Donald Trump isn’t the best at words. And since 2016 is the hell from which we can never escape, his former election opponent Hillary Clinton had some fun with that fact.
Clinton took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon with a letter purportedly “from the archives” of former President John F. Kennedy. The letter, addressed to the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, overtly references the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the world almost ended.
“Dear Premier Khrushchev,” it begins. “Don’t be a dick, OK? Get your missiles out of Cuba. Everybody will say ‘Yay! Khrushchev! You’re the best!’ But if you don’t, everybody will be like ‘what an asshole’ and call your garbage country ‘The Soviet Bunion.'”
The letter thoughtfully continues: “You’re really busting my nuts here. Give you a jingle later. Hugs, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.”
The letter is, of course, referencing Trump’s recent missive sent to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. After Trump’s ill-advised U.S. withdrawal from Syria – which amounted to a betrayal of our Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State – Turkey went ahead and invaded Syria.
The invasion was an obvious and unavoidable result of the U.S. withdrawal to most observers outside of Trumpworld. But Trump, who’s always believed himself to be more of a dealmaker than he actually is, felt he could convince Erdoğan to pursue peace rather than war.
So he sent a letter with a loose and informal tone, not unlike the fake one Clinton shared.
“Let’s work out a good deal! You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy – and I will,” the letter read.
Here’s how it ended: “History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.”
According to a BBC report that cites Turkish presidential sources, Erdoğan “received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin.”
Trump has had a hard time letting go of the 2016 election that saw him lose the popular vote by multiple millions while benefiting in some fashion from Russia’s since-proven meddling. Even today, more than three years after he won, you can still find him regularly laying into Clinton on Twitter, during news conferences, and at campaign rallies.
Clinton hasn’t taken the insults lying down. On the contrary, she’s leaned in on roasting Trump whenever an opportunity presents itself. And as opportunities go, Trump’s recent letter, which comes off like an angry rant that was dictated verbatim, this one was as golden as they get.
The fake letter is also a sobering reminder of the stakes here. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a dramatic moment for the United States and the world at large. Weapons were deployed and war very nearly broke out. The only thing that prevented bloodshed? Careful negotiations.
For anyone who’s been paying attention for the past three years – or hell, the past three weeks – can you even imagine a scenario where Trump capably guides the United States back from the brink of war?
That letter is funny stuff, but boy oh boy what a chilling thought.