I think I’ve been too hard on Donald Trump. To be more evenhanded, let me contribute a few ways he and his legal team might rebut Department of Justice suspicions of criminal behavior.

The dog ate my homework. Items the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago included empty folders. Many had contained a classified document up to top security designations. Who else would be responsible but a dog? Admittedly, this denial contains a few holes. The files weren’t presidential homework since Mr. Trump was no longer president. Then again, he and his followers insist that he is (see below).  

The dog ate my files. See above.

I had a bad-hair year. You count on a great stylist and expensive gel, but sometimes your hair betrays you. You can’t be expected to deal with cartons filled with newspaper clippings, photos, TIME magazine covers and random documents perhaps revealing nuclear-weapons secrets. 

My crown was in the shop. You got pissed. Don’t we all? You hurled your diamond-encrusted gold crown against a wall. It got dented. The repair shop promised to get it back to you. No matter how often your staffers call, the shop keeps holding on to it.

I was focused on my golf game. A great leader promotes and maintains enduring values. Who could oppose fitness (a golf swing burns calories) or protecting the environment by using an electric golf cart? Although global warming is a hoax, right? (The heat dome over California? Hot air from San Francisco Dems.) What better way to keep in touch with real Americans than to press the flesh with the members of your golf clubs?

I really am president, really. Mr. Trump may not reside at the White House, but he believes. How can we dismiss someone exhibiting such deep faith that he recently posted on his social media outlet that he should be made president immediately. If not, a new election should be held so he can be voted into office for the third time. I get it. Last June, I declared myself the National Basketball Association’s most valuable player. I’m still waiting for my trophy.

But give credit. Without my assistance, the Trump team came up with a tactic that has gotten results, if only short-term:

The matter of the files is no more important than returning an overdue library book. Trump attorney Jim Trust used that one in requesting a special master to find documents exempt from DOJ scrutiny. Judge Aline Cannon of the Federal Court District for the Southern District of Florida (a Trump nominee) bought it. Last Monday, she enjoined DOJ from using seized materials for any “investigative purpose” until a special master went over them. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will continue perusing the files to determine how national security—ours and our allies’—may have been compromised. But to paraphrase Richard Nixon, “If a president leaves top-secret documents in a desk drawer in Florida, there’s no compromise.”

I’ve tried to be helpful, but this all seems straightforward. Trump is A) Incompetent, B) Dismissive of all ethical and legal norms, or C) Living in another universe. I’m going with D) All of the above. 

Have any alibis for the Trump team? Leave a comment. If I don’t respond, it’s because the dog ate my laptop.

Order Lola Flores in softcover or e-book from or your favorite bookstore.

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  1. Ron Laupheimer on September 9, 2022 at 11:33 am


    As I read the Post, I could feel how much you enjoyed preparing it. All of what you said is so true, unfortunately. Reading it brought a smile to my face and I need that in the crazy world we are currently inhabiting.

    Enjoy having Carolyn home after Burning Man!

    Shabbat Shalom.


    • David Perlstein on September 9, 2022 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks, Ron. I enjoyed writing it on one hand—but not having to write it on the other.

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