“Careful, careful, careful,” says Jim Scarey, head keeper at the National Zoo, as he slowly raises the gate of the large cage housing Steve Bannon, former chief strategist of Donald Trump and the first Komodo dragon successfully bred in captivity (depending on your definition of successful). “Gotta watch it, he’s a mean one.”
One of twenty eggs incubated in Roger Ailes waste bin for the nine months that the largest member of the lizard family takes to hatch (almost like a human!), Bannon was the first Komodo dragon to reach adolescence outside of the jungles of Indonesia.
“Just don’t look him in the eye,” Scarey says as he tries to get encourage the former executive chairman of Breitbart News to fuck off into a patch of cold shrubbery. “If he thinks you’re at all interested in him he’ll start telling you why he should be president, how he is a member of a master race, and how much meat he can eat in one sitting. It’s pretty gross. Though the meat factoid – 80% of his body weight in a go – is a handy ice breaker in pretty much any situation.”
With the cage open, Bannon shows no sign of being ready to depart. “Let’s go Steve, quit dicking around. I know you have a hard time making friends but we just can’t have you around the zoo anymore,” Scarey urges, looking at his watch. “C’mon, I gotta get going, it’s almost time to feed the white elephant his burger and I still have to stop and pick up Diet Cokes on the way back.”
Photo Credit: T. J. KIRKPATRICK / THE NEW YORK TIMES / REDUX