UPDATE with statement from Fox News Channel: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for President of the United States and we are going to make our country great again,” real estate mogul and Celebrity Apprentice star Donald Trump announced at Trump Tower this morning, ending two decades of flirtation.
The announcement raises questions as to what NBC will do about Celebrity Apprentice, and its broadcast of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Trump has starred in Celebrity Apprentice since its inception; the network has not yet shot a new season, but is expected to continue the franchise with his children taking over as its stars. NBC co-owns the beauty pageant franchise broadcasts with Trump. “We will re-evaluate Trump’s role as host of Celebrity Apprentice should it become necessary, as we are committed to this franchise,” NBC said in re that franchise; the network has not yet responded to questions about the Miss Universe franchise.
It also raised the question what FNC would do about Trump’s regular appearances on the cable news nets morning program Fox & Friends. He’s done a weekly hit on that show for years. FNC said this morning that while Trump is a POTus candidat, it is discontinuing his regular F&F appearance, effective immediately.
NBC insiders describe Celebrity Apprentice as a reliable ratings attraction, always delivering good ratings results that are competitive and definitely help the network with solid results on nights such as Mondays this season, bridging the gap between The Voice editions, and Sundays after football a few seasons back. That said, NBC went two years between the last two editions.
In its recent January-February cycle, Celebrity Apprentice grew by 26% in the demo versus the prior cycle in spring 2013, to a 2.4 rating, and by 1.8 million viewers (up 31% to 7.6 million). It was the show’s most-watched cycle since the Spring ’11 edition, which had averaged 9.0 million viewers.
Once again, Trump demonstrated he knows how to make news, saying he will use his own money to finance his campaign. “I’m really rich.. that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country,” he explained, adding, “It sounds crass; it’s not crass.” Waving a sheet of paper on which he said was a breakdown of his finances, Trump claimed to have a total net worth of approximately $8.7 billion.
“I’m not doing that to brag, because I don’t have to brag,” he bragged. “I’m doing that to say that’s the kind of thinking our country needs. We have opposite thing – we have losers we have people that don’t have it, we have people that are morally corrupt, that are selling this country down the drain.”
Among the things he said he would do quickly if elected is to “appeal and replace The Big Lie Obamacare. (When Obamcare “really kicks in in 2016″ President Obama may be playing golf – possibly even on one of Trump’s courses, The Donald dreamed on stage. “I have the best courses in the world. I have one near the White House.”)
I would build a Great Wall — and nobody build walls better and I will do it very inexpensively – on our southern border and have Mexico pay for it.
The United States, Trump said, has become a dumping ground for Mexico, and other country’s “problems. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people who have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems: drugs,…rapists… and some, I assume are good people.”
He vowed to restore the might of the country’s military.
“I will find, within our military, the Gen. Patton or I will find the Gen. MacArthur, I will find the right guy who’s going to take that military and make it really work. Nobody will be pushing us around. I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons and we won’t be using a man like Secretary [of State John] Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiations, who is making a terrible and horrible deal…and goes into a bicycle race at 72 and falls and breaks a leg. I will never be in a bicycle race.”
Trump dismissed his GOP rivals.
“They all want me to support them,” Trump said. “I watch the speeches of these people and they say, ‘The sun will rise, the moon will set – all sorts of wonderful things will happen.’ And people are saying, ‘What’s going on? I just want a job. I don’t want rhetoric.”
More where that came from:
“All of these politicians I’m running against now – it took [Jeb] Bush five days to answer the question on Iraq. He didn’t know! Then, look at Rubio, he was unable to answer the question, ‘Is Iraq a good thing or a bad thing?’ How are these people going to lead us? How are we going to go back and make us great again? They don’t’ have a clue!”
Trump was in the news in January for announcing which sports franchises he was not buying — the Brooklyn Nets, for instance. Back then, cable news networks also feasted on Trump suing the “malicious” Palm Beach, FL airport for $100 million, accusing the county-run airport of deliberately sending air traffic over his mansion and private club because the local airport director was seeking revenge for a 20-year-old lawsuit.
But, until this morning, Trump’s never topped his appearance at NBC’s May 2011 upfront presentation when he became THE big news of Broadcast Upfront Week, announcing, “I will not be running for president — see you for a great season [of Celebrity Apprentice]!” That was the year The Donald said he was mulling a run at the White House and held a news conference to take credit for the release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate.
“Sadly the American dream is dead,” Trump told the Trump Towers crowd this morning. “But, if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better an stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again.”