It looks like President Donald Trump has finally decided what he wants to do post-presidency: become a televangelist.
According to White House insiders, Mr. Trump spent most of last week’s “Executive Hours” in the Oval Office calling several rich televangelists for advice on how to set up his own mega church. A Trump staffer requesting anonymity secretly recorded Trump’s end of the call for a portion of a talk with Joel Osteen. The following is a transcript of the recording:
“…So you’re telling me there’s no taxes on churches? Wow… So I can tell the state of New York and federal prosecutors to go f*** themselves because all my money is for Jesus or whoever? That’s incredible! … I should have started a church decades ago! How much money do you make from your congregation in donations? … Oh, so you write a lot of books, and make movies and stuff, and make money that way? … Right, of course, you have to pretend the actual church crap is not about the money… Okay, very smart, Joel. So the compassionate sounding fluff is the hook to bring them in, and you’re basically just hawking a lot of merch? … Ha! Not taking a salary, that’s clever! But you get your followers to peer-pressure each other into buying your products, and compete to see who has them all, and judge the ones not buying the latest books… Interesting business model… Yeah, guilt is a great motivator… And it works, look at your mansion! You are one rich son of a b****! … Exactly. You know, that’s what I do here at the White House. I say I don’t take a salary, but I make soooo much more money from taking the Secret Service along with me to my golf courses and hotels, and charging the government for everything but the air I breathe… Ha! You put your hand in the hats and take some of the church cash when no one is looking? I’m so going to do that at the Church of Trump! I’ll have a high net worth like you in no time! For real this time! … Wow, you bought a private plane in cash with all ones and fives? I can’t imagine how many suitcases that took to carry it all! … I’ll tell you a little secret, too, I don’t actually donate my presidential salary. I do the photo-ops with the paychecks and everything, but I just cash them anyway! … So, what kind of design should I have for my church? What do gullible Christians like? …Hmm. Well, I like a lot of gold. I want gold accents everywhere. If I had to critique Jesus on anything, I’d say his homeless look was a real branding mistake. They say you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have, and I don’t even want to know what job Jesus was dressing for! Can you imagine if Jesus came into my church? I’d have to kick him out for getting poor all over my church! Poverty can be contagious, you know? It’s like Jesus never paid attention to the prosperity gospel. Kind of lazy considering He’s the one who wrote the Bible! … You don’t let the homeless in your church either? … Ha! That’s hilarious! ‘No shirt, no shoes, no salvation!’ You’re a clever guy, Joel! Unless the shirtless person is a hot model, and then I have a locker room she should totally change into before the service starts! Actually, there’s an idea! I want big locker rooms in my church, with peeping holes I can use. Sneaking inside is fun and all, but the girls always cover themselves up when they see me. And I’ve found that they’re way more likely to yell and scream and say ‘no’ immediately when I solicit them for sex while they’re in the middle of changing… From Japan, you say? … Yeah, give me that guy’s number later… And the sex dolls are totally life-like? Wow! … You have a new one for every day of the week? … You’re a cultured guy, Joel, but I’ll take just blonde and white! … Okay, so far I have written down big locker rooms I can peep in, and gold accents everywhere. I really want the prosperity aesthetic to shine through, you know? But in good taste. I want my church to kind of suggest the theme of monastic devotion to the Bible, but still scream subliminally ‘Give me that sweet, sweet, seed-planting money, you idiot suckers!’ You know what I mean? … Ha, of course you do! You perfected it! … So for the stage I was thinking I want my name real big up above of where I’ll be delivering my tremendous, amazing sermons. I guess I can have Jesus’s name somewhere, too, but mine definitely higher and bigger, you know? It’s my church… Oh, that’s an interesting idea. So you almost never include Jesus’s name anywhere in your book titles and merch and stuff? … Oh, you’re right, Jesus’s sermons about not being rich do kind of cramp our style, don’t they? … Yeah, I agree, I definitely want when my church followers are thinking about salvation to be thinking ‘Trump’ and not ‘Jesus.’ I don’t want them to buy any of Jesus’s books, they need to buy my books! I want them to buy my future Art of the Prayer… Exactly. So the Church of Trump will be like a traditional church with all the praying and ‘Yay God’ stuff and whatever else Christians do, but, you’re right, I have to build my personal Christian brand for the real money… Logo? You know, I had this interesting idea the other day. I was thinking that all those cross necklaces that the Christians wear are basically the letter T already, so what if I had all my congregants cut off the little bits at the top to turn the cross into a capital T? Would that be offensive? … Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’ll just sell my own cross necklaces, but have the T part of it gold and the little bit at the top silver. That way you can be worshipping Jesus and Trump at the same time with just one necklace. It could be my first piece of merchandise to hawk at my services… Wow, selling them in a bunch of collectible colors is a great idea, Joel! You’re so clever about economizing Christianity! You’ve made a fortune off of the charity of Jesus! … Ha! You’re right! Why should we have to do all the legwork raising money for God? God’s got enough money, I want mine!”
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