Naughty, Nice, Under Investigation: A Gift Guide for DC’s Most Famous Politicians

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Most politicians only want a few things for Christmas: to see a boost in their poll numbers, score some deep-pocketed donors, find some staffers who won’t jump ship in under 12 months and somehow get all those dogged POLITICO reporters off their backs.

But here at POLITICO Magazine, we believe everyone deserves a real gift this Christmas, even if they’re on Santa’s (or the FBI’s) naughty list. So we’ve prepared a gift guide for some of the political figures who have dominated this year’s headlines.

Sure, some of it is pricey. But in this country, December is about racking up shocking credit card bills to show your love for friends and family. Why not your favorite politicians, too?

President Joe Biden

Gentle Monster Sunglasses ($289)

Those iconic gold-rimmed Ray Ban Aviators are a big part of Biden’s brand. But that brand is in the toilet — just look at the poll numbers. Biden could use a makeover to squash chatter about his old age, and what better way to signal he’s still got it than by rocking the sunglasses that Gen-Zers are emptying their wallets for? He might even be able to “how do you do, fellow kids” his way into going viral — especially when K-pop fans start making “who wore it better” memes comparing the president to K-pop sensation Jennie, the lead singer of the girl group Blackpink who is often spotted in the same shades.

Vice President Kamala Harris

Bunny Bonnet from Ella Emhoff ($140)

As she gets back out onto the campaign trail in 2024, Harris could have fun with a statement piece — like these knitwear bunny ears from her influencer step daughter Ella Emhoff. Emhoff and Harris share a passion for knitting, and while the bunny bonnet might be a little more fashion-forward than some swing-state voters are used to, at least the vice president can promote her strong family values on the campaign trail. Plus, who doesn’t have a strange knitted item from a relative in their closet somewhere?

Speaker Mike Johnson

Tracfone – Nokia 2760 Flip 4GB Prepaid ($19.99)

The public is freaked out about Johnson and his son using an app that allows users to monitor one another’s phone activity to discourage the use of porn. We have a better solution: There’s no need for an anti-porn app if you don’t use a smartphone at all. Gift Johnson and his son a flip phone and free them from their censorship duties. Luckily there are an abundance of flip phones on the market these days since they are so trendy with Gen Z-ers looking to unplug.

Justice Clarence Thomas

2024 Adirondack Life Photo Calendar ($14.95)

What can you get the man who’s already been given everything — including a house for his mom, tuition for his grand-nephew and a huge RV? Here’s a thought: Due to explosive reports revealing the lavish gifts Thomas received from billionaire Harlan Crow (not including the RV — that was financed by Thomas’ pal Anthony Welters, who made his money in healthcare), the justice might have to skip his yearly visit to Crow’s luxurious private resort in the Adirondacks. But with this photo calendar of the mountains, he can at least reminisce about the good old days when lavish gifts weren’t scrutinized. The Supreme Court ethics code might not have a gift price limit, but just to be safe, we’ve picked a book under $20, which is the gift limit for employees of the executive branch.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Monthly MasterClass Subscription for ‘Rapping and Rhyme Schemes’ from Nas ($15/month)

At the Iowa State Fair earlier this year, Ramaswamy ended his chat with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ in rap form — specifically, with Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” Maybe if he’d practiced more, he would have won her coveted endorsement, which instead went to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. No offense to Slim, but we think a MasterClass from Nas — specifically lesson No. 2, “Telling Your Life Story Through Music” — would help Ramaswamy lay down some bars that could score him some real political points.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley

Revolver-709, 7 Inch Black Sandal With Rhinestones Gun Heel ($77.95)

Haley says her heels are “not for a fashion statement — they’re for ammunition.” Like most of the internet, we had no idea what that meant — until we found these shoes with gun-shaped heels. Haley is a known gun lover — 10 years ago, she flaunted a $575 Beretta she got for Christmas — so you can expect this gift to be a bull’s-eye.

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.)

N.Y.L.A. Men’s Jhonan Penny Loafer – Clear ($89)

There’s one foolproof way to beat the wearing-shoe-lifts-allegations: Find yourself some clear shoes. Unfortunately on the campaign trail — especially in the chilly states of Iowa and New Hampshire — it’s not exactly appropriate to wear flip-flops or sandals. A proper(-ish) alternative are these see-through penny loafers that are notably lift-less. These dress shoes might not convey the kind of cowboy mentality that DeSantis is attempting to cultivate, but they’ll give him something even more important: unimpeachable evidence that he’s just as tall as he says he is.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Tinfoil Hat ($4.59; assembly required)

What do you get for the guy who’s scared of everything? A roll of Reynolds Wrap standard aluminum foil, which can quickly be fashioned into a hat to protect from whatever conspiracy theory is firing up his campaign lately. Wearing it in public might not help his poll numbers — and it’s not exactly “Kennedy-esque” — but it will certainly make a fashion statement.

Dr. Cornel West

Greatest Classical Masterpieces! From the London Philharmonic ($14.38)

Ever the music buff, West has described his quixotic presidential run as “like jazz,” meaning that he’s up for improvisation. We’re all for staying light on your feet, but between leaving two political parties in the span of a few short months, switching campaign managers multiple times and currently relying on just four staffers to do the job of leading his campaign, he might want to tone down the spontaneity and introduce a little structure into his presidential run. These classical tunes would be a great start.

Former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.)

Sunpak – 12″ Bicolor LED Ring Light Kit ($24.99)

It took all of three days after leaving Congress for self-described “Republican It Girl” George Santos to set up a Cameo account (which allows users to pay him for personalized video messages). His videos are already delighting the internet — one ended up in embattled New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s inbox, by way of Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman — but the production quality leaves quite a bit to be desired. If he’s spending all that money on botox and lip filler, he needs a ring light to make it all shine. Plus, it’ll come in handy when Santos inevitably films his audition tapes for reality TV after the Cameo cash from the holiday season dries up. For posterity’s sake, our bet is he ends up on The Masked Singer, but we can’t count out Dancing with the Stars.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.)

2017 Traitor Wine from Cloak And Dagger Wines ($85)

Sinema is a known wine lover: She interned in 2020 at Three Sticks Wines in Sonoma, California, while also serving as a senator, and she got embroiled in scandal after her campaign spent $1,180 at the very same winery. This particular bottle is a “bold, brawny red wine” from nearby Napa that also happens to carry the same label that some spurned Democrats have called her ever since she left the party in late 2022: Traitor.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

17-inch coal sculpture in the shape of West Virginia ($190)

Coal in your stocking is usually the ultimate diss from Santa. But during his time in Congress, Manchin has made two things clear: He loves coal, and he loves West Virginia. This gift combines both and would serve as a reminder of all the ways he propped up his state’s coal industry while he reminisces during his retirement next year.

New York Mayor Eric Adams

Luxury Turkish Delight Box, 800g ($39)

In November, POLITICO found that Adams had attended over 80 events celebrating Turkey in his eight years as Brooklyn borough president. His consistent presence at Turkish events is particularly relevant in light of the FBI’s ongoing probe into whether Adams’ mayoral campaign conspired with members of the Turkish government and accepted illegal campaign contributions. Given that he has to be a little more quiet about his love for Turkey these days, why not slip him some Turkish sweets to snack on in the privacy of his own home? To boot, the scandal might help Adams learn some important lessons about any alleged temptations, just like Edmund learned when the White Witch gave him Turkish delights in the Chronicles of Narnia. 

Former President Donald Trump

Monopoly “Get Out of Jail Free” Keychain ($4.59)

Let’s face it, the four-times indicted former president is going to need some incredible lawyers to escape a guilty verdict or two. But that kind of legal help is way outside the price range of most MAGA fans. So how do you let your persecuted hero know you don’t want to see him wearing orange? Send him a Monopoly “get out of jail free” keychain. It’s a cheap gift, though, so don’t be surprised if Trump asks you to throw in a few dollars toward his legal fees too, since he is bleeding money.

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