summary of online correspondence between
the Donald J. Trump inaugural team and Don Swaim
[See BuzzFeed for the unredacted version]
President-elect Calvin Coolidge on his inauguration day, March 4, 1925
1) SEAN SPICER [email from Trump's press secretary]: Mr. Trump is anxious to engage a literary personage to read a poem at his inauguration on Friday, January 20, 2017. Unfortunately, no figure of literary stature will agree. As a last resort, after Googling, we determined that you are a writer of sorts who was born in Kansas, a reliable Trump state. Mr. Trump would like to invite you to read the inaugural poem. There is money in it.
2) DON SWAIM [email]: I might be interested in reading something of my own choosing, especially if it involves money. Just how much, and will you pay my traveling expenses and lodging at the Trump Hotel in Washington?
3) SPICER: Mr. Trump's foundation will provide a suitable payoff. All the rooms at the Trump Hotel have been booked by tourists from Dubai, but we might be able to arrange a discount at the Motel 6 in Wytheville, VA, provided you furnish your own transportation.
4) SWAIM: I have a few poems by Ambrose Bierce in mind.
5) SPICER: Mr. Trump is unaware of Ambrose Bierce. Is this Bierce gentleman one of Mr. Trump's donors, and, most important, is he wealthy?
6) SWAIM: Ambrose Bierce is somewhere in Mexico, so I'm not familiar with his current status, economic or otherwise.
7) SPICER: Poems by illegal aliens, who are rapists and drug dealers, would run counter to Mr. Trump's promises to the American people.
8) SWAIM: Bierce was born in Ohio.
9) SPICER: Ohio is one of Mr. Trump's reliable states. However, he feels the poem should be by a genuine patriot, such as Tom Clancy, who unfortunately is dead, not some turncoat stealing American jobs and residing south of the wall Mr. Trump intends to build.
10) SWAIM: I wrote a book about Ambrose Bierce, which might give him a better understanding. Clearly, mine is not as celebrated as the novel by Carlos Fuentes, but it's twice as long, which makes it twice as good. Maybe if Mr. Trump read it...
11) SPICER: Mr. Trump does not read books. He is too busy creating jobs -- unlike writers.
12) SWAIM: Okay, then might I compose, in my own words, an original inaugural poem that I would read at the swearing-in?
13) SPICER: Only if it is short, no more than 140 characters, and one that celebrates Mr. Trump's many achievements. However, it must be vetted and approved by Mr. Trump's crack media team of Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.
14) SWAIM: Following deep thought and much soul-searching, and after speaking to my rabbi, priest, and an ex-wife, I have decided to turn down Donald J. Trump's invitation to read the inaugural poem at his swearing-in.
15) DONALD J. TRUMP [Tweet]: Don Swaim is a liar. He begged and pleaded to read some stupid poem at my inaugural and I turned him down flat. Real loser. Sad!