The leaked transcripts of Trump’s phone calls to world leaders are teaching me a lot about the art of the deal. I never knew about this “you’re killing me” technique.
I especially like the way Trump discussed the proposed border wall with the president of Mexico. After a year or two lying and telling everyone in the world that he was going to make Mexico pay for the wall, he basically told President Peña Nieto that he had to play along with the lie or it would make Trump look bad.
Then when Nieto said no to the fantasy that Mexico would pay for the wall, Trump threatened him with isolation. He said he wouldn’t have any dealings with Nieto or his people. “If you’re not going to say that Mexico is going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that.” Oh no, the horror.
I wish I’d known about these techniques all the years I was driving and getting stopped by the police.
“Officer, you’re killing me here. I needed to do 80 miles per hour on this highway. I promised some people I’d meet them in 10 minutes. I can’t drive any slower than that.”
“If you write me a ticket I’m not going to deal with you or your people ever again.”
“You can’t give me a ticket, I’ve told all my friends that I could speed all I want and get away with it. You’ll make me look bad to my friends.”
But there was more! Trump also had a carrot: If Nieto went along with Trump, Trump would make Nieto so popular in Mexico the people would call for a constitutional amendment to get Nieto past the term limit for his office.
“Officer, let me get back to speeding, and I’ll see to it you’re promoted to chief of police.”
If Trump thinks that Nieto could be swayed by an unending term in office, what does that say about Trump’s own lifetime goals?
It makes me wonder what other cushy offers Trump has made to world leaders. What is he offering Kim Jong-un behind the scenes to get him to stop developing nuclear weapons?
“You’re killing me with these ICBMs, Jong-un. Tell you what, knock it off and I’ll buy you China. I’ll buy you a whole new country. You can’t turn down an offer that good.”
Trump’s calls gave me flashbacks. I remembered people I’ve known who treated me the way Trump treats world leaders over the phone. There was one I’ll call Wilbur, because I’m afraid that if I used his real name he’d hear about it and come back into my life.
Wilbur was a friend of some of my best friends, so he was always around. I couldn’t get rid of Wilbur without finding all new friends. So, what’s the problem? Wilbur got his way with my friends using all the same tactics that Trump tried to use with Nieto.
Here’s a typical scenario. Say we wanted to go to a restaurant for pizza. Wilbur would spend an hour or so building up a French restaurant he wanted to go to.
“They have the best food. They have the best service. They have the best ambience. Trust me, they’re the greatest, you’re hearing that from me, I know all the best restaurants.”
Then when we all said we still wanted pizza, Wilbur freaked. He’d laid his reputation on the line. Now we were personally attacking him and his excellent judgment. Next, he would lie and declare that the group as a whole had already decided to go where he wanted, and threaten each one of us individually if we didn’t go along with the group’s decision.
At the time I just thought, what a resounding jerk. I’ve had ticks attached to my neck that were better human beings. Wilbur’s company was less enjoyable than that of a rusty nail jabbed in my foot.
Now I see that Wilbur was just being presidential and winning, and pointing the way to excellence. I should have followed his lead.
If only I had learned the right techniques for getting my way, who knows what I might have done with my life. I could be president by now.
I could have been the greatest person ever.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time a math professor and three times homeless. He has been involved with Real Change since he supplied the art for the first cover in November of 1994. This is his regular humor column, Adventures in Irony.
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