Listen to Meryl Streep Read a Poem From 'Trumpty Dumpty' Book

Election day proper is just a few weeks away, which means many celebrities are speaking out about politics and making their feelings about the two presidential candidates known. Meryl Streep isn't simply taking part in a straightforward campaign ad, though; instead, for a new video, she reads a few nursery rhymes mocking President Donald Trump.

Streep is one among many who are participating in a dramatic virtual reading of actor John Lithgow's satirical 2020 collection, Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age. Released in September, the book of verses tells the story of The Torys, a political party that helps a tiger become ruler of a kingdom despite the fact that he's severely unqualified. Their support of the ravenous and power-hungry Dumpty results in their biggest fears coming true when the Tiger King—as Trumpty Dumpty's often referred to in the book—topples the republic.

Streep reads the second poem of the collection, "The Torys, or the Tiger King,"
which details the tiger's ascent to the throne.

Meryl Streep Reads 'Trumpty Dumpty' Book
Meryl Streep receives the TIFF Tribute Actor Award during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival TIFF Tribute Gala at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel on September 09, 2019, in Toronto, Canada. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

"Fame, having stirred Dumpty's feline ambition, he sharpened his claws for a daring new mission. Egged on by the animals held in his thrall, he would campaign for POTUS the following fall. The Torys reacted with horror and shame with the thought of a tiger disgracing their name. Fearing the likes of a dozen Fort Sumpters, they formed an alliance of staunch Never-Dumpters," Streep reads.

"At first, they sought out a political savior to counter their tiger's rapacious behavior. But no matter how stamply his rivals would strive, in primary season, he ate them alive. Dumpty's campaigning was ruthless and shady, his electoral foe was a former first lady. Saying unfamiliar and female at that, she was juicy red meat for a ravenous cat," Streep continues. "Having cravenly failed to derail or unhorse him, The Torys were finally forced to endorse him. Despite how he made them all tremble and cower, they decided, at last, they would ride him to power. Civility, justice and reason took wings as Dumpty was crowned as the supreme tiger king. Then with murderous appetite, savage and hearty, he ate every soul in the grand Tory party."

Lithgow got the idea to host a virtual reading of his book in place of a traditional book tour, which would have been impossible because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"Here we are in the COVID era, where you can't have a proper book tour. What's the best bang for your buck when you can't leave your office or your living room? I thought, I'll just get friends of mine to film themselves," Lithgow told Vanity Fair in September.

The most recent episode of the reading tour, released on Wednesday, featured excerpts of the poems "Fire Bright!" and "Rah! Rah! Rah!," performed by Kristin Chenoweth, Samuel L. Jackson and Wayne Knight.

Lithgow, along with Streep, has been a vocal critic of the president. In addition to the book—which obviously pokes fun at Trump, members of the Republican Party and their handling of issues like the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment and racism—Lithgow published a New York Times op-ed on Friday, dubbing Trump the "entertainment president."