“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way.” – Michael Flynn, U.S. National Security Advisor, Feb. 13, 2017
FLYNN: Thank you for helping me type that up.
ASSISTANT: No problem. I know this is a very difficult time for you, sir.
FLYNN: So are you going to print it out now or…
ASSISTANT: Yep! Yeah, totally.
[There is a silence.]
ASSISTANT: It’s just…
FLYNN: What is it?
ASSISTANT: It’s… I just wonder if maybe we could cut a word or two. Or five. I wonder if we should maybe cut exactly five words from this.
FLYNN: Which ones?
ASSISTANT: Well, you see this sentence here in the middle of the letter—the sentence where you actually do the tendering of the resignation?
ASSISTANT: I’m wondering if maybe—just for clarity and brevity, mind you – I wonder if possibly we just lose the part where you say “in such a distinguished way.”
FLYNN: What exactly is your issue with those words?
ASSISTANT: I wouldn’t call it an issue, sir! Not at all. I know you’ve put the whole of your heart and soul into this job for almost one entire month. And I know you’ve had many successes and achievements, such as… um… your various accomplishments.
FLYNN: So what’s the problem?
ASSISTANT: No problem! No problem at all. In fact, now that I look at the sentence again, I can tell you: I like many of those five words! Several of those five words are absolutely perfect. ‘In.’ ‘A.’ ‘Way.’ All great. Top-notch words. And ‘such’—‘such’ just nailed it. I wouldn’t touch the ‘such.’
FLYNN: So that leaves…
ASSISTANT: Well, it just leaves that one other word there.
ASSISTANT: And I don’t know—maybe it’s just me—but that one word just kind of leaps out given that you lied to the…
ASSISTANT: … given that you hesitated to fully un-de-inform the Vice President about your phone call with the Russians.
[There is a long, awkward silence. Somewhere, a coyote howls.]
FLYNN: Tell you what—I’ll meet you halfway. Can we maybe swap in a different word?
ASSISTANT: Sure! Great idea! What do you have in mind, sir?
FLYNN: How about ‘heroic’?
ASSISTANT: You know what? ‘Distinguished’ is good. Let’s stick with that.