Welcome to the Donald Trump Show. We expect this will be, proverbially speaking, at least, interesting, and would encourage at all times to bear in mind that this is, after all, Donald Trump we’re talking about.
To wit, NBC has severed ties with Trump; Cynthia Littleton of Variety explains:
NBC is ending its long relationship with Donald Trump in the wake of the presidential hopeful’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants.
NBC said it will no longer carry the Trump-produced Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Nor will he return to the long-running reality show “The Celebrity Apprentice” as host, a role Trump already said he would give up because of his presidential bid.
“Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,” NBC said in a statement. “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.”
Trump told CNN that he was considering filing suit against NBC. He said in a statement that “NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct” before saying that NBC will support disgraced journalist Brian Williams “but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be.”
“We must have strong borders and not let illegal immigrants enter the United States,” Trump said. “As has been stated continuously in the press, people are pouring across our borders unabated. Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now. Long ago I told NBC that I would not being doing ‘The Apprentice’ because I am running for president in order to make our country great again.”
So, here’s the thing: This might be a calculated gamble.
Think about it for a moment:
(1) Pick a fight.
(2) Pretend to be a victim when the backlash comes; dig yourself a deeper hole.
(3) Posture yourself as a victim when further consequences arrive.
Start with a simple pretense: “NBC is afraid of me, so they dumped me.” Perhaps it seems a silly boast, but what credibility will that play among … er … ah … well, you know, whatever Republican voters Mr. Trump thinks he has?
Because, really, what else could motivate him to pick the fight the way he did? Ben Kamisar of The Hill brought us a story last week that is one hundred percent pure Donald Trump:
Donald Trump has a message to Univision employees amid his ongoing flap with the network: Stay away from my hotel.
The real estate magnate and GOP presidential candidate penned a letter to Randy Falco, president of Univision Communications, in which he bans the company’s employees from his Trump National Doral hotel in Miami.
“Under no circumstances is any officer or representative of Univision allowed to use Trump National Doral, Miami — its golf courses or any of its facilities,” Trump wrote.
He also called for Univision to cease construction on its Miami headquarters adjacent to Trump’s hotel. He warned that if the construction isn’t stopped and the gate between the two properties is not closed, “we will close it.”
The letter comes after Univision decided not to air Trump’s Miss Universe pageant because of remarks he made during his presidential announcement speech that the network believes disparaged Mexicans.
Seriously, how does any of this make sense? You don’t invest in a fight like this unless you are expecting some sort of return.
And that’s where the fact of this being Donald Trump comes in. Because it is easy enough to suggest insanity about the proposition that such an idea could work, but at the same time who among us can rightly argue they understand how Mr. Trump sees the world? What support does he think he has? What support does he think he is rallying? What sort of movement does his delusion believe his is stirring?
Interestingly, a photo caption by Kena Betancur noted, “in this announcement speech he did not say explicitly if he was running for the party’s nomination or as an independent”. While it is true that Trump’s FEC Form 2 describes him as a candidate for the Republican nomination, Betancur’s note also describes a fair question. Mr. Trump, first and foremost, is a walking human brand. Brian Lowry of Variety reminds:
Politicians campaign to win votes and collect contributions. So somebody who is unfettered by either of those concerns represents a bit of a wild card – and a reason why Donald Trump is sucking oxygen out of the Republican presidential race.
Although almost nobody in elite political or media circles wants to take the wealthy host of “The Apprentice” seriously as a candidate, his blunt talk and colorful style make him positively catnip for both the media and latenight comedians, who have barely been able to contain their glee since his entry into the process. And because Trump’s primary goal seems to be garnering attention – something he has historically been quite good at – he can say and do the kind of things that become virtually impossible to ignore.
So while more traditional politicians jockey to break out of the crowded GOP pack, they find themselves vying for coverage with Trump, who kicked off his campaign with inflammatory remarks about Mexican immigrants that turned into a multi-day feeding frenzy, prompting Univision to drop its telecast of the Trump-backed Miss USA Pageant and the mogul threatening a retaliatory lawsuit. Top that, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Indeed, almost everything about Trump’s forays into politics since President Obama’s election have been infused with an apparent desire to generate maximum exposure, from his embrace of “birtherism,” attempting to prove Obama was not actually born in the United States; to bouts of childish name-calling directed at the likes, recently, of syndicated columnist/Fox News analyst Charles Krauthammer, who dared to laugh off his presidential bid.
It seems reasonable enough to suggest that Donald Trump will not be president. What, then, is he on about? Building his own legend? Perhaps. But what does that tell Republicans?
He’s a presidential candidate who will risk the argument that America isn’t great. We’ll see how this goes. Will he drag the Republican Party down with him? What if that’s the point? Will Trump’s strategic genius only be evident three cycles from now when the political landscape looks so different because he managed to somehow completely wreck the GOP we know today?
No, really. Other than the pure ego rush of running for president and the self-justifying whining after he is rejected, the bit about how he was just too real, too dangerous, for Americans to grasp―building a legend in his own mind―what the hell does Donald Trump think he’s getting out of this?
And maybe that isn’t evident to us. But taking after immigrants? Taking after Univision? What in any context that can remotely claim a whiff of conventional wisdom does Donald Trump get out of this?
A calculated gamble, perhaps. But what is the stake he’s after? It isn’t really ours to know; as we might recall, this is Donald trump we’re talking about, after all.
Image note: Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City on 16 June 2015. Trump, one of America’s most flamboyant and outspoken billionaires, threw his hat into the race Tuesday for the White House, promising to make America great again. The 69-year-old long-shot candidate ridiculed the country’s current crop of politicians and vowed to take on the growing might of China in a speech launching his run for the presidency in 2016. “I am officially running for Prsident of the United States and we are going to make our country great again,” he said from a podium bedecked in US flags at Trump Tower on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The tycoon strode out to the strains of “Rockin’ in the Free World” by Canadian singer Neil Young after being introduced by his daughter Ivanka. His announcement follows years of speculation that the man known to millions as the bouffant-haired host of American reality TV game show “The Apprentice” would one day enter politics. Trump identifies himself as a Republican, and has supported Republican candidates in the past. But in this announcement speech he did not say explicitly if he was running for the party’s nomination or as an independent. (Photo credit: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty)
Kamisar, Ben. “Trump bans Univision employees from Miami hotel”. The Hill. 26 June 2015.
Littleton, Cynthia. “NBC Cutting Ties to Donald Trump Over ‘Derogatory’ Remarks About Immigrants”. Variety. 29 June 2015.
Lowry, Brian. “For Donald Trump, Hogging the Media Spotlight Equals Victory”. Variety. 28 June 2015.