Update: President Trump did, in fact, find time amid his “many phone calls" and "many meetings” to leave a note for the incoming president! This article has been updated to reflect that.

It is customary for the outgoing president to leave a note for his successor, apologizing for the mess he has left behind and failing to include any helpful tips for how to pick it up. When he was the incoming president in 2017, Donald Trump received a nice one from President Barack Obama (sample passage: “Please note that this country is supposed to be a functioning representative democracy, and if when the next person gets here it is not still a functioning representative democracy, people will notice and they’re going to be upset!”).

Here, I have taken the liberty of imagining how Trump’s note to President-elect Biden might sound:

Dear Joe,

I have been told by many people and made to state, on camera, that I acknowledge you are the president now! Congratulations, I guess.

I have some advice for you if you’d like to be as good at being president as I’ve been.

First, as president, you can really lean on people to stay at any golf courses or hotels you own, and you should definitely do that. It’s a good source of income!

As president, every day you can access the best information in the world about what is going on, but you don’t have to. You can also just watch Fox in the residence!

They give you some pieces of paper every day that are very annoying, full of information and written in a small type, but if you don’t look at them and look bored, they eventually will stop giving them to you. Or, at a minimum, they will make sure the ones that they give you have pictures.

One thing I did not know about the presidency is that you can do anything, because you have an Article II! And people will really let you do whatever you like, short of literally encouraging people to storm the Capitol to overturn the election results. I wish I’d known that sooner. But hindsight is 20/20.

I guess you also “can’t” actually fire people just because they are James Comey, even if those people are James Comey. I put “can’t” in quotes because, actually, you can. Just, people get very mad.

If you don’t have any ideas for what to do, I would recommend just randomly undoing everything your predecessor has done, regardless of whether it was good. That’s what I did, and I think it worked out. Also, every week, say you’re going to do something about infrastructure, then don’t! This keeps people on their toes.

Having a good team is important! When choosing your crew, imagine the phone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m. with an emergency, then think of the people who would be least likely to find where the phone was or know how to answer it. And if you have already alienated them, hire Rudy Giuliani.

Every so often you should stop speaking extemporaneously and tweeting and read something from a teleprompter, which will cause cable news anchors to describe you, without fail, as “debuting a new presidential tone.” This is fun every time.

If you play your cards right, you can get in good with really important world leaders like Kim Jong Un. Don’t worry about losers like Merkel; NATO is very cliquey.

People were always saying that American leadership in the world was so important, but actually it turns out that strongmen will sort of fill the vacuum for you, so you don’t have to worry about it. Likewise, all these things that presidents were or were not supposed to say — you can actually say all kinds of things, even on the phone to world leaders. Worst-case scenario, they will impeach you, but it’s not a big deal. It happens.

Anyway, a lot of people act like being president is some difficult, challenging job, but actually you can just sit around all day watching yourself on cable and the country will sort of take care of itself, except for the 400,000 people who will preventably die.

Be best,


P.S. This is still definitely a functioning democracy and any weird holes or dents you notice were there when I got here and not put here by me.

P.P.S. There is nothing in the vaccine stockpile. Good luck!

President Trump released a recorded farewell message that contained several falsehoods on Jan. 19. (Jayne Orenstein, Zach Purser Brown/The Washington Post)

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