According to the Kremlin, President Trump has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House for an official visit. Were this to take place, it would be the Trump administration’s largest state visit yet, and by far its most controversial, given the accusations of collusion and the shaky relations between the countries of late. In short, it would be a delicate situation, and Mr. Trump must, within reason, do his best to be a gracious and diplomatic host.
Here are some etiquette guidelines for our president, to help him make the most out of this historic occasion. But feel free to modify any of these tips for personal use any time you’ve got a fascist coming over for tea and cookies.
Do: Greet your guest with a firm handshake.
Don’t: Do that creepy aggressive, overcompensating thing you do where it looks like you’re trying to pull somebody’s arm out of its socket.
Do: Bestow upon your guest a few gifts that represent the beauty and bounty of the United States.
Don’t: Hand him a MAGA hat full of fries and a promise to “throw in Melania” in exchange for a real estate deal.
Do: Graciously accept delicacies from your guest’s homeland.
Don’t: Consume any of them until Eric has tasted them first.
Do: Allow your guest to take off his shirt, if that helps him feel at home.
Don’t: Take your own shirt off under any circumstances.
Do: Congratulate Mr. Putin on his huge victory in the March election.
Don’t: Do this if everyone around you is begging you not to.
Do: Implore Mr. Putin to cease all campaigns of disinformation and divisiveness against the American people.
Don’t: Beg him to follow you on Twitter.
Do: Say that “open and fair elections are the key to a thriving democracy.”
Don’t: Wink while you say it.
Do: Bring up the subject of disarmament, reminding Mr. Putin that the only way to win a game of nuclear war is to not play.
Don’t: Dare him to blow up the moon.
Do: Host a news conference with Mr. Putin in which you deliver a few prepared remarks about the importance of friendship between your nations.
Don’t: Improvise. Please.
Do: Fly the red, white, and blue from every lectern and flagpole.
Don’t: Forget that these are also the colors of the Russian flag.
Do: Praise your guest’s home country for its many contributions to world culture.
Don’t: Mention that the FlynnBot 5000 has been malfunctioning, the ManafortDoll has never worked properly, and the Papadopatron unit thinks it’s a real boy.
Do: Use words like progress, cooperation, and freedom.
Don’t: Use words like fire, fury, or stormy.
Do: Express your admiration for Mr. Putin’s hands-on leadership.
Don’t: Tell him he can put his hands wherever he likes.
Do: Condemn your guest’s long-running history of having journalists and political opponents poisoned and murdered.
Don’t: Casually rattle off the names and addresses of your least favorite journalists and political opponents.
Do: End the summit by emphasizing the positives and making plans to continue working together.
Don’t: Cry when he leaves.
Patrick Rapa is a freelance writer living in South Philadelphia. @mission2denmark