Trump tweets his demands, but that's not how it works

President Trump announces the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
President Trump announces the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The Washington Post

There was something about President Trump’s goofy “I hereby demand …” tweet last week that reminded me of Michael Scott, the famously dunderheaded boss in “The Office,” but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

But then I had my first gin and tonic of the summer (yeah, I know, but this is the South) and, as the Botanist found its way down my grateful gullet, the sun broke through the clouds and I realized what it was.

It’s the scene where Michael has made more than a few bad money decisions and must declare bankruptcy.

He ponders his situation and emerges from his office to announce in a booming voice: “I … Declare … Bankruptcy!”

Yes, well. That’s not exactly how it works but Michael Scott thought it was.

And Trump, ever the blunderbuss, no doubt believes that “hereby demanding” is exactly how a president gets crap done.

Specifically, Trump tweeted: “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

While the grammarian in me bristles at Trump’s obsession with exclamation points and random capitalization, it was the “hereby demand” that got everyone else’s attention, and not in a good way.

The phrase spurred a slew of hilarious memes and tweets by people who find this ham-handed Lord Ravenscroft of Highland House lingo laughable and have “hereby demanded” all sorts of things including but not limited to “extra pudding” and “low fat Spongebob macaroni and cheese.”

Trump’s tweet called to mind a royal edict. I can only imagine his disbelief when told there really isn’t a “deliverer of really sad proclamations” who wears a powdered wig and red waistcoat and carries a shiny brass trumpet.

As one who has been, I believe, unfairly accused of having “May I speak to the manager?” hair, I can relate to wanting to make a demand or two. But I’m not the leader of the free world. I just want more tartar sauce and a clean fork. IF THAT’S NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK AND APPARENTLY IT IS.

But I digress. Mostly because I can’t honestly believe this happened.

The truth is there’s no one left in the Trump White House who has the guts to correct his behavior and advise him how to act more presidenty. Instead, he has a carefully curated crew of fans too terrified to tell the truth. If the phrase “I hereby demand” sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same one the Wizard of Oz used. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Oh, if only.

“I hereby demand?” That’s not how it works Mr. President. I mean, unless you’re serious about this whole autocrat thing. Which you may be. In which case, we’re all going to need a whole lot more gin.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.