July 2019. The White House — 3 a.m. Donald Trump tosses and turns.
MELANIA: What’s wrong, Donald?
TRUMP: I can’t sleep.
MELANIA: (Turns the lamp on.) Why, what’s bothering you? You can tell me.
TRUMP: No, no. I don’t want to bother you with my problems.
MELANIA: Donald, I’m your wife. You can tell me anything.
TRUMP: OK … The truth is, I just can’t stop thinking about corruption in Ukraine.
MELANIA: Oh, honey.
TRUMP: It’s killing me. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep.
MELANIA: Maybe you should take a Xanax.
TRUMP: I took two. It did nothing. The thing is, Melania, it’s just so difficult for some of these post-Soviet countries to set up a functioning democracy, and corruption is at the root of that. It’s endemic. These poor people who lived under the yoke of Communism for so long are thirsting for genuine democracy and. … (He wells up.)
MELANIA: What, honey? What is it? Tell me.
TRUMP: I just need a second. (Melania hands him a tissue.) Thanks, I’ll be O.K. I just feel so deeply for them. They’re a brave, decent, honest people. They deserve so much more than they’re getting. It’s such a shame. I’ll tell you one thing — I’d like to get my hands on some of those crooks! That Zlochevsky — I don’t know what I’d do to him. You know I fought in the Golden Gloves? I could’ve been a professional boxer. I had many offers. Many.
MELANIA: I didn’t know that.
TRUMP: Oh, yeah. My fights would be over so fast, I wouldn’t even break a sweat. Didn’t even take a shower. Sometimes my opponent would beg me to stop: “Please, please! Don’t hit me anymore!”
MELANIA: I would’ve liked to have seen that.
TRUMP: Unfortunately, none of it’s on video.
MELANIA: Yes, that is unfortunate. But Donald, listen to me. You can’t keep going on like this.
TRUMP: I know. The whole thing sickens me. Honestly, I’m nauseous. And Ukraine has so many other problems. I just want to do everything possible to help the Ukrainians. But how can I if there’s rampant corruption? I can’t! I can’t! (He slams his hand on the nightstand.)
MELANIA: Donald, don’t! You’re going to drive yourself crazy. You’ve got too many important things to think about here. Besides, that’s Ukraine. It’s a foreign country thousands of miles away.
TRUMP: That doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to good governance, to the best that man has to offer. It doesn’t matter what country, or where it is — everyone’s entitled to expect more from their leaders. But this corruption — it’s shameful. Shameful.
MELANIA: There must be something you can do. After all, you’re president of the United States. You’re the most powerful person in the world.
TRUMP: Yes, but this is an internal matter. I can’t just tell their president what to do.
MELANIA: You know, he used to be a comedian.
TRUMP: Yeah. I’m so much funnier than he is. You’ve seen the rallies. How funny am I? I get tremendous laughs. And I’m doing it off the cuff. It’s not “material.” None of these comedians can do that. Seinfeld. Chappelle. Rock. Theirs is all written. I’m improvising. I’m raw.
MELANIA: Maybe that’s something you should think about doing when you get out of office.
TRUMP: You know what, not the worst idea I ever heard. I like it. … (Gets an idea.) Oh my God!
TRUMP: I got it. Listen. Ukraine needs military aid to fight the Russians, and I was going to give it to them. I was going to give them so much aid, they’d be thanking me for the next 20 years. They’d rename the capital after me. I wouldn’t even be able to enter the country because they’d be draped all over my car. It would be adulation like you’d never seen because of this military aid package. I’m telling you, it’s bigger than the Marshall Plan. It’s a beautiful package.
MELANIA: O.K. What’s the idea?
TRUMP: Suppose I make the military aid contingent on them rooting out all corruption?
MELANIA: Donald! How fabulous!
TRUMP: Fabulous, right?
MELANIA: Are you sure that’s legal?
TRUMP: Of course it’s legal. I’m going to get rid of corruption in Ukraine! How could anyone possibly object to that? And by the way, even if someone does object, I don’t care. I’m doing something great for that country.
MELANIA: It sounds great.
TRUMP: You know what? I feel better. I knew I’d eventually figure out a solution. You know what I am?
MELANIA: A genius?
TRUMP: A stable genius. A very stable genius.
MELANIA: Goodnight, honey. This might be the most perfect plan you’ve ever had.
TRUMP: Yes, it’s perfect.
MELANIA: (Turns out the light.) I’m so proud of you.
TRUMP: So am I.
Larry David is a comedy writer and performer.