Rick Meyer’s regularly appearing column takes a lighter look at politics and public affairs around the world. This month: The Boss.
From The New Yorker: “When Lev Parnas, one of Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine bagmen, gave an interview to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow . . . , he recalled attending a private dinner in April, 2018, at the Trump International Hotel, on Pennsylvania Avenue, where the hotel’s proprietor, who works part time as the forty-fifth President of the United States, ordered a White House aide to fire Marie Yovanovitch, a veteran diplomat who was then serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. . . .
“It emerged that Igor Fruman, Parnas’s sidekick, . . . has provided a tape recording to federal prosecutors that features Trump using mob-boss language to order Yovanovich’s axing. ABC News . . . said that it has reviewed a tape recording in which a voice that ‘appears to be President Trump’s’ says of Yovanovich, ‘Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.’ “
Take her out?
Overheard in the Oval Office, at the Resolute desk, which is set with cannoli and coffee:
“Somebody’s stealing White House silverware.”
“Boss, nobody would do a thing like that.”
“Whaddya mean, wiseguy? I count the knives, forks and spoons every night. Can’t trust nobody around here.”
“But Boss . . .”
“I been stealing some of the forks myself. Just the forks. Too risky takin’ the knives and spoons too. Don’t wanna have to go on the lam. Then I pawn the forks, put a G in my pocket. . . .
“Then the outfit makin’ my hotel forks copies the White House forks, but with less silver in ’em. They give me a kickback. Couple more Gs in my pocket. I put the fake forks in the drawer. Don’t want nobody stealing ’em . . .”
“You tell anybody, I take you out!”
“One-way ride to the Potomac, wearin’ cement shoes.”
“Be a goodfella. Here’s the deal: Do this with me. You steal the real forks, and I bring the fake forks. We split the take. You get your share in large. Best deal ever! Like Vladimir Putin, the capo del capi, says, ‘You gotta be an earner.’ ”
“But Boss. . . .” An aside: “Mmmm, these are good cannoli.”
“A soldier. Then a goombah. This works out and maybe you become a capo, have your own crew. A made man.”
“What if the AG asks what’s going on with the silverware?”
“Omerta. Be a stand-up guy. Never cooperate with the government.”
“But Boss, you are the government.”
“That’s the beauty of it! Leave the cannoli. Take the forks. Fuggedaboutit!”
The Last Laugh:
“If you think your boss is stupid, remember: you wouldn’t have a job if he was any smarter.” – John Gotti, boss of the Gambino crime family.
— From The Official Book of Mob Humor, by Malcolm Kushner.
Meyer is the senior editor of Blueprint. He has been a White House correspondent and national news features writer for the Associated Press and a roving national correspondent and editor of long-form narratives at the Los Angeles Times.