Pallbearers carry Ivana Trump's casket into a church in New York City

Pallbearers carry the casket of Ivana Trump into St. Vincent Ferrer Roman Catholic Church in New York on July 20, 2022

A note from a professional friend landed in my inbox a few days ago, with this quick header:

“… the best lede I’ve ever read.”

So I clicked. (Wouldn’t you?) It took me to a piece by Dana Milbank, opinion columnist for the Washington Post, about, the final resting place of Ivana Trump: a lone grave with a simple stone marker near the first tee of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

In his forced (and, he hopes, temporary) retirement, defeated former president Donald Trump has come up with a new undertaking. He’s undertaking.

This could seem a too-easy pun. But Milbank does what Milbank does, pushing the pun as far as he can to deliver his brand of political satire. (The bio tagline on Milbank’s columns says that “He sketches the foolish, the fallacious and the felonious in politics.”) Dead-and-buried references are sprinkled like ashes throughout the next 13 paragraphs, which lay out Trump’s latest tax-dodging business enterprise, until it reaches the fatal conclusion:

“AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, July 4, 1776 – January 6, 2021”

Puns, like cliches, can be cheap writing tricks. But sometimes a subject begs full-on snark. In this case, Milbank had plenty to work with.

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