On this Thanksgiving weekend, it seems only fitting to take a moment to talk about the things for which we’re thankful.

And as curious as this may sound, it turns out that President Donald Trump and I are grateful for the exact same things.

On Thursday, asked by the press what he wanted to give thanks for, Trump responded he was thankful “for having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country. I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.”

Leaving aside that whole you-wouldn’t-believe-how-tremendous-Trump-has-been-for-the-country stuff (since I happen to think he’s absolutely right that we wouldn’t — and don’t — believe it), in his own inimitable way our president basically said he’s grateful for two things at this time of national thanksgiving: his family, and … if he does say so himself … well, himself.

It made me giggle.

And it was in that very moment I realized I’m grateful for those same two things: my family, and Donald Trump.

My family, because they are the single most-important thing in my life. And my president, because in a world that has grown increasingly dark and depressing, I’ve come to realize this is a man who makes me laugh like no one else can.

I know some readers out there will think this is just another #fakenews political hit piece by a member of the failing media. But that’s not it at all. Because if I’d wanted this to be a hit piece, I’d talk about the shameful way our president has labeled me an enemy of the American people, then used a chillingly similar “enemy of the state” description to vaguely suggest that maybe the U.S.-based Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi got exactly what he deserved.

So if I really wanted this to be an attack piece, we’d spend the rest of the column talking about that.

Instead, today I want to explain why I’m actually thankful for our current president. And mostly, it’s because I live in daily gratitude that the most visible person in America regularly stands in front of a microphone or jumps on social media to say outlandishly humorous things.

Trump’s latest gift that keeps on giving? The recent assertion that the forest fires in this great nation of ours wouldn’t be so darned destructive and deadly if only we’d bother to rake our forests once in awhile.

“You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important. You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story. I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different—we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a ‘forest nation,’ and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things,” Trump said, making a sort of “Karate Kid” wax-on/wax-off motion with his hand. “And they don’t have any problem.”

Never mind that the president of Finland has no idea what the crazy American is talking about.

Trump peddled this same theory with Chris Wallace of Fox News, talking about how he watched on TV — I’m assuming cartoons weren’t on at the time? — as firefighters wielded rakes during the wildfires.

“And they’re raking them, they’re on fire,” Trump told Wallace of the bushes and weeds. “That should have been all raked out and cleaned out. You wouldn’t have the fires.”

Reaction to Trump’s raking idea was swift. And brutal. Especially laughter-inducing were all the residents of Finland taking to Twitter — rakes, vacuums and Roombas in hand — to mock the idea. My particular favorite is the classic “Rake America Great Again” meme.

As totally doable as raking out entire forests may seem to a nation of motivated Americans with a can-do attitude, I won’t lie to you: It’s not going to be easy. According to the internet, there are approximately 766 million acres of forest in the United States. And given our population of roughly 326 million souls, that works out to something like two-and-a-third acres for every man, woman and child in America.

To borrow a line from the Roy Scheider character in the 1975 movie “Jaws” … “You’re going to need a bigger rake.”

Listen, we’ve got a home on a quarter-acre lot, and it was all my wife and I could do to keep our own yard raked and cleaned out this year. But yeah, I guess we could take on another 4.6 acres for the good of the country.

So, to Donald Trump I say: “Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for keeping my spirits up. And for making me laugh so violently that I passed Cap’n Crunch out my nose.”

And to my friends and family I say: If you haven’t already picked out my Christmas gift, there are only two things on this year’s wish list.

A red, white and blue garden rake, and one of those “RAGA” baseball caps.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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