(This conversation was recorded by trusted contacts in the National Security Agency)
“I alone have made this historical decision,” said Donald Trump.
“Please remember, Mr. President, we do need excuses.”
He moves behind his desk in the Oval Office and plants himself. “What excuses could we use?”
“The same ones I recommended in the National Review essay last year. I sent you a copy at the time, and again last month.”
“I’ll check it out later. Just tell me.”
I pick up my annotated original manuscript and say, “First, Iran is in significant violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”
“Haven’t the inspectors said Iran’s in compliance?”
“Yes, but the inspectors are either liars or incompetents.”
“Probably both,” says the president.
“Also, Iran’s behavior is everywhere unacceptable. Look how repressive they are at home, and consider the disasters they’re exacerbating in Syria.”
“They’re a rogue regime, for sure.”
“George W. Bush abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and nobody could do anything because we’re the United States,” I say. “They won’t do anything now.”
“They better not try.”
“The treaty itself is gravely flawed, as you’ve often said, Mr. President. The Iranians are allowed to continue to enrich uranium. And there’s nothing to prevent them from developing and advancing their centrifuges. We need adequate verification.”
“This is the worst deal ever.”
“It certainly is. President Obama wouldn’t have dared submit his flawed agreement to the Senate.”
“Right,” says the president.
“This deal doesn’t even take Israel’s interests into consideration. The other signatories don’t have the special relationship we have with the Israelis.”
“Prime Minister Netanyahu’s a big fan of mine, and he told me he likes you, too.”
I smile, which I don’t often since my signature mustache droops against my teeth.
“Anything else?” the president asks.
“Absolutely. We’ve got to consider the nuclear linkage between Iran and North Korea, two dangerous peas in a pod.”
“I’ll artfully deal with both of them.”
I point through the wall and say, “We need devastating sanctions against Iran, not the current sanctions relief. Iran’s nothing less than a central banker for international terrorism. They control Hezbollah and will continue to destabilize Iraq and Lebanon as well as Syria.”
“They’re bad dudes.”
“We need to quietly tell the other signatories, except Iran, that we’re going to abrogate this agreement. I’ll give you several more reasons…”
The president extends his right hand, palm toward my mouth, and says, “That’s fine, John. We don’t need any more of this bullshit.”