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Donald Trump: His Own Worst Enemyby David Bloomberg -- 01/02/2007
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Before the first season of The Apprentice started, Donald Trump was not a popular man. He was generally thought of as egomaniacal, a womanizer, and not a particularly nice guy. Often, he was his own worst enemy when he came off as a jerk in public situations. But The Apprentice did wonders to change his public persona.
Sure, people still thought of him as being too concerned with money – one look at his suite reinforced that image – but he was also somehow more likable, even as he was telling people, “You’re fired!”
Soon, Trump was back in style again. He was popular. People paid to attend his speeches. He was even on commercials! His show was doing well and so was he.
Then it all started to go downhill. I’m not sure if he started believing his own press, if he reverted to the behavior of the pre-Apprentice Trump, or if he was the same man all along and it just finally seeped through again. But as soon as the ratings started to drop, as they eventually do for all TV shows, Trump started publicly looking for people to blame. At the beginning of one season, he triumphantly talked about how he had personally selected the candidates, as if that would prove to everyone that he knew what he was doing. But the show still had its fair share of nutballs and morons.
Then there was The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Before that show aired, Trump was all flowers and butterflies about how great it would be to have his friend Martha doing the show, which he co-executive produced. And a number of us who review such shows thought that, coming right after her stint in jail, The Apprentice might do for Stewart what it did for Trump – rehabilitate her image.
But then the show went sour, dragging down the ratings for Trump’s series in the process. Frankly, this was not exactly unexpected, as many of us predicted a problem with having two versions of The Apprentice on at once, but that was NBC’s fault, not Stewart’s. And while there were certainly problems with the show – lack of a catchphrase, the stupid letters to fired contestants, etc. – some of the blame for those problems should be placed with the producers. And who was one of the producers?
But of course Trump needed somebody else to blame, so he aimed at Stewart. In a very public war of words, he attacked Stewart. While she was not exactly a popular figure, it was still ugly and showed how easily Trump could publicly flip on a person.
In an ironic turn of events, Trump later decided that Carolyn, who had become quite popular as Trump’s sidekick on the show, had too much fame go to her head. So he fired her and replaced her on the show with his daughter for this upcoming season. It seems to me if he was looking for a way to make the show more popular, not less, he wouldn’t get rid of one of the people on it who helped with that popularity. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with Ivanka Trump, who filled in admirably last season, but she’s no Carolyn, and Trump’s treatment of Carolyn is just another strike against him.
And then there was the public argument with Rosie O’Donnell in the past couple weeks. Trump, as the owner of the Miss Universe organization, had decided to give Miss USA another chance after she was caught drinking underage. Rosie, who has a big mouth of her own, took him to task for this on The View. She’s a talk show host, blabbing off is what she does. If he had not been an egomaniac, that’s all there would have been to it.
But Trump showed that he remains today the egomaniac he always was. He couldn’t have Rosie O’Donnell criticizing him, so he attacked back. Among other things, he called her a “loser” and “a very dumb human being” with “no intelligence.” In addition he said, “She is a mental midget, a low life,” and, “I think she’s got a death wish.” And let’s not forget, him calling her “that big, fat slob.”
He went even further, though, even saying, “She better be careful because I’ll send one of my friends to pick up her girlfriend, and I think it would be rather easy.” Yes, he is suggesting that he could break up Rosie and her girlfriend, who are raising children together. This is especially ironic given that one of Rosie’s criticisms of Trump was that he was not qualified to be a moral authority, given the way he cheated on two wives and split with them!
Trump could have simply taken the high road – or no road at all – and not responded. If all celebrities publicly counter-attacked like this every time their name was mentioned on a daytime talk show, the airwaves would be filled with mudslinging that would make political campaigns seem like lovefests.
But most public figures know better. They let the daytime talk shows have their jabs and life goes on. Even if they thought about wanting to respond, they have P.R. people to stop them and remind them of how delicate a matter verbal jousting can be.
Since Trump only seems to hire yes-men, there is no way a P.R. person would step in and say, “Mr. Trump, stop! You’re making the situation worse!” That person would be fired in an instant, and Trump would still be out there acting like an idiot.
Perhaps Trump is speaking out because a new edition of The Apprentice begins soon. Maybe he is of the opinion that no publicity is bad publicity. After all, people are talking about him again – witness this article! But I’ve got to think there would have been a better way for him to return to the headlines.
Donald Trump has gone full circle. He is once again his own worst enemy. NBC has already skipped one TV season for The Apprentice. If The Apprentice: Los Angeles doesn’t improve in the ratings, or if Trump continues his downward spiral, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the last season of the show.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out this other recent Apprentice article:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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