You’ve always found that the best way to make one thing feel bigger is to tear something else down.

You tweet out your plans to have the Air Force lower the Great Wall of China, so that your own wall will be taller than it. You’re on your way back to Washington when Reince bursts into your office on Air Force One, a panicked expression on his face.

“Mr. President, I’ve just gotten a message from DC. Beijing has declared war on the United States! They interpreted your tweet as a statement that you planned to bomb them, and they’ve begun attacking US and allied vessels in the South China Sea! Thousands are already dead!”

You stare at Reince incredulously. “They took my tweet implying I was going to have the Air Force bomb them as meaning that I was going to have the Air Force bomb them?! That’s ridiculous! People should take my words seriously, not literally.”

Reince scratches his head. “Mr. President, I have to be honest—I’ve never understood what that means.”

You wave your hand in the air with exasperation. “Me neither! That’s not the point! The point is to create confusion about what is true and what isn’t. We want people to feel anxious so they look to a strong leader to tell them what is happening, rather than continue to trust existing institutions like the news media, experts, or academia.”

Reince checks his phone. “Stock markets around the world are crashing because of the news of a war between the world’s two largest economies…so, I guess if nothing else, you’ve created a lot of anxiety and confusion.”

You clap your hands excitedly. “See! And it’s only my first day on the job!” By the way, we need to make a stop in New York on our way back to Washington. I didn’t make the decision to continue as Executive Producer of Celebrity Apprentice lightly, and I want to check in on how production is going.”


Start Over