RAWDAT KHURAIM, SAUDI ARABIA — Here in King Abdullah's desert retreat yesterday, President Barack Hussein Obama had a really hard time explaining to Saudi Arabia’s ruling monarch that he is not a Muslim. “I just don’t get it,” the king said. “Your middle name is Hussein —— the name which The Prophet gave to his grandson under the command of the Archangel
Gabriel —— so you have to be a Muslim.”
“Which is why, Mr. President,” Abdullah continued, “the most ignorant people in your country, the ones who love to vote against you and who love to hate you, firmly believe that you are in fact one of us."
Calling on all his persuasive powers, the president was eventually able to persuade the king that he is not a Muslim.
The ostensible purpose of the meeting between the two leaders was to calm Saudi fears that Obama is getting too chummy with Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani. After two lengthy meetings, the two leaders emerged, accompanied by a solitary reporter.
But before they did, Obama was able to do the undoable.
Aboard Air Force One, the president explained.
“After Pope Francis provided me with much better pastoral care than Jeremiah Wright ever offered me,” the president said to the traveling White House press corps, “I threw away the briefing books which John Kerry gave me and told the King that my true vocation in life is to become the first black Catholic president of the United States.”
“And when I explained that to him, Abdullah said, 'The Pope is the most popular man in the world these days, and John Kerry seems like a pretty decent chap, so I think I’ll just go ahead and join you and Kerry and millions of others all over the globe. It will be a very hard sell among my people, but at last count, there are more Christians than there are Muslims in the world.’ ”
The president then lit up a cigarette and continued with the narrative.
“It did take some doing,” the president explained. “I had to listen to the old geezer explain to me his initial reluctance to become, first, a Christian, and then, a Catholic.”
“He told me all about how in his country, they practice a unique, ultraconservative form of Islam called Wahhabism, which emphasizes the unity of Allah, which is why they are sometimes called unitarians with a small u.”
“Then the king turned to me and said, 'I notice that you have in your entourage there, a self-proclaimed Unitarian Christian.’ ”
Brianna Keilar, CNN’s senior White House correspondent, then interrupted and pressed the president, demanding to know why a solitary reporter who possesses no press credentials —— in fact no credentials of any kind —— was allowed in the private meeting between him and the king.
“Beats the hell out of me, Brianna,” the president said. “He just keeps showing up unexpectedly wherever I go."