do I like Putin? He’s a smooth operator, so I do like him. But Melania’s point is that, in the clutch, I blinked. And she’s right. Being the president, I can be bossy with everyone under me. I can say whatever I want and get away with it. From here on out, and for the rest of my days, I’ll have a security detail protecting me and I’ll be able to say what I damn well please. Not that that’s ever stopped me.


So why did I hold back when the reporter asked the question in Helsinki? Did I want to be nice to Putin? Yes. Does he have something on me? No. He does not. But my deepest fear is that the hacking was more extensive than it’s been determined. And if that is so, then the argument that Putin swayed the election becomes stronger. Even if it can’t be proven. And he could say that he put me in the White House.

He shifts his weight on his seat.

My failing has been to not have been willing to publicly accept that possibility. If Mueller ever came out with evidence of larger scale Russian machinations, then my election, and that of all Republican office holders, would be tarnished with the stain of illegitimacy. Cries would rise for me to surrender my post to Hillary. Of course, I wouldn’t do that because there would be no proof. But I would go down in the history books as the interloper president.

He gets up and returns to his seat behind his desk.

Trump – I’ve liked it up here. It’s been stressful but it’s been a lot of fun. Deep down I’ve always felt that I got in on a fluke. Lost the popular vote by a good margin… which I’ve tried to blame on the undocumented.


I can come up with some good ones, can’t I? I’m feeling comfortable in the gig and wouldn’t want to give it up. They’ll have to kick me out. I don’t see how.

He pivots his chair to look out the window.

I can see why Putin wouldn’t want to show his hand. He knows I’m insecure in my position… yep… he knows that… and he would like to work it to his advantage. He can just keep denying he knew anything and, in the meantime, do all he can to cover up the evidence so Mueller can’t get to it. Whatever that might be. But he could bring it out at any moment, if he so wished. He wouldn’t dare show it to me, though… no, he’s too smooth for that. But who knows what he’s capable of.

He sits back and runs his fingers through his hair.

Trump – Would everything I’ve done be invalidated? Good question. Everything I’ve done being erased. Wow. As if I’d never done anything. The legal battles would be long and arduous, since every election would be contested. The whole country would be thrust into a crisis.

He leans forward, elbows on knees, lacing his hands. He’s tired. He looks at his watch. It’s 10 pm. He gets up and stands by the window, looking out.

Putin had never interfered with an American election as he did in mine. Not that we know of… not on this scale. But he saw the debates, the chaos and free for all, and he saw his opportunity. He must’ve said, ‘I can fish in troubled waters’… and he threw in his hook. I suspect it had my name on it.

He crosses his arms.

I could do what Melania is saying, do a complete turn around and embrace the Mueller probe. But I’m scared. Scared they will find something… and I can’t get that monkey off my back.

A knock at the door.

Trump – Who is it?

Melania – It’s me.

Trump – Come on in.

She steps in and goes to his side. She circles his waist with her arm and leans against his shoulder. They both stare out the window.

Melania – Pretty night.

Trump – Yes.

He puts his arm around her shoulders, presses her to him.

Melania – What have you been thinking?

Trump – Legitimacy.

She says nothing, then rubs gently the back of his neck.

Trump – I got in, somehow, but something is missing.

They remain standing for a moment.

Melania – Let’s go to bed. It’s late.

Oscar Valdes.  available on, apple podcasts and buzzsprout.

Helsinki. Chapter 1

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Trump and Melania are sitting in their White House suite. At the table.

Melania – What happened?

Trump – Nothing. The press, as usual, is making much too much of it.

Melania – I was watching. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

Trump – Why?

Melania – Because in front of Putin, of all people, you devalue our intelligence services.

Trump – Didn’t I come right back and correct myself?

Melania – ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative,’ you add casually. Sorry, that won’t do. And then you go right back into your old rant that there was no collusion.

Trump – Rant?

Melania – What else am I supposed to call it?

He gets up and walks over to the window.

Trump – It was a bad moment, I’ll agree.

Melania – it is the beginning of the end.

He crosses his arms as he looks out into the evening light.

Melania – That video clip will haunt you for the rest of your life.

Trump – Right. And you see me shaking in my boots, don’t you?

Melania – All the worse.

She rises and steps over to join him.

Trump – I thought you believed me when I said there was no collusion.

Melania – Still do, but your contempt for the Mueller investigation undermines your case. And you’ve been stuck in that position.

Trump – It’s all politics. They’re after my head and I won’t hand it over.

Melania – If you’re innocent, what is there to fear?

Trump – You’re being naïve. They have a way of setting up traps.

They look at each other.

Melania – Putin, who annexed the Crimea and invaded the Ukraine, Putin, whose people shot down the Malaysian airliner…

Trump – It didn’t happen on my watch.

Melania – You think he’s holding back because of you?

Trump – He hasn’t annexed more territory.

Melania – Not yet.

She shakes her head disapprovingly.

Melania – As president, you stand for something far larger than yourself…

Trump – It’ll blow over, like everything else.

Melania – Not this. In Helsinki, you failed.

He crosses his arms.

Trump – You really think this is all that damaging?

Melania – It is the beginning of the end.

Trump – Well, then, my lady, it will bring me great pleasure to prove you wrong.

Melania – Do you really not believe that Russian hackers interfered with the election?

Trump – They set up some fake accounts but their impact didn’t affect the outcome.

Melania – The electoral votes of three states where you won by less than 80 thousand votes made the difference.

Trump – You cannot prove that those fake accounts changed their minds.

Melania – You cannot disprove it, either.

Trump – The point is then moot.

Melania – How could that large scale operation go on in Russia without Putin’s consent?

Trump – There’s always rogue operators.

Melania – Rogue operators?

Trump – Yes, of course. Look, I don’t know everything that goes on in this country.

She looks at him, incredulous.

Melania – You don’t think Putin is a dictator, with complete control of his country?

Trump – There are different kinds of dictators, some likeable and some not. Russians like Putin. For the most part.

Melania – And you do, too.

Trump – Do I like Putin? Personally? Yes. I do. What’s wrong with that?

Melania – What’s wrong with that is that when you were elected president you became the moral beacon of the nation, and when you like Putin you’re letting him off the hook.

Trump – I said I like him personally, that does not mean I approve of his actions.

Melania – But you believe his denials. That’s where the liking comes in.

Trump – It’s tactical. My greater aim is to negotiate with him, to keep world peace. And to do that I need to have a common bond.

Melania – You’re giving him a free pass.

Trump (angrily) – I’m not giving him a free pass!

Melania – That’s not what the clip showed. It showed you fooling yourself, and because you’re our president, you’re fooling us too.

He turns and takes a few steps into the room.

Trump – Where does it say that when I became president, I became the moral beacon of the nation?

Melania – It’s implicit.

Trump – I’m a deal maker. I was elected to solve problems and that’s what I’m doing. I was elected to put more money in people’s pockets, to cut back on regulations, to cut back taxes. I was elected to raise tariffs so I can protect the wellbeing of my fellow Americans. I was elected to stanch the flow of immigrants into this country because we have enough already and they’re taking advantage of us. I was elected to make America great again. To do that, I have to deal with a lot of folks. And it helps if you like them. It’s easier to do business and you get more done. Anyway, the voters must’ve been fed up with moral beacons that they chose me.

Melania – They are already regretting it.

Trump – Really? Well, here’s my answer to you. I’m going to get reelected in 2020. I know that. I already have a lot of money coming in in political contributions and there’s no one – no one – who will come even close to matching my campaign treasure. Money talks.

Melania – Put another way, Money Trumps Morality.

Trump (chuckling) – I live in the real world, Melania, not in a purity bubble. I may not have been moral, according to you, but I have been successful.

Melania – Will Vladimir be in the stands cheering you on when you get reelected?

Trump – I hadn’t thought of that but now that you mention it, I just might invite him.

He returns to the window and stands next to her.

Melania – Does viewing the video clip of Helsinki not make you sick?

Trump – It does not. I’m not squeamish.

Melania – Then there’s something wrong with you. Deeply wrong.

Trump – Have you not known that for a while?

She looks at him.

Melania – I have.

Trump – And still you stayed.

Melania – Yes.

Trump – You’ve enjoyed the accommodations?

Melania – I suppose.

Trump – Having my child?

Melania (testily) – Our child.

Trump – Enjoyed being in the limelight?

Melania – Nothing of what you’re saying discredits me.

Trump – If you think I’m morally corrupt, then you are too.

Melania – You’re in such a rush to put me down, aren’t you? But you overlook that I’ve been willing to work with you. You, who unlike me does not view marriage as a commitment to improve each other, no matter what the circumstances, known and unknown.

She walks off a few paces then turns to face him again.

Melania – Have I enjoyed the trappings of power? I have. But I am not cheering you on, am I? No, I am taking you to task as I should. As usual, though, you have trouble sorting out your personal discomfort.

He lowers his head as he joins his hands in front of him.

Trump – We’re cut from the same cloth, dear, and we might as well have fun with it.

She smiles wryly at him.

Melania – There’s a difference.

Trump – What would that be?

Melania – I’m going to do something about it.

He looks at her distrustfully.

Melania – That video clip that did not make you sick but did me and millions of Americans, showed you desperately wanting to be liked by Putin, and that goes well beyond allowing oneself to like someone because it might help transact business. What the clip showed was that, for some reason, you need to be liked by Putin.

Trump (irritated) – I don’t need to be liked by Putin!

Melania – Go back and watch the clip.

He closes his eyes and quiet follows.

Trump – You are wrong. Very wrong.

He goes back into the room at sits at the table. He leans forward, rubbing his face, then sits back.

Trump – I would never betray my country.

Melania – I know you wouldn’t. But Neville Chamberlain, in 1938, didn’t set out to betray England when he let Hitler talk him into trading part of Czechoslovakia for a promise of peace.

She returns to the table to join him. She takes a seat.

Trump – Why has there not been more of an uproar about what the clip showed?

Melania – There has been an uproar, you’re just growing deaf to public outcries. You prefer to listen to Fox News and talk to their commentators who tell you what you want to hear. And so, slowly, you’ve been slipping into a cocoon that others are too eager to provide.

You want a glass of cider?

He nods.

She goes into the closet and gets a bottle of cider and some low calorie crackers. She opens the bottle and serves the crackers. He pours the cider.

Trump – You want to have sex?

Melania – No.

Trump – Why not?

Melania – It would be a distraction. 

He sips from his glass.

Trump – Did you want to talk about Stormy Daniels?

Melania – We’ll get to that. We need to talk about your legitimacy as president.

Trump – My legitimacy?

Melania – Yes. We have reason to question it.

Trump – There’s no way of proving that the interference made a difference. It’s a witch hunt.

She picks up her glass and holds it up high.

Melania – ‘Please, carry on folks, as fast as you can, let’s clear the air. Do make haste, for the sake of the country, for there are many other things that need our attention and are being neglected.’

(then turning to Trump)

Will you ever be able to say that about the Mueller probe?

He shrugs dismissively.

Trump – We should talk about Stormy.

Melania – Stormy can wait. And Karen and whoever else.

Trump – Melania… I’m a flawed man and you’ve known it all along. And dammit, I’m innocent! I did not collude with Putin!

Melania – Then start acting like it!

They say nothing for a moment.

Melania – Openly criticizing staunch allies like Theresa May and Angela Merkel is harmful… and so is starting a needless trade war.

Trump – I need my war.

Melania -Sure you do. And you do to distract us from addressing your legitimacy. Bluster and blarney.

He rises and walk off a few paces.

Trump – Mueller will try and set me up.

Melania – You just don’t trust our institutions, do you?

Trump – Maybe I don’t.

Melania – And you do not trust yourself with Putin.

He turns around.

Melania – If you had trusted yourself, when the reporter asked the pointed question about Russian interference, you would’ve calmly turned to Putin, looked him in the eye, and said, ‘my intelligence services have established that there was interference from your nation in our elections, and it is them whom I believe.’

He shakes his head in disagreement.

Melania – And when the reporter pressed you for an answer to his second question, demanding you publicly warn Putin never to do it again, you could simply have replied, ‘the time and place for that is my prerogative. I make my choices. Thank you. Next question?’ And you could’ve done so with dignity because with your first answer you had taken the reins.

He turns and heads back to stand by the window, looking out.

Melania – But who knows what you said to him when you met in private, with only the translators.

They say nothing for a moment.

Melania – It’s a problem Dee… a big problem. If you don’t trust yourself, they why should we trust you?

He crosses to the foot of the bed where his jacket lies, picks it up and walks toward the door.

Trump – I’m going for a walk. Need to clear my head.

He exits.

Oscar Valdes.   Available in – apple podcasts and buzzsprout