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Over the holiday weekend, Americans were saddened and outraged to learn that a 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe had been fatally shot after a 4-year-old fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo.
It was upsetting national news, to be sure, but did we need comment from GOP nominee-apparent Donald Trump? Obviously yes.
Great, so we know Trump’s stance on zoo emergencies. When he’s president, we can call up the red phone in the Oval Office should any hippo or jaguar go missing. I feel a hundred times safer now.
And yet, Trump’s perfectly reasonable reaction to the Cincinnati tragedy could have been sold a bit better. It could have been clickier. Like this:
Oh, hell yeah. Now that‘s what I call news. Though not everyone agreed.
imagine having the opportunity to say something, anything, to donald trump and you throw him some asswater about the gorilla
— libby watson (@libbycwatson) May 31, 2016
Meanwhile, many questions remain unanswered.
Would Donald Trump shoot that gorilla? Would Donald Trump have found Balloon Boy? Can Donald Trump unite the Infinity Stones?
— Karen Grisham (@RyanHoulihan) May 31, 2016
CNN should’ve asked the more important question. Would the gorilla have killed Donald Trump?
— Brett (@BLeez17) May 31, 2016
I want to know what Jeb would have done about the gorilla
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) May 31, 2016
Assuming he couldn’t make a deal with the gorilla, Trump definitely would have shot the animal. Easy to see why he considered this a “very tough call,” however—because once you shoot an endangered species in captivity, it’s more or less guaranteed to steal the news cycle away from you.
In the end, however, Trump persevered and held onto the spotlight, thanks to a Yahoo News reporter with America’s best interests at heart.
Will we ever know Trump’s reasons for hypothetically shooting a gorilla? That, sadly, remains somewhat of a mystery. But I don’t think it’s too hard to guess.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'