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The Office That Vets Trump Appointees Is Full of Bros Icing Each Other

They also reportedly "smoke electronic cigarettes, known as vaping."
March 30, 2018, 7:16pm
People cheer as voting results for Iowa come in at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown on November 8, 2016 in New York City. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

For those of you who need reminding: Smirnoff Ice is a bottled malt beverage. It is cloyingly sweet, looks like murky winter sludge, and tastes like something a pharmaceutical company might concoct to conceal a chemical flavor. It also gets you drunk. But Smirnoff Ice's primary popularity seems to come not from actually drinking the vile stuff, but instead forcing others to guzzle it down, frequently on one knee, while you bask in their misery.

This, dear readers, is called "Icing." And while it is a game played primarily by drunken man-boys slogging through business undergrads, it turns out that Icing is popular somewhere else, too: in some corners of the Trump White House.

According to a new report from the Washington Post, the Presidential Personnel Office (PPO)—the office that vets and hires Trump's appointees to the administration—spends its time in-between filling staffing gaps from the highest turnover in recent presidential history by, well, forcing one another into drinking Smirnoff Ice.

The section in question starts like this:

PPO leaders hosted happy hours last year in their offices that included beer, wine, and snacks for dozens of PPO employees and White House liaisons who work in federal agencies, White House officials confirmed.

So far, pretty normal. A lot of workplaces have work parties and happy hours and whatever, right? But then comes this particular tidbit:

In January, they played a drinking game in the office called “Icing” to celebrate the deputy director’s 30th birthday. Icing involves hiding a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a flavored malt liquor, and demanding that the person who discovers it, in this case the deputy director, guzzle it.

The White House confirmed that PPO officials played the Icing game but said it and the happy hours are not unique to the PPO and are a way to network and let off steam.

Let's pause for a second here and unpack what this scene might have looked like, shall we?

It starts with the deputy director, the birthday boy, stumbling across a murky white bottle of Smirnoff Ice in a cupboard or desk drawer or something. He laughs, then, knowing what he must do, and the other PPO employees stream in, surrounding him, filling the cramped kitchen as he takes a knee. His Adam's apple bobs, ferrying the citrus malt down, gulp after gulp, as the huddled throng of his employees closes in tighter around him—everyone desperate to see their boss on his knees with the bottle in his mouth and finger-lengths of liquid draining with each successive gulp. The room is almost humming, and the crowd roils in unison until the Ice is gone, and the birthday boy, no, man, finally rises to his feet once again. The entire room lets out a unified sigh, none realizing they had been collectively holding their breath until that very moment, and...

OK, maybe we're embellishing things a bit here, but still. The guy got iced. An adult male working in the Trump administration. This is a thing that happens, everybody.

But wait! They also vape!

Even as the demands to fill government mounted, the PPO offices on the first floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building became something of a social hub, where young staffers from throughout the administration stopped by to hang out on couches and smoke electronic cigarettes, known as vaping, current and former White House officials said.

And then, between the Icing and the smoking of electronic cigarettes known as vaping, they get around to selecting the people who will run our country.

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