ROME ITALY — When President Donald Trump visited Italy this week, he visited several historic places. Pictures of his visit with Pope Francis while visiting the Vatican made quite a splash on social media. Today, the Italian media reported on a story that their prime minister reportedly told key members of his staff a day or so after Trump was out of the country.
“When the Orange One was here,” Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni apparently told his team, “he leans over to me and asks me if we keep the pepperoni in Pisa. In the tower.”
Gentiloni said that he was at first “taken aback” by Trump’s question. The prime minister said he had grown accustomed to a “certain level of knowledge of the world” from elected officials. But Trump’s question was so banal, so out of left field, it took Mr. Gentiloni a moment or two to compose himself and address President Trump.
“Excuse me sir,” Gentiloni asked Trump, “but the pepperoni? I’m not quite sure I understand you.”
The question seemed to agitate Trump, Gentiloni said. The president began to speak English more slowly to Gentiloni, as if he were hearing impaired. Gentiloni said he speaks perfectly fluent English, he was just confused as to what Trump was talking about.
“You know,” Trump said, “the pepperonis. For your pizza pies. I know you have a whole city devoted to pizza, which I love, by the way. There’s nothing better to me than a nice slice of pizza. You just dive right in with your fork and knife and gobble it right up.”
Prime Minister Gentiloni then reportedly tried to break it to Trump as gently as possible that the tower was in Pisa, had nothing to do with pizza, and that as a result, there was no pepperoni stored in the tower.
“Okay, but would you store the pepperoni in there if I asked you to,” Trump asked.
Gentiloni was taken aback.
“Mr. President, I’m not exactly sure what you mean,” the prime minister replied.
“Just saying,” President Trump continued, “if I asked you, really nice-like, to store some pepperoni in your pizza tower, would you?”
“Well, sir, again, it’s not a pizza tower,” Gentiloni started.
“Just pretend it is. You can pretend right? Here, I’ll show,” Trump answered, “close your eyes and pretend it’s not a horrific nightmare for the entire world that I’m president. I do that every single night before I go to bed, and I’m pretty sure most of my staff and family does too.”
Prime Minister Gentiloni closed his eyes.
“Yes, okay, I am pretending now,” Gentiloni said.
“Good, now just pretend that the tower is for pizza,” Trump said.
“Okay,” Gentiloni told Trump, “I am imagining our historic landmark is a pizza tower. Now what?”
“Now you just pretend I asked you to store some pepperoni in it,” Trump said.
“Yes, fine,” Gentiloni answered, “in this completely nonsensical and hypothetical thought experiment, I would of course let you store some pepperoni in our…Christ…Pizza Tower.”
Mr. Trump raised his fist in the air. He jumped up and down excitedly. He began high-fiving everyone around him.
“Yes! You all heard him, right,” Trump asked, “you all heard him say he’d do my deal? You all heard that? I am the world’s best deal maker, Mommy! You were right!”
Prime Minister Gentiloni tried to object and remind Mr. Trump it was just a question for pretending purposes, but Trump was already running out the door, still high-fiving everyone he met.
“I WIN! I WIN! I WIN! I WIN,” Trump shouted for the next sixteen hours straight.
Follow James on Twitter @JamesSchlarmann.