Trump’s Unseen Playmate Jim

Playing with the unseen playmate in “Child’s Garden of Verses”

Friday

The news is so universally grim with our current president that I find myself looking for light notes. An Associated Press article provided one the other day when it set out to solve the “curious case of Trump’s friend Jim.”

Little does AP know that Robert Louis Stevenson solved the case years ago in A Child’s Garden of Verses.

First, here’s the AP’s report:

For all things Paris, President Donald Trump’s go-to guy is Jim.

The way Trump tells it — Jim is a friend who loves Paris and used to visit every year. Yet when Trump travels to the city Thursday for his first time as president, it’s unlikely that Jim will tag along. Jim doesn’t go to Paris anymore. Trump says that’s because the city has been infiltrated by foreign extremists.

While Trump “repeatedly talked about the enigmatic Jim while on the campaign trail,” he “didn’t receive widespread attention until Trump became president.” The story observes that, for Trump,

Jim’s story serves as a cautionary tale – a warning that even a place as lovely as Paris can be ruined if leaders are complacent about terrorism.

Jim’s biggest moment in the spotlight was during a high-profile Trump speech in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. Trump explained that Jim “loves the City of Lights, he loves Paris. For years, every year during the summer, he would go to Paris. It was automatic, with his wife and his family.”

Trump one day asked Jim: “How’s Paris doing?”

“’Paris?” Jim replied, as relayed by Trump. “‘I don’t go there anymore. Paris is no longer Paris.’”

Reporters have been trying to track down Jim but with no success. Stevenson knows where he is, however:

The Unseen Playmate

By Robert Louis Stevenson

When children are playing alone on the green,
In comes the playmate that never was seen.
When children are happy and lonely and good,
The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.

Nobody heard him, and nobody saw,
His is a picture you never could draw,
But he’s sure to be present, abroad or at home,
When children are happy and playing alone.

He lies in the laurels, he runs on the grass,
He sings when you tinkle the musical glass;
Whene’er you are happy and cannot tell why,
The Friend of the Children is sure to be by!

He loves to be little, he hates to be big,
‘Tis he that inhabits the caves that you dig;
‘Tis he when you play with your soldiers of tin
That sides with the Frenchmen and never can win.

‘Tis he, when at night you go off to your bed,
Bids you go to sleep and not trouble your head;
For wherever they’re lying, in cupboard or shelf,
‘Tis he will take care of your playthings himself!

Of course, now that he’s disenchanted with Paris, Trump’s unseen friend may no longer take the side of the French.

As if we needed further proof that our president is little more than a child.

Further thought: People also refer to the president’s eldest son as a child. The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri quotes Peter Pan in a column pointing out that people have been referring to the 39-year-old Donald Trump, Jr. as “a kid” and therefore not responsible for colluding with the Russians.

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