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  • 20.08.2017

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Trump’s imaginary friend ‘Jim’
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19.08.2017

Trump’s imaginary friend ‘Jim’

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There are many famous characters, mostly in literature and film but occasionally in real life, beloved to us for their endearing dependence on an imaginary friend.
For Sesame Street stalwart Big Bird, it was Mr Snuffleupagus, an enormous hairy elephant only he could see. One of history’s longest running comic strips, Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, featured a little boy and a stuffed toy tiger who comes to life when no one else is around.
Bunbury from Oscar Wilde’s The importance of Being Ernest was a non-existent invalid used by the play’s secondary hero, Algy, as an excuse to get out of undesirable functions. Others may recall Frank, the deranged, omnipresent rabbit in the terrible 2001 psychodrama Donnie Darko.
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Now people are saying the President of United States, Donald Trump, may have his own version, an invisible friend called “Jim”.
Chatter about Jim exploded overnight after a journalist from Associated Press, Vivian Salama, published a piece called Trump in Paris: The curious case of his friend Jim. The story strongly implies that Jim is not real and exists only in Trump’s mind.
“For all things Paris, President Trump’s go-to guy is Jim,” the article begins.
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“The way Trump tells it — Jim is a friend who loves Paris and used to visit every year. Yet when Trump travels to the city (today) for his first time as president, it’s unlikely that Jim will tag along.
“Jim doesn’t go to Paris anymore. Trump says because that’s because the city has been infiltrated by foreign extremists.
“Whether Jim exists or not is unclear. Trump has never given his last name. The White House has not responded to a request for comment about who Jim is or whether he will be on the trip.”
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Jim came up repeatedly in Trump’s anecdotes on the campaign trial but was only recognised as a major player after Trump became president.
“For Trump, Jim’s story serves as a cautionary tale — a warning that even a place as lovely as Paris can be ruined if leaders are complacent about terrorism,” Salama writes.
“Jim’s biggest moment in the spotlight was during a high-profile Trump speech in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. Trump explained that Jim ‘loves the City of Lights, he loves Paris. For years, every year during the summer, he would go to Paris. It was automatic, with his wife and his family.’
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“Trump one day asked Jim: ‘How’s Paris doing?’
“‘Paris?’ Jim replied, as relayed by Trump. ‘I don’t go there anymore. Paris is no longer Paris.’”
In response, Paris Mayor Annie Hidalgo trolled the US president by tweeting a photo of herself with Mickey and Minnie Mouse inviting Trump “and his friend Jim” to France to “celebrate the dynamism and the spirit of openness of #Paris”.
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Thanks to Salama’s article, there has been a resurgence of interest in the mysterious, elusive Jim.
“Can someone please explain to me if imaginary Jim is real or not,” implored Twitter user Chelsea Hassler.
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“AP reports Trump is probably making up the friend ‘Jim’ he frequently mentions. That’s normal and not concerning,” tweeted US House of Representatives candidate Brianna Wu.
Another user, Ajay Bee, questioned how much respect Trump really had for Jim considering he ignored his warnings about going to Paris.

Trump will be the guest of honour at France’s Bastille Day festivities after a trip to Napoleon’s tomb and a Michelin-starred dinner at the Eiffel Tower.
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Trump and his host, recently-elected French President Emmanuel Macron, will watch troops parade down the Champs Elysees and mark 100 years since America entered World War I on France’s side.
Do you think Jim is real or imaginary?

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