I was on the third hole at the most beautiful golf course in the world, Mar-a-Lago, when a call came through from the Secretary of State.
I said, "How are you, Rex?"
He said, "Mr President, we urgently need to talk about Russia, this chemical poison thing in England. Do you – "
I cut him off, and said, "Russia, Russia, Russia. I am so sick of hearing people talk about Russia. I mean – what's the Russ-ia? Slow down! Fools Russia in, do you understand what I'm saying? Roulette, good; Russian roulette, bad.
"The world's a big place. There's more to it than Russia. Rex, there are oceans bigger than Russia, okay? But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Rex, bottom line, you're the greatest Secretary of State in history, no one comes close to your understanding of the world scene.
"I mean, you get out there, you put yourself about, you have your little talks with ambassadors and those sorts of guys. I know it's all pretty second tier. You can't just pick up the phone like I can and get through to Kim Jong-un. He's a pretty nice fellow once you get to know him. I like Kim. He likes me. We have great chemistry. He told me doesn't even have chemistry like that with his wife.
"Kim hasn't mentioned you once. You shouldn't take that personally. The fact is I'm President, and other people aren't. Steve Bannon thought he was President. Sad! I always liked Steve, but in the end I fired Steve. So leave Russia to me. I'll deal with Russia. And North Korea, and China, and Mexico – I've seen drawings of the wall, it's the most beautiful wall, very high, those Mexicans aren't exactly known for their pole vaulting, plus they're short.
"You just keep doing what you're doing, Rex. You're a patriot, and I want you to know that your job is 100 per cent safe. Okay? I always liked you, Rex."
Fired someone else.
Fired everyone else.
I was on the fourth hole at the most beautiful golf course in the world, Mar-a-Lago, when a call came through from New Zealand.
I said, "New Zealand? Is that even a thing? What's your pitch?"
"Russia can't actually be tied to shooting down the Malaysian Airline plane in 2014," the caller said.
"It was a former Russian missile, true - but who was responsible for setting it off?"
"You talk a lot of sense," I said.
"As for allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election – that's all they are, allegations. The facts are not laid out clearly."
"I like you," I said. "We have chemistry. What are you selling?"
"I'm the foreign minister for New Zealand," he said, "and I wondered if there was a chance of being exempted from your new tariffs on steel and aluminum."
I said, "I'll always listen to a good deal. Let's set up a meeting. New Zealand – do you have hot water? TV? Broadband? What about transport, how would I get around?
"We have a helicopter," he said, "and if the defence minister doesn't need it to go down to the dairy for milk, then it's all yours."