Stephen Ross, surgeon to the presidents. (Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg News)
Columnist

Great news! A medical miracle! We feared it could never be done. We feared we might lose the patient on the operating table. But he has come out of it — alive, if not intact, which was the point.

“I have known Donald Trump for 40 years,” Stephen Ross, owner of SoulCycle and Equinox Fitness clubs, and megadonor to President Trump, said in a statement upon attempting this risky operation of separating the president into palatable parts, “and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others, and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions. I started my business with nothing and a reason for my engagement with our leaders is my deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country’s economy.”

What news! Ross even announced that the breakthrough operation was such a success that he would throw a $250,000-a-plate fundraiser for the patient!

For a long time, the question had hovered: Could you support Trump — but none of the vile forces that blew at his back? The racism, the sexism, the downright cruelty? At first it seemed impossible. What in Trump was more integral, more key to him and to his entire appeal, than his hatreds? They were ingrained to the marrow of his bone spurs. They started before the escalator, even before his birtherist conspiracies. If he could be separated from them, why, what would not be possible?

But now, it seems, you can choose your own Trump, entirely bespoke! Trump a la carte, straight from the Build-a-Trump Workshop. Design one with all of the hair and none of the racism, a creature limited only by your own imagination and brought to life by an embrace (but not of white nationalism)! How easy it will be to live now, for those not deeply touched.

You can ignore all the parts that seem unsavory. You can say, “I like when at his rallies he leads people in cheering the word ‘her,’ which is empowering to women. But I do not agree with the words ‘send’ and ‘back’ on either side, or ‘lock’ and ‘up,’ as the case may be.”

You can say you liked the part of his policies where ICE agents let immigrant parents living in Mississippi take their children to school but quibbled with the part that followed.

You can like the part where he visited the victims of shootings in El Paso and said nothing, but disapprove of the parts where he opened his mouth. By such degrees, he quickly starts to seem presidential. You can almost convince yourself you are living in a pleasant time, when democracy is not being strained to its limits.

Sever the things you enjoyed and ignore the rest, and he’s suddenly a great communicator to whom anyone might toss reams of cash with no cognitive dissonance whatsoever. At the ballot box, people could select their preferred Trump: Regular, with all the hatred, or Diet, a brown paper bag filled entirely with tax cuts.

If Trump can be divided against himself and stand, what other separations might not be impossible? Flags could mean heritage only and not hate. Statues could represent nothing at all. You could do anything to anyone, as long as you made it clear it was not personal. It might not make a great difference to the person on the receiving end, but —

Oh — no, I am sorry. The celebration, it seems, was premature. It has been reported that Trump remains in one piece. This was just the usual operation: a man being severed from his conscience.

Read more from Alexandra Petri:

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