The Baffler’s Trump-Era Gift Guide

What to buy for the worst administration ever

Hannah GaisDecember 21, 2016
“We're gonna be saying Merry Christmas.” —Donald Trump / pexels

“We’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas.” —Donald Trump / pexels

Forcing the phrase “Merry Christmas” back to the forefront of American culture will make our liberal-infected country “great again,” insists president-elect Donald Trump—but somehow, we’re not feeling the cheer. Instead of masking our suffering with enough mulled wine and spiked eggnog to kill a small horse, we’ve opted for a less traditional, more “smarmy” route: the gift guide.

Below, you’ll find selections for various members of Trump’s cabinet. We’re not saying we’re encouraging you to gift these lovely presents to our future D.C. overlords. (Why waste your money on those opulent buffoons?) But if inspiration strikes, please, let us at The Baffler be your guide.

 

Andy Puzder
Secretary of Labor

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America By Barbara Ehrenreich
$16.00

Upon announcing Puzder as his secretary of labor pick, Trump stated the fast-food guru had an “extensive record [of] fighting for workers.” Puzder, as the head of CKE Restaurants (the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. burger chains), cheated his employees out of overtime pay and has been a constant critic of minimum wage increases. “The feds can mandate a higher wage,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2014, “but some jobs don’t produce enough economic value to bear the increase.” At least we know how he feels about his workers’ efforts!

Puzder shows no interest in abandoning his hard-earned status as an enemy of the working class—the man has, after all, stated his preference for robot workers over humans. Still, we’d delight in seeing his face as he reads Ehrenreich’s magnum opus on the plight of the working class.

Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn
National Security Adviser

Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil (130 Square Foot Roll)
$8.99

We’re not sure how much aluminum foil goes into an adequate tin foil hat, but we imagine it ought to be “heavy duty.” Bonus: It’s a gift for the whole family! Lt. Gen. Flynn isn’t quite as kooky as his “Pizzagate”-obsessed son, but he’s up there

Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education

Tears of My Students Coffee Mug
$15.99

DeVos, a vocal proponent of “school choice” and charter schools, has a long history of gutting public education, despite never attending or administering a public school. Considering her previous activities in the education sphere and the fact that her new job involves ruining overseeing the edification of millions of children, we can only assume she plans to run her department on the unceasing suffering of these young minds. Let her taste that pain.

Jeff Sessions
Attorney General

Middle Finger Pipe
$11.95

This mealy-mouthed party-pooper from Alabama may seem like an unlikely candidate for a bong. His passionate hatred for reefer is well known. “This drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it,” he said during a Senate hearing in April. “It is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about.” Indeed, Sessions went on to note, “good people” don’t experiment with the devil’s weed.

But as numerous observers have noted while following his career—especially his stint as Alabama’s attorney general from 1995 to 1997—Sessions is not, in fact, a good person. Our boy Jeff is a beady-eyed nincompoop who, at the very least, needs to loosen up a bit—and maybe become a lot less racist in the process. And what better way to send that message than a pipe giving its aggrieved user the bird? 

Scott Pruitt
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Blacksmithing and Heating Coal (25 lbs.)
$12.99

“Trump Digs Coal,” read a number of signs in coal country during the campaign. Unsurprisingly, so do a number of members of his cabinet, including Oklahoma attorney general—and Trump’s pick for EPA head—Scott Pruitt. While Pruitt’s true love is natural gas—the rise of which he insists has done more to wean the United States off of coal than Obama’s Clean Power Plan—he has amicable feelings toward fossil fuels of any sort. He’ll love cuddling up to this 25-pound bag of sedimentary rock.

James “Mad Dog” Mattis
Secretary of Defense

What Are Intellectuals Good For? By George Scialabba
$15.00

Of all of Trump’s national security-related picks, Gen. James Mattis is likely the most sane. He’s an opponent of waterboarding—which is evidently a brave, moralistic stance in this bizarre new world—and has dared to suggest that killing civilians is not exactly an effective method of waging a counterinsurgency. But if we’ve reached the point of praising Mattis for his superior wisdom, perhaps we all need a refresher: Who are our intellectuals, where are they hiding, and what are they good for?

Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State

Putin Riding on a Bear
$74.95

The ExxonMobil CEO’s tight relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs has been a point of contention, to say the least—and for good reason. In the wake of allegations regarding Russian involvement in the presidential election, the fact that Tillerson “has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger” may seem unnerving—especially since one of Tillerson’s best buds is the head of a group of hardliners known as the siloviki. Let this bear-riding strongman remind him of his commitment to Putin’s irredentist and crony capitalist platform.

Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Nootrobox FULL STACK
$121.50

Carson has at least been somewhat honest about what a terrible fit he is for this position. “Having me as a federal bureaucrat would be like a fish out of water, quite frankly,” he said recently. But could nootropics fix one of Carson’s most startling flaws—that is, his apparent lack of energy? Nootrobox’s FULL STACK package offers several aptly-named supplements—RISE and SPRINT—to boost stamina and clarity. Whether these horrendously expensive “vitamins” would have an effect on the retired neurosurgeon is unclear; after all, Nootrobox is hardly FDA approved. At the very least, maybe the placebo effect will help the good doctor remember to tell his counterparts about matters crucial to the health of the administration, like how it’d be unwise to brag that he once lived in public housing.  

Steve Bannon
Chief Strategist

Dog Poop Handmade Vegan Soap
$6.50

Not a member of the cabinet per se, but nevertheless a worthy recipient. We have but one suggestion. It’s fairly self-explanatory, especially considering Breitbart’s attitude toward those avoiding dairy, fish, and meat.

 

Hannah Gais is The Baffler’s audience development associate. Her work has appeared in Pacific Standard, Al Jazeera America, Commonweal, U.S. News and World Report, and more.