Donald Trump has basically won the Republican presidential nomination, although weeks remain until he gets officially crowned. So now we wait, passing the time by checking in with every Republican we can find in order to ascertain what they make of the moment.
There are the supporters, who send linguistic Edible Arrangements out into the Internet for the victor to savor. There is Team #NeverTrump, which still seems certain that there might be a solution to its conundrum somewhere. And there are those cautious types worried about their political future and the ramifications of declaring fealty to Trump or the absence of him, who have responded to the end of the primary by only speaking about it in the type of short, meaningless sentences usually not seen in the wild unless hidden inside a fortune cookie. We pulled out our handy Bureaucratese-English, Koan-English, and Defensive Evasion Maneuvers-English Dictionaries to try to translate these statements into something we could understand.
(Not being fluent in any of these languages, we’re not positive that these are totally accurate, but we tried. And it doesn’t matter in the end, anyway, because most of these politicians will be supporting Trump in a few months, even if they can’t find the words to say it.)
Quote: "I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now."
Translation: I just don’t want to support Trump at this point, because you guys really pay attention when I drag out decisions like they’re a four-part PBS miniseries. Remember that time you thought I didn’t want to be Speaker? Waiting to announce my support has the added benefit of making you focus on me instead of Trump. And let’s be real, we could all use a break after the past few months. Maybe I’ll even grow a hunting beard, and leave you all wondering what it means. Or maybe I’ll give myself an extra P90X workout every time I get called wonky. That would be fun. Also, yeah, of course I want to spend as little time being a Trump endorser as possible, so just give me a break.
Quote: "I was very encouraged with what I heard from Donald Trump today. I do believe that we are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified."
Translation: The ground is dry and barren and it hasn’t rained in months, so, I don’t know, we’ll throw some seeds in there with some crap from the RNC compost pile — which is just pulpy remnants of the GOP autopsy report — and see if the stinking corpse lily we’re all hoping blooms by the convention comes up.
RNC chair Reince Priebus
Maine senator Susan Collins
Quote: "I would like to see changes in his approach."
Translation: I would like to see him morph into a completely different human being.
President George W. Bush’s spokesperson
Quote: "President George W. Bush does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign."
Translation: 🏃 💨 🔥 💩 🔥
Arizona senator Jeff Flake
Quote: "You know, I don't know. I'm still in the first stage of grief, denial, I guess, at this point. But got to move past it and we'll see."
Translation: The fifth stage of grief is acceptance.
Quote: "I will vote for Donald Trump."
Translation: I have determined that these words have the most chance of reaping more publicity than my entire presidential bid.
New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte’s spokesperson
Quote: "As she's said from the beginning, Kelly plans to support the nominee. As a candidate herself, she hasn't and isn't planning to endorse anyone this cycle."
Translation: Senator Ayotte plans to support the nominee by standing underneath him and watching her reelection bid get crushed under the weight of his campaign. She isn’t planning on endorsing anyone this cycle.
Quote: "Donald Trump has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. He has not displayed a respect for the Constitution. And, he is not a consistent conservative. These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy."
Translation: I cannot support his candidacy because he was mean. Also, no one cares if I support him, because, as I was reminded this year, I haven’t been an elected official in like a decade, so everyone forgot who I was and I can do whatever the hell I want.
Quote: "I signed a pledge, put my name on it, and said I would support the Republican nominee and that's what I intend to do."
Translation: I want to run for president again, and this seems like the safest thing to say right now, but please don’t make me say his name.
New York representative Lee Zeldin
Quote: “Even though I don’t agree with Donald Trump on everything, and I think there may be certain things or statements of his that I may disagree with, he is a better candidate by far than Hillary Clinton.”
Translation: Here is the beginning of a sentence, I’m just going to say it over again, which hopefully bamboozles you enough that you think I am making sense instead of stalling, and then I’ll throw in something about Hillary Clinton at the end so it looks like I said something valuable.
Quote: “While we may not be unified around Donald Trump, we are unified in making sure we win the White House.”
Translation: Here is the most stock response I could come up with, because I don’t care about any of these people.
Quote: "If he is the nominee, I'm going to be supporting my party's nominee. I'm not happy about it ... but I would vote for him over Hillary Clinton."
Translation: I mentally prepared for answering questions about Donald Trump by pretending that reporters were just asking me, "Would you rather vote for Hillary Clinton or a talking llama who had never known the power of love but had very sensible foreign policy ideas?"