A year or so, when I was still working inside a post-production studio instead of at home, I had an idea. What if I wrote an interview of Trump, and then dubbed it into his mouth, in Russian, with English subtitles. Then I thought I would actually need a Trump-impersonating Russian actor so that the words came naturally out of his mouth — which fit the premise that Trump spoke fluent Russian.
Then the company I was working for got sold, and Covid happened. This grand idea was just too logistically unfeasible to pull off, and would require money I didn’t have. (Slowly I’ve rebuilt my business, thank God.)
But I had written the script, and it seems like the eve of Election Day is a pretty good time to share it. (I updated it from the original version.)
(Remember, Trump is speaking Russian. The “R” of his interviewer stand for “Reporter” — who switches to Russian as soon as Trump starts to.)
Интервью век (Interview of the Century)
R: So just to get it clear, you’re willing to give a full interview now, answer every question, and we agree to release it only when you tell us.
T: (In Russian) Yes, that’s correct. I wanted that agreement on camera. Much better than a contract.
R: (agape) President Trump, you speak Russian!
T: Surprise! I do. I think I’ve given you quite a scoop.
R: I am astounded! Do we… I mean, do you want to conduct the interview in Russian?
T: I’d prefer it. I can be my authentic self in Russian. In English I’m so used to being “him,” so loud and bombastic, it’s exhausting.
R: I think I need a vodka.
T: When I explain everything, this will all make sense.
R: (Gathering herself) Please proceed.
T: Well it started in the early 2000s when I put feelers out to build a casino in Moscow and actually met Vladmir Putin. He told me, “I like you Donald. But your business record is not too good. You don’t seem very smart. And I only invest with smart men.” I told him, “That’s fair. So how can I change that? How can I prove to you that I’m smart?” And he thought for a minute and he said, “Learn some Russian. You Americans always expect us to learn English, why not the other way around?”
T: To be honest, I didn’t take him seriously, but I thought it was a ballsy ask. I told Melania and she laughed. “You haven’t learned one sentence in Slovenian since we’ve been married, not even ‘I love you!” And that pissed me off. So I wanted to prove to her I could do it.
R: You certainly did!
(Trump speaks Russian with a Queens accent, but surprisingly fluently.)
T: And so every day I had a tutor come in, and I did one of those computer programs, and started going out to dinner with some of my Russian mafia buddies in Brighton Beach and told them to only speak Russian. They couldn’t believe that. And then I got a Russian girlfriend on the side, you know when Melania was pregnant, and had her only speak Russian to me. And I started to read Russian newspapers, and little by little, I got better and better. It was kind of fun actually.
(Reporter fans herself as she drinks Stolichnaya from the bottle.)
T: Yeah I know. It is hard to believe. That’s because at the same time I was becoming “Donald Trump” — The Celebrity Apprentice Donald Trump. And it’s so addictive, that kind of attention, I admit it. I love fame almost as much as money, but everyone thought I had a lot more money than I did, and that bugged the shit out of me. And I start reading in these magazines that the Russian economy was booming now and there were estimates that Putin was one of the richest men in the world. And so I started to form an idea.
R: When was this?
T: Right around the birther stuff. I mean I never thought Obama wasn’t born here, what an idiotic idea, but it was so idiotic that I just had to see if there were really enough people who believed it. So I did the whole “you’ll never believe what my detectives are finding” bullshit — Ha, I never even hired a detective. And they ate it up on Fox and suddenly everyone’s talking about me running in 2016. People loved this shit! I still didn’t think I could win, though. I mean I still really couldn’t believe there were that many stupid Americans.
R: What changed?
T: 2013. Miss Universe. That was my second meeting with Vlad.
R: No one knew about that.
T: It’s Russia. You guys can keep a secret.
T: So he was super-impressed that I’d learned Russian, he couldn’t believe it. “Never imagined you’d take me up on that in a million years. You must really want to build here.” And I told him I had a better idea. He said “I’m listening.” So I asked him a question. “How much do you think it would be worth to you if I ran for President and gave Hillary Clinton — that’s who they’ll nominate — a real run for her money?” You see, I knew how much he hated her. “Even if I don’t win, I guarantee you, it’d be like a bomb in the system, and if I won, Jesus. All the sanctions on Russia, poof!” He was very intrigued but laid his cards on the table. “To be honest, Donald… I just don’t think you can win.” And I said, “which is why it’s a very low-risk bet. If I lose it won’t have cost you much to help me run. If I win, the payoff will be through the roof for Russia.”
And he says: “Well Donald, you don’t seem very patriotic.” And I told him the truth: “I got one loyalty, to myself. Always have, always will. They’ve all always treated me like shit, the Obamas, the liberals, the Wall Street guys with the fancy dinner parties. And Clinton, she’s the worst.”
Those were the magic words. Putin told me to keep talking.
“I’ll need you to pay for the campaign, and everything I don’t spend, I get to keep. Plus whatever the deep dirt on Hillary is, I need your intelligence services to get it. You know, the whole emails thing, Benghazi, whatever. And I also get to build Trump Tower Moscow with no payoffs either.”
It was a bet basically. That bet I could be the worst candidate in the history of the United States and still get the Republican nomination.
R: Which you did.
T: Yes. And then we met again he said I’d never go all the way, and I said of course not, but let’s say I did. What exactly would it be worth to you?
R: And how much was that?
T: Let’s just say Putin’s a generous man.
R: So, Mr Trump, why are you telling the world all of this, finally?
T: Because I just couldn’t live out the rest of my days with the world thinking I was really that incredible idiot I’d invented for a TV show. To be honest, I didn’t think it would work in a million years, I mean I honestly had no idea Americans were that dumb. And then, once it started working, what could I do but keep it up? I wasn’t going to risk losing $10 billion — oh shit.
R: So that what he paid you?
T: Well, I didn’t sign an N.D.A, so yeah.
R: And more if you’re re-elected?
T: No, nothing more. Vladmir told me he’d cut me off if I won. He said, “Donald, I like the mess you’ve made of the U.S. I really do, but it’s too much. My oligarchs are pleading with me, ‘this much chaos is bad for business.’ And they’re right.”
R: So how are you making sure you won’t be re-elected?
T: What, you don’t think I’m doing a good job of that? How do you say “superspreader” in Russian?
(Trump posts this on November 4, having lost in a landslide, from his new Mar-a-Lago duplicate dacha in Russian. But rather than part with 10 billion, Putin has him poisoned, blaming it on defective Chinese spray tan. He does throw him a nice state funeral. Then marries Melania.)