The embarrassing incident occurred after Ivanka left the pumpkin in the Oval Office. A meeting of President Trump’s closest advisors failed to realise that it was a jack o’lantern in the chair, not the bigly man himself.

Donald Trump strolled into the meeting after an hour, claiming that the clocks had gone back. A number of red faces joined the two orange ones as the realisation sunk in. Afterwards, none of the shamed present was willing to speak, leaving a White House spokesman to field questions.

“It is protocol that heads must be bowed during Oval Office meetings,” he said. “Therefore it was unsurprising that nobody noticed Mr Trump’s absence.”

It was then revealed that Ivanka had carved the pumpkin herself as a gift for her father. With the flickering candle-light and the yellowing leaves, Trump was apparently delighted with it. Less convincing was the reason for Trump’s tardiness.

“Donald put his clock back for daylight saving,” explained the spokesman. “In line with the UK. Two weeks ahead of the rest of America. Mr Trump likes to be ahead of the game.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the meeting went uncommonly well in Trump’s undetected absence. Without the President’s interruptions and crass self-aggrandisement, many important issues were resolved. The lack of Trump trumped Trump’s trumpery. It has been suggested that pumpkins could stand in for the President when he is not required to speak.

Pumpkins across the States are looking forward to endorsing putative Republican congressmen. Another rumour suggests that pumpkins have been banned from golf courses in 26 states.

“The game is not worth the candle,” read an official statement from the Trump International Golf Club in Florida. Meanwhile pumpkin farmers are delighted. The demand for Trump-like vegetables has driven prices through the roof. The rueful vegetable-like Trump was unavailable for comment.