Any hope for a Trump-free panel about CNBC’s new reality series West Texas Investors Club went out the window when the participants were asked to comment on the presidential hopeful early in the Q&A session during the TCA Summer Press Tour.
Not really a surprise for a panel where both reality TV and money are involved. The new unscripted series from The Profit producer Charlie Ebersol focuses on self-made oil and real estate millionaires Rooster McConaughey and Butch Gilliam and their Shark Tank-style decisions on whose projects they should invest in. The show also features colorful country music star Gil Prather.
Gilliam took the bait. “The trouble with Donald Trump is that his thoughts turn into words,” he quipped, to laughter. “That may be a good thing that may be a bad thing, but it’s sure true”.
When pressed about the 1 percent question and income inequity, they defended their right to their self-made millions: “Nobody distributed us any money. We earned it,” said Gilliam. McConaughey said: “we’re not about enabling people” and groused about how the American government is doing “a pretty good job” of giving money away.
So what are they doing on a show about giving away money to fledgling entrepreneurs? Gilliam softened his tough-guy stance a bit to answer that one. “We’re all about helping the little guy. We were the little guy. We know what you are talking about, and we are sympathetic to that”.
Ackerman pointed out that the trio had invested $500,000 of their own money in the first episode.
Unless pressed, however, the guys seemed to prefer playing the role of country bumpkin to commenting on the economic state of the union. Said McConaughey: “We’re not highly educated people (but) you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room … you just have to be smart enough to know what you don’t know.”
One thing they would like you to know: They were describing themselves as the West Texas Investors Club way before the movie Dallas Buyers Club. “We were always called that,” said McConaughey. Joked Ackerman: “But we are going to exploit that going forward.”