Select Annotations from Red, White & Royal Blue- Entry 18


In today’s pandemic news, there’s new data showing that far more 20-40 year olds are becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 than previously expected, but so many are still not taking it seriously enough.

The grumble and I would like to remind you again to wash your hands, stay home, take your shoes off as soon as you come inside, clean things you most often touch (i.e. doorknobs, light switches, fridge handles…the things you never think to clean), take this ish seriously, stay the eff home, and wash your hands.


But now, onto day two of our three-day annotation spree!

Entry 18!

-Pg 359:

Jezebel @Jezebel
WATCH: DC Dykes on Bikes chase protesters from
Westboro Baptist Church down Pennsylvania
Avenue, and yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds.
9:15 PM  29 Sept 2020

I used a lot of tweets because they made the book more immersive but also because they do a lot of exposition work in very few words.

-Pg. 360:

“He thought it made her look tough, like she was ready for a brawl if it came down to it, as if she might have a razor in her shoe.”

I love seeing Ellen through Alex’s eyes and I love that he’s proud of her working class rural TX upbringing. She’s a badass and he knows it!

-Pg. 361:

“She has a tendency to bury herself in complex calculations on purpose when especially bad things happen around her.”

Nora can come off as unempathetic but she actually cares very deeply–just not always great at expressing it. 

-Pg. 362:

“I have Bluebonnet and Barracuda on the move,” Amy says, touching her earpiece.

LOVED coming up with their secret service code names–Henry’s is “Bishop” and Alex enjoys swanning out of the room to take his calls and saying “I must convene with THE BISHOP”

-Pg. 363:

“Uh. Ma’am. Mom-in-law.”

Is she referring to June or Alex? Who knows?

-Pg. 364:

“He hears, distantly, the sound of June swearing under her breath”

This is June’s worst nightmare–Alex hurt by politicians going after their family–and if she could she would personally throttle Richards herself. 

-Pg. 365:

“I never imagined…the whole thing, straight from Richard’s campaign.”

Originally they were outed by an annoying British tabloid reporter but I decided to streamline the plot this way and like this version so much better.

-Pg. 365:

“There’s movement to his right: Zahra is there too, pulling a stack of papers toward her and starting in with a red pen.”

Love this small Zahra moment–it’s personal to her too. She’s known Alex since he was in kindergarten. He makes her life hell but she’d kill for him. 

-Pg. 367:


Apropros of nothing, Nora was originally named Amanda–I changed it to reflect that she’s Jewish. 

-Pg. 367:

“It’s code, for Alex and Alex only: You’re the only one I trust.”

Their bond is so important! Raf sees in Alex a younger version of himself with a better chance at happiness. Alex sees in Raf an older version of himself who had to work even harder. 

-Pg. 370:

“It’s the room where FDR once recorded his fireside chats.”

True story!

-Pg. 371:

“Henry emerges in head-to-toe Burberry looking dramatic and windswept, like a dashing hero here to rip bodices and mend war-torn countries.”

Alex lives for drama so he fucking loved this. 

-Pg. 372:

“You are,” he says, “the absolute worst idea I’ve ever had.”

Maybe the first Alex line I wrote? Originally this kiss was part of a prologue made of out of context moments leading up to and following their coming out. Now it lives here!

-Pg. 373:

“But the truth is, also, simply this: love indomitable.”

If you take only one thing from this book, may it be this. 

Pg. 374:

America: He is my choice.”


-Pg. 375:

“He whoops so hard he spills his coffee on George Bush’s favorite rug.”

Someone recently told me they personally encouraged Jenna Bush to read this book…I wish her luck!

-Pg. 376:

“The White House was built by slaves, not our forefathers.”


-Pg. 376:

“If you think I don’t tell every hire on their first day that you have a free pass,” he says, “you do not have an accurate sense of yourself.”

I feel like sometimes I was using Leslie & Ron’s dynamic as inspiration for Alex & Raf. 

-Pg. 378:

“And I went back to work the next day like nothing happened. I made small talk with him in the break room, because I wanted it to be okay, and that’s what I hated myself the most for.”

This is a big thing I wanted to get across about a culture of complicitness–even victims get swept into it, and it’s a a secondary violation.

-Pg. 379:

“I couldn’t let a fucking predator be the most powerful man in the country if it was within my power to stop it.”

Yeah…definitely some wish fulfillment here. 

-Pg. 379:

“I’d been around the block enough in my teenage anarchist days.”

I demand a Raf prequel! He definitely had a purple mohawk. 

-Pg. 380:

“How do you do all the good you can do?”

This is a shoutout to something HRC often says: “do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

-Pg. 383:

“Something shaped not like Claremont but Diaz–no better, no worse, just different.”

And here we have Alex finally letting go of his post-divorce issues with his dad!

-Pg. 383:

“The room is really, aggressively pink, done up in the Federal style with pink walls and rose-covered rugs and bedding, pink upholstery on everything from the chairs and settee in the sitting area to the canopy on the four-poster bed.”

This was another case of me pouring over photos of White House rooms online for one scene. 

-Pg. 384:

“Ew,” Henry says in a flat American accent, and he laughs and Alex throws an elbow.

An excellent Henry line…Alex really has rubbed off on him. 

Alright y’all…tune in tomorrow for the LAST CHAPTER!!!




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