by Gallagher & Schleicher
Dear Mr. President,
We were thrilled to learn on the Twitter machine that you’ll be visiting the Lone Star state in support of Sen. Ted Cruz’s re-election bid in October, pending your son’s indictment schedule. The Cruz campaign is in trouble with all the momentum behind his energetic challenger, U.S. Congressman “Beto” O’Rourke. We forecast your visit will shake something up.
As native Texans with excess legal and PR experience, we offer the advice below on maximizing your visit while minimizing further criminal liability and reputational damage. We disclaim any warranty the trip will be risk-free.
O’Rourke is on a roll. Sad! His visiting all 254 counties resonates with Texans who like to talk about local and state issues and to shake a candidate’s hand in their own towns before sending them off to Washington. Cruz tried a similar approach, visiting every county in Iowa, but it’s proven less effective.
You’ll note we refer to Rep. O’Rourke as “Beto” in quotation marks, and always with air quote gestures when spoken. This is to draw attention to his childhood nickname and deep connections with the large Latino community, which we are told your supporters deplore. Odd how Hispanics show affinity for Anglos — just not the other way around.
Which brings us to Sen. Cruz. Avoid the temptation to mock his given name: Rafael. Your supporters may think it sounds undocumented … besides, you’ve already successfully established the Lyin’ Ted™ brand, which nobody disputes and all can pronounce. Still, why not pivot and blame the fake news media for misunderstanding you actually meant to call him “Lion Ted”? Wizard that you are, surely you can grant bravery to even the most cowardly. Sen. John McCain’s passing reminds us that while he applied his bravery under the harshest conditions, you and your bone spurs survived the Vietnam period without having expended even an ounce of yours.
For venue, you say you want the biggest stadium in the state. You’ll naturally be drawn to the 100,000+ U.T. stadium in the state capital (which, BTW, is Austin). Thriving music scene. Burgeoning tech industry. Excellent barbeque. But also HQ to some serious nutjobs who support extremist ideas like clean air and water, accessible education and affordable healthcare. Protest optics are not flattering: your team can hold its hands over only so many camera lenses at a time.
Why not Waco, Texas (100 miles north of Austin)? Its McLane Stadium holds 45,140 — same as attended your inauguration. This facility is on the Brazos River. Sorry — nothing to do with “bras” — instead translates from Spanish as “arms” (as in limbs, not guns). Why not tell your devotees it actually translates to “Open Carry River”? After all, many attending will be “packing heat” (as we Texans say).
Timing is also important. Blocking out the days devoted to God (Sunday and Wednesday — we’ll explain church attendance later), football games (high school, middle school, then Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans) and your sacred rounds of golf leaves just Tuesday afternoons at 3 p.m. That OK?
Texans like a tall tale more than most, so “facts” thankfully won’t be essential. Some things are off-limits. Do not claim to have fought at the Alamo. Do not pronounce rodeo as “roe-DAY-oh.” Do not compliment Joanna Gaines on speaking perfect English, as with others you have praised thusly (e.g., Border Patrol Agent Adrian Anzaldua). She was born in the U.S. Further, she not only has triple your poll numbers, she even pays taxes. Besides, Cruz is a Canadian of Cuban descent, so questions about ethnic heritage are best reserved for other events.
We’d worry that you’d repeat the claim that Ted Cruz’s dad killed JFK, but chances are you will spend all your time talking about yourself and don’t realize Dallas is just 100 miles to the north of Waco. As to the final five minutes of your speech reserved for the presidential endorsement of Cruz, we regret to say we can find no meaningful accomplishments by Ted to cite. Perhaps say his name, pause for a drink of water [in Texas, one hand per bottle] and then resume speaking of yourself?
There are rumors of Ted’s b-ball greatness in middle school … the self-proclaimed “King of the Basketball Ring.” Sadly this is about as believable as you being unable to pronounce “kompromat.” There is that YouTube video of the 18-year-old Ted Cruz explaining his plans for world domination — perhaps that could be spun into a more credible fib about a Dungeons and Dragons championship?
Attacking O’Rourke directly may backfire as he doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about you. GOP efforts to shame him as someone who has admitted mistakes, tells jokes in Spanish and once played in a punk band have only helped his poll numbers. And did you see that sick video of him skateboarding at Whataburger?
We are left with no good options and so urge you to abandon the teleprompters and free associate — i.e., the bad-acid-trip-of-a-speech you’re going to give regardless of what we advise. Blame the drought on Jeff Sessions. Take credit for this year’s dearth of mosquitoes. Recall the biblical proverb that “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Surely that grants you permission — when all else fails — to pivot to Hillary’s emails and lead the congregation in the great hymn of your faith, “Lock her up! Lock her up!”
Wishing you all the success you deserve, we close in cautioning that come November, “God [may] bless Texas.”
David Gallagher is a transplanted Texan, living and working in London, England, and tweeting @TBoneGallagher. David Schleicher is an attorney who blogs at ContranymTimes.com. This column originally appeared in the Sunday, September 9, 2018 Waco Tribune-Herald, where the Davids are on the Board of Contributors.