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The President’s Burqa

Joel Schechter
March 8, 2017


By Joel Schechter

[Note: The scene that follows is composed of alternative facts that have not yet been reported. It was first performed with puppets at the Internet Archive, San Francisco, on Febraury 17, 2017.]

Narrator: Our story begins with a recommendation from the President’s press secretary.

Secretary: Today you’re scheduled to visit your first mosque, Mr. President. There’s one in Washington.

Trump: I’ll need body armor and my pistol.

Secretary: It’s not a raid. We’ve found a group of Muslim Republicans.

Trump: They’re not extremists?

Secretary: They support you.

Narrator: And so, a mile from the White House, the President’s limousine arrives at a mosque. No one greets him at the door. Inside, one man is on a mat, praying.

Trump: He’s bowing to me. I’m more popular than Allah.

Secretary: I expected a larger crowd. But the others are still being vetted.

Trump: This building would make a terrific hotel. Huge potential! A few new carpets and ornaments . . . my sons should see it . . . buy it.

(An alarm goes off.)

Secretary: Sir, we have a situation. An uninvited hostile force has entered the building. You need to take cover, Mr. President.

Trump: My ban on immigrants will protect us.

Secretary (locates burqa): We can decide that later, sir. Right now, our emergency plan requires you to wear this cover. It’s called a burqa. It will hide your face, make you look Muslim, and the insurgents might leave you alone.

(Trump puts on blue burqa. Orange nose shows through opening.)

Trump: I can hardly breathe in here. I can’t see anything either. How do I look?

Secretary: Quite presentable. Attractive, even, from a Muslim perspective.

Trump: Don’t flirt. That’s my job.

Narrator: So for the first time in his life, the President wears a burqa. It’s a great front-page photo op, but no one is taking pictures.

Trump: I don’t see how women live inside this thing. Oh, now I can see. I see men are aiming guns at me.

Secretary: You’d better raise your hands, sir. he gunmen overpowered your private security force. They claim they have a right to be here with their rifles.

Trump: I support the Second Amendment, too.

Narrator: A group of America First patriots from Montana take over the mosque, and the woman in the burqa becomes their prisoner. They recite the usual alt-right rants and threats, and denounce the radical Muslim extremist that they’re holding.

Trump: But I’m not a Muslim. I’m not a woman. Let me take off this cloth and you’ll see.

Secretary (in a loud whisper): Don’t do that, sir. They said you shouldn’t move. They think you’re wearing a vest set to explode underneath the burqa. They say you’re armed and dangerous.

Trump: They’re the ones with the guns. This is Donald Trump!

Secretary: They can’t hear, sir. Your voice is muffled by that burqa. It sounds mysterious, oddly alluring, but severely muffled.

Trump (speaks but only Secretary can hear him): If they’re undereducated white men from Montana, they probably voted for me. Tell them who I am.

Secretary: I tried. They don’t believe Donald Trump would have entered a mosque with so few guards and so few guns.

Trump: But I can talk to these men! I speak their language. (Tries to remove burqa). Get me out of here.

Narrator: After a few hours of negotiation, and promise of a large military contract to Montana Patriots, Inc., the President is released without harm. The vigilantes from Montana are praised for their patriotic security check of the mosque, and flown home aboard Air Force One.

Secretary: Mr. President, I think we both learned something today.

Trump: You first.

Secretary: I learned that even patriots have their price.

Trump (finally out of burqa): And we gladly pay the price, because . . . you never know who you’ll find inside a burqa. I wonder if Melania would wear one of these. She wouldn’t have to put on makeup. It’s just . . . [puts on burqa, speaks in woman’s voice] I’m ready darling. Let’s go.

Newscaster: In the end, Melania refused to wear the burqa, and the President’s sons bought the mosque, which became a popular Washington nightclub called The Radical Sheik. The President’s daughter Ivanka redesigned his burqa as a fashionable dress which no department store in the nation would carry. But the dress was widely seen when she wore it on the first day of her father’s impeachment proceedings.


Joel Schechter is a contributing writer to Jewish Currents and the author of Radical Yiddish and Eighteenth-Century Brechtians.