Jared Kushner Starts A Fire

By making popcorn in a White House microwave.

Image: Brian Turner via Flickr

JARED is trying to use the office microwave to pop popcorn. He has never used a microwave before, so he is examining the buttons carefully. JARED’s DAUGHTER is having fun with NANCY PELOSI and CHUCK SCHUMER, who are visiting the White House again. They’re laughing and having a bull session, like they’re college sophomores who take a lot of classes in comparative politics and art history. GENERAL KELLY is deciding when to tell JARED it’s only a fucking microwave as GENERAL MATTIS enters, carrying an Amazon Prime box.

NANCY PELOSI [pragmatically]: Special delivery!

[NANCY PELOSI opens up the Amazon Prime box with one of the box cutters STEVE BANNON left everywhere and starts tossing soccer jerseys to her former enemies. They all read “Trump” on the back.]

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [pandering to voters her grandfather will never win]: Football!!

NANCY PELOSI [excitedly]: Wait. That’s not all. [She tosses out reusable grocery bags with Che Guevara iconography.]

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [happily]: Viva!! I’ve always wanted to go to a grocery store.

[CHUCK SCHUMER asks KUSHNER DAUGHTER if she’s ever been to a Wegmans, a grocery store chain headquartered in his district.]

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [proudly]: I’d never go to Buffalo.

CHUCK SCHUMER: Soon Brooklyn will have one!

[NANCY PELOSI and KUSHNER DAUGHTER roll their eyes at each other.]

CHUCK SCHUMER [whispering to KUSHNER DAUGHTER]: You don’t agree with CNN that the most powerful Jewish woman in America is your mother, right?

[KUSHNER DAUGHTER shakes her head no.]

CHUCK SCHUMER [still whispering]: Let’s play a game then. On the count of three, let’s announce who we think the most powerful Jewish woman in America is. [CHUCK SCHUMER counts on his fingers.] One. Two—

[KELLYANNE CONWAY jogs down the hallway, pushing a stroller carrying KUSHNER SON and excitedly yelling, “We’re Democrats!” JARED has given up trying to understand the microwave and is trying to make eye contact with someone who will help him.]

CHUCK SCHUMER [ignoring TRUMP’s tweet slamming Medicare for All]: Three!

[KUSHNER DAUGHTER shouts “Sheryl Sandberg,” as CHUCK SCHUMER says, “Arabella Kushner.”]

KELLYANNE CONWAY [breathlessly, to GENERAL KELLY]: It only took getting rid of Steve, and now we’re Democrats.

GENERAL KELLY [shaking his head]: That’s the media reframing our narrative for us.

KELLYANNE CONWAY [gesturing to CHUCK SCHUMER, NANCY PELOSI and KUSHNER DAUGHTER]: Then what are they doing here?

GENERAL KELLY [folding his staff’s new soccer jerseys]: I’ve been wanting to ask you that exact question.

[KELLYANNE CONWAY walks away from GENERAL KELLY because as far as she is concerned, she still reports directly to the President. And it’s very clear to her why NANCY PELOSI and CHUCK SCHUMER are there—TRUMP is desperate for someone to bring him a Junior’s Cheesecake. Meanwhile JARED meets his DAUGHTER’s eyes, points to the microwave and makes Christian prayer hands. His DAUGHTER smiles because she knows he is mocking the Vice President but also because she realizes he has never used a microwave.]

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [wisely]: It’s like Venmo but instead of dollars and cents it’s minutes and seconds. Enter the appropriate time increment. But popcorn can be tricky.

[JARED presses numbers indiscriminately. He has never used Venmo either.]

KELLYANNE CONWAY [sitting beside KUSHNER DAUGHTER, and code switching with ease]: Now that we’re Democrats, we can really get into it. Tell me. What’s your favorite season of “The Wire”?

CHUCK SCHUMER [interrupting]: Three, but four is right on its heels. Hold on, I should take this. [CHUCK SCHUMER answers his phone.] Hi Gary. Yes, of course, I will agree to call it tax reform even though they’re only tax cuts for the wealthy, yes. [CHUCK SCHUMER crosses his fingers, winking at KUSHNER DAUGHTER.] Yes, yes. I’ll certainly say we have an historic opportunity to rewrite the tax code.

GENERAL KELLY [offering constructive feedback]: General Mattis, I wanted to talk to you about this memo you wrote. It’s wonderful, really, but I don’t know if the word “milieu” is going to land, even if you use a graphic to illustrate.

[GENERAL MATTIS breaks rank and sniffs the air. He bounds toward the microwave. He’s used it before to reheat leftovers and knows that it’s touchy. He also knows JARED is an idiot.]

NANCY PELOSI [sitting down next to KUSHNER DAUGHTER]: So, who leaked that the President’s lawyer urged your father to resign this summer?

KUSHNER DAUGHTER and KELLYANNE CONWAY [in unison]: Steve Bannon.

NANCY PELOSI [not shocked]: How does he still know what’s going on?

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [trying on her soccer jersey]: Well, that happened while he was still here, but other stuff he finds out from Maggie Haberman.

[NANCY PELOSI nods approvingly. The microwave begins smoking. GENERAL MATTIS didn’t act quickly enough. KELLYANNE CONWAY coughs, exaggerating for effect.]

KELLYANNE CONWAY [correctly]: You’re not even supposed to be popping that. [She points to a laminated sign affixed above the microwave that reads “Absolutely no popcorn.”] Not that Democrats follow rules.

CHUCK SCHUMER [still cutting deals on the phone]: It’s the least I could do in exchange for your implying you are against Trump’s racism.

[GENERAL KELLY shouts to evacuate immediately.]

CHUCK SCHUMER [laughing]: Yes. That’s General Kelly shouting about fire. Yes. I’m in the White House. [He hangs up his call. He starts stuffing his things into a reusable Che bag, and looks for the nearest emergency exit.] That Gary Cohn loves to swear.

[GARY COHN emerges from his makeshift boiler room assembled from KUSHNER DAUGHTER’s Legos and a longhouse STEVE BANNON stole from the National Museum of the American Indian.]

GARY COHN [sharply]: What the hell is going on?

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [powerfully]: Fire alarm. Dad was making popcorn.

GARY COHN [to JARED]: I told you not to eat between meals. If you’re hungry eat a salad. [GARY COHN points to CHUCK SCHUMER and NANCY PELOSI.] What the fuck are they all doing here?

JARED [waving away the smoke from his face, which is very effectively moving it towards the smoke alarm]: They think we’re Democrats now.

[GARY COHN points to JEFF SESSIONS and MIKE PENCE, who moments ago prayed for a sign that expanding Medicaid really does exacerbate the opioid crisis, and are now high fiving each other. JARED shrugs.]

GARY COHN [staring at JARED]: What’s different? You look like you got a haircut at a place that accepts walk-ins.

[JARED looks away. He did try a new place this week, enticed by a sign with Christopher Walken’s face, and the copy, “Walkens welcome.” The sprinkler system turns on and drenches everyone. JARED slips because he is not coordinated but he does not hurt himself because he is very lucky. KUSHNER DAUGHTER ranks her favorite Wes Anderson movies with the Democrats. CHUCK SCHUMER agrees that The Royal Tenenbaums is best as GARY COHN streams ESPN on his phone. GENERAL MATTIS puts out the microwave fire with his bare hands.]