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14th and L streets NW, June 16, 2019

On a hot, humid Father’s Day, a man and woman try to decide if it’s worth it to wait in line. “It’s really up to you,” he says. 

Those who have already committed do what people stuck in a line do: They cope. They sit in the shade and use external phone batteries. They buy slices of pizza and bottles of water from a Domino’s employee who works the line with a cart. A boy standing in a different line, this one for a nearby ice cream truck, yells to his friend in the main line: “Tell me what you want!” And when someone comes by and tells them it should be only 30 more minutes, they nod energetically.

They’re waiting to see The Daily Show’s The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library. The joke that this famously anti-reading politician might someday use the tradition of the presidential library to create a monument to his own short messages is on point, but the fact that this country elected a hypo-literate egomaniac is no longer funny, if it ever was.

Kevin has come here from northern New Jersey with his family. They made the trip in part to see this pop-up exhibit, and in part because his parents have never been to D.C. He tells his parents about the crazy things the president tweets, but wants to show them it’s all real. “Cataloging it shows it is permanent,” he says. 

Another woman agrees. She doesn’t use social media because of privacy concerns, and wants to see for herself if what she reads in the media is true. Yes, there are people here who think it will be good for a laugh, but it’s more of a “gallows humor,” as an intern from Johns Hopkins puts it, and more sad than funny, according to Mark from Virginia. Seeing these tweets all in one place is a reminder that “this is really happening,” Claire, 22, says after exiting the exhibit. 

Earlier in the day Trump tweeted a Father’s Day message to his followers, “including my worst and most vicious critics, of which there are fewer and fewer.” The block-long line suggests otherwise.