President Trump spoke about steel and aluminum tariffs on Thursday at the White House. (AFP/Getty Images)
Columnist

Here is how the news has felt this week and how I assume it will continue to be forever.

President Trump has just made an announcement that our new national policy on trade — in a stark departure from prior tradition — will be “get rid of it and then bwkljkwljsdklfjafs.” This is a nonsense string of consonants and one vowel but it was, unfortunately, the last thing said to the president on the subject. So it is what he is going with.

The president’s only previous idea about trade was entirely derived from misunderstanding an off-hand remark that a wealthy man made to him in the steam room of an exclusive golf course sometime in the 1980s, a remark he has doggedly repeated any time someone has brought the issue up — whether it made sense in context or not. For the entire past year, experts have sat down with him and tried to explain that his ideas on this subject are bad and will cause serious problems, not only for the country but for him personally, if he tries to put them into practice. But instead of listening to them, he made lip farts and pushed a golf ball around on his desk.

This week, the president held three listening sessions on trade and two other sensitive and complex subjects, during each of which he nodded, consulted a note card reminding him to nod and said completely contradictory things that, in every case, would represent alarming departures from precedent. After each listening session, the people who had been there were in a state of enormous glee and released a statement to say how surprised they were that the president promised these things, which had never been promised before, and which it had seemed, hours ago, that he was opposed to. But then when it actually came down to setting policy, John Kelly sent an advocate for a powerful interest group to visit the president right before bed, to whisper soothing consonants into his ear. So that was the policy he wound up announcing.

All the people who knew the president, and had heard he was planning to do this alarming thing took the prudent step of removing their assets from where they might be hurt — except for his sons who were busy running around with their hair on fire trying to enact a Jacobean revenge drama; and Ivanka, who, after being discovered curled up in a corner dressed in oversize footed pajamas, announced that she could not possibly be held responsible for anything as she was a mere Presidential Child.

President Trump, who is used to looking at the soothing visage of Hope Hicks as he composes his tweets about WITCH HUNTS and WIRES TAPP, was agitated by the fact that Hicks would soon be departing, so he announced just after the trade declaration that every teacher should be replaced with a howitzer, effective immediately. He also called Jeff Sessions several mean names that cannot be printed here but anyone can guess. Vladimir Putin launched 400 missiles in a decorative pattern that spelled something insulting. Nobody has a security clearance or any idea what is happening, and everyone will leave the White House soon because no one can take much more of this. How could they? How can any of us?