No Business Like Trump Business

It was recently reported in the New York Daily News that the eldest children of Donald Trump staged an “intervention” last month in an effort to get their increasingly unhinged Pops to stop ranting about President Obama’s background. 

A “source close to the family” is quoted as saying: “The three of them met, and went to see their dad in his Fifth Ave. office. They showed a lot of respect, but told him he’s worked too long and too hard to build up the reputation he has. They understand completely he’s always been outspoken and that he likes attention, but this is too much."

As awful as Trump is, his kids do seem okay.  I imagined this scene: The Donald tells his receptionist to let the visitors in. Tentatively, they approach him on his cardboard throne. He’s wearing a blue fleece zip-up hoodie with “The Donald” embroidered on his shoulder. (He thinks it works for Chris Christie.) Ivanka and Don speak. As he wipes away some Whopper grease and ketchup from his mouth, he smacks his full lips a bit. “Who sent you?” he asks. No answer. “I demand to see your birth certificates!”




No? Okay -- scenario number 2: Trump stabs his short pointer finger in the air. “You’re fired!”
Huh? How about, “I have no children!”

Feel free to make up your own response along with mine -- as this story, although it appeared in the Daily News and then was picked up all over the interwebs, is clearly apocryphal.

In response, Trump actually tweeted: “The dying NY Daily News put out a false report about my kids not wanting me to criticize Obama...totally false!” He further chided that his kids would never tell him that, because “it’s not in their nature.”

Get a guy with a bird’s nest on his head all over Twitter, and there will be blood.

But let’s look more closely at the language of this news report. It includes the words, “Fifth Ave., respect, reputation, outspoken.” Wait a minute! Sounds like the Donald crafted it himself! Who else would put the address of Trump Tower, “respect” and his name together in the same sentence?

You recall that Trump teased his own presidential candidacy to get more viewers for the last “Apprentice” finale. He was running based on his ability to do business; he has successfully manipulated the laws surrounding Chapter 11 bankruptcy (four times) to cover his personal fortune -- if that makes him a good businessman/politician. He also built an ice rink for New York City once, and it doesn’t leak. 

Still, he’s got his Macy’s deal, and his name leased to those buildings and casinos, so initially, his obsession with the birther stuff was a surprise. But the fact that he rode it to such a level of deluded buffoonery seemed beneath even him. The coup de grace was his “October surprise” -- the “bombshell announcement” that he unleashed via a You Tube video and painful appearance on "David Letterman."

Jumping off his tremendous success in obtaining Obama’s release of his birth certificate, yada yada, he said, he now demanded that the President release his college transcripts, applications and passport applications. “If he does that to my satisfaction, and if it’s complete,” Trump said, he would write a $5 million check to charity.

"Will someone tell Donald Trump we don't live in Gotham City?"  tweeted Maroon 5 singer and "The Voice" coach Adam Levine.

You could say it was a Bat Signal, or a ransom note. (Or that he was treating the President like a contestant on “Let’s Make a Deal.”)  The funniest part, while sitting with the bits of fiber attached to Velcro on his head, was that he said he was doing it “for the sake of transparency.”

Letterman must have been especially pissed when Obama later appeared on Leno and addressed the bizarre pseudo-feud. O’s response allowed him to present one of his funniest and winningest pre-election moments ever: “"This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya," he smiled, explaining that they played together as boys on the soccer fields, and Trump “wasn’t very good.” The cool customer response, swatting Trump away like a fly, perhaps earned him a few more votes.

Poor Donald. He’s fallen off the fame cliff, and he can’t get up. (He fell off the follicular cliff long ago.)

His mainstay for income (and the center from which all the other deals, like Trump Water, flows) is NBC’s "The Apprentice," which no longer exists in young-person acolyte form. In this economy, getting fired isn’t funny. That whole go-go comb-over mogul thing, with the real-estate deals, the chopper, the marble palaces and the three wives, is so old-school, after all.

Although it did give Trump the chance to show off his digs to the swooning would-be interns. He only shows his home to “presidents and heads of state,” he admitted in one of the early seasons. “If you’re really successful, you’ll live like this,” he said to one young female contestant, gesturing to the waterfall and massive gold doors, installed in the  early ‘80s by first-wife Ivana. I wanted the woman to respond: “You mean like the dictator of an Iron Curtain country from the 1960s?”

The only famous Apprentice to come out of all of those shows is Bill Rancic, and he used the opportunity to marry a star on E! and do more reality shows.

One thing that show was great for, though, was advertising: So many of the competitions revolved around creating ads, and the level of work was so amateurish that it served as its own ad for the importance of professionals who work at actual agencies. 

"The Apprentice" is still on, but as "Celebrity Apprentice." It comes back in March with an All-Star Edition. Ratings were down last year; but the network is giving the freak show another go. (La Toya Jackson is back, and so is Gary Busey!) I believe even Lindsay Lohan said she was busy. We are deep into the age of “reality” TV, which gives “real” people hugely amplified lives as fake stars, who then get to interact with actual stars who crave a career comeback via “reality” TV. And the cycle continues.

Indeed, the reality genre has gone from spotlighting kitschy opulence and richness, to the Housewives all going bankrupt, losing their homes, or getting divorced, to focusing on rednecks, abandoned storage lockers and hoarders. In that same underground genre, though, Intervention is still huge. Wait a minute. A narcissist like The Donald insanely and desperately craves the mirrors and the cameras, and he’ll do anything to keep it going. Even if it means staging a phony intervention to float the idea of future interventions.

9 comments about "No Business Like Trump Business".
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  1. Barbara Lippert from, November 29, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.

    Thank you, Paula. Can you book me?

  2. andrew ault from Advertising, November 29, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.

    Funniest piece on Trump since the days of Spy magazine in the 80's.

  3. Stan Valinski from Multi-Media Solutions Group, November 29, 2012 at 3:35 p.m.

    Thank you Barbara! Great writing.

    It's rare that I get to truly and literally laugh out loud while catching up on new emails. You hit every nail on the head and summed up my own observations of the most annoying narcissist on the planet.

  4. Barbara Lippert from, November 29, 2012 at 5:27 p.m.

    Thank you, Andrews and Stan. I had so much to work with!

  5. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER, November 30, 2012 at 9:44 a.m.

    The only worse obsession was Andrew Sullivan's notion that Sarah Palin's fifthe child was someone else's.

  6. Massimo Mobilito from Viewthrough Measurement Consortium, December 1, 2012 at 8:14 p.m.

    More dish and less warmed over schadenfreude please.

  7. Feminista Fan from The Past, Present and Future, December 3, 2012 at 8:37 p.m.

    What a weird story. I think Barbara called it - Donald Trump either leaked or made up the story to get him off the tirade he's been on for the past few months. This is the last nail in the Donald Trump coffin...I hope.

  8. Lex Singer from Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, December 5, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.

    so great

  9. Claudia Caplan from MDC Partners, November 29, 2016 at 10:45 a.m.

    Well you know my theory.  The masses watched "Celebrity Apprentice" and saw that Donald was undisputably the big boss.  He actually fired celebrities -- the most important people in the world -- he fired Gene Simmons and Melissa Rivers.  He fired a Kardashian for heaven's sake.  I mean, who gets to fire celebrities?  And he called them by their first names while they ALWAYS called him Mr. Trump.  The subliminal message of those shows is, at least in part, what got him elected. So now we get to watch four years of Celebrity President with no option for cancellation.

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