Charlatan Magazine

House of Horror

DECEMBER 1, 2020

President Franklin Pierce may have put up the first Christmas Tree at the White House in 1856, but outgoing First Lady Melania Trump is the one breaking with unconventionality in her last and final hours.

My Image
via NPR

Throughout the Trump administration, the US President and First Lady have taken a bold, unique and unconventional visual approach to the White House Christmas decorations. Who could forget the haunting blood-red trees, or icy bare white branches, that Barbara Bush famously described as a "House of Horrors?”

For 2020, Melania Trump, who heads up the White House Christmas décor, abandoned her previous unusual nods entirely, allowing tradition to take center stage. This year's theme 'America the Beautiful' translates into green trees, silver and gold ornaments and white lights.

The East Colonnade is lined with urns holding plumes of foliage and greenery from each state and territory, and the Red Room showcases a tree with ornaments celebrating frontline workers; including a rubbish truck, scientist, caregiver, lab coat and nurse hat.

In her last and final address as First Lady she said, “We salute America's everyday heroes who serve as first responders and frontline workers. Handmade ornaments highlight the many professionals and volunteers who serve their communities with a spirit of generosity.” With a mere 50 days left at the White House, Melania Trump seems to be putting the nation’s trust and traditions back where she found them.

My Image

Trump Campaign Raises $150M Off Voter-Fraud Allegations

President Trump’s fundraising committee has accumulated $150 million since Election Day by soliciting donations over voter fraud. While the donation requests come from The Official Election Defense Fund, Trump can actually use much of the money for personal use after he leaves office.

“The average donor who gives in response to Trump’s appeal for funds likely don’t realize their money is a) retiring Trump’s campaign debt, b) funding his leadership PAC, and c) going directly into his pocket,” said Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center. The amount of money raised in the last month eclipses what the Trump Campaign took in during the entire second quarter of the year.

A Post Trump Presidency

How well do we know Donald Trump? His behavior in office confirmed the common view, barely disputed even by his allies, that he was both an unqualified and ineffectual president. Certainly he was a shallow narcissist, blind or indifferent to common decencies, with poor impulse control and a vindictive streak. His futile attempt to litigate away electoral defeat may appall some but the worst, were told, has yet to come.

“Save America:” a new leadership PAC that Trump set up in early November, and which he can use to fund his post-presidency activities for years to come, is set to bilk cash and gifts from 'America the Beautiful' in the very merriest and most memorable of Christmases yet.

My Image

2020’s Vice Presidential Debate

During the Continental Congress — an incubus of 13 British Colonies that plotted to become Americans — Benjamin Franklin referred to the role of a Vice President as “His Superfluous Excellency.”

While most voters are stultified by a vice-presidential candidate, 2020's contest is piquing more interest. Former Vice President Joe Biden is 77, and after spending 47 years in public service (County Councilman, Senator, Vice President of the United States) arguably finds himself in the twilight of his life.

The incumbent, President Donald Trump, is now 74, and in addition to his 3.5 years of political experience, the self-proclaimed ‘Washington outsider’ has contracted the novel coronavirus one month ahead of an historic election. He joins the nearly 8 million Americans who’ve been diagnosed with the mysterious illness, over 217,000 of whom have perished, at a time and time when the United States is the global epicenter of the Coronavirus. The role of Vice President has simply never been more critical than in Election 2020.

Over 57 million people watched Wednesday's VP debate across eighteen channels on television, far more than either of the last two Vice Presidential debates, and internet streaming and radio brought the audience upwards of 100 million.

It was a boring, unfocused debate between two well-prepared and polished candidates who had little interest in answering the questions posed to them — and were under virtually no pressure from the moderator to do so. In other words, it was sort of how debates used to be: professional politicians who are mostly civil to each other making their points, occasionally skirting the rules, and frequently spinning the facts. There was a lot to critique, but the participants were bound by some shared sense of propriety.

Donald Trump will eventually leave the White House, and Wednesday’s VP debate offered the nation a glimpse of a post-Trump future. The restrained sparring between Pence and Harris was a reminder of what politics was once like — and could be again.

My Image

Finally, a word from the Father of the Nation…

We citizens of America are, from this period, to be considered actors in a most conspicuous theater, which seems to be peculiarly designated by Providence for the display of human discourse, civility, and dignity. — George Washington, 1783

My Image



Interviews with Politicians & Statesmen


Conversations with Scholars & Authors


Reviews, Critique & Commentary


Interviews with Movers & Shakers


Features, Articles & Essays


Creed, Mission & Crew


Parties, Soirées & Hotspots



Our Spectacular Covers