Let us, then, count the ways in which President Donald Trump is running the White House along reality TV lines:
1. He’s got a cabinet full of rich guys—like Shark Tank.
2. He has “the best words”—like Newlyweds star Jessica Simpson. Most recently, he middle-of-the-night tweeted a six-word sentence fragment: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. And, faster than you can say “Ambien Tweeting” the hashtag #covfefe began to trend worldwide on Twitter. Hours later, he tweeted to suggest he had no idea what “covfefe” meant. Hillary Clinton speculated it was a message to the Russians; Sen. Al Franken explained it was Yiddish for “I gotta go to bed now.” But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted, when asked, the tweet was entirely understood by Trump and a handful of his confidantes.
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3. His fashionista daughter and rich son-in-law are always in the picture, in the best Kardashians tradition.
4. He revels in ice cream and flat-screen excesses when entertaining guests at the White House, in the manner of Real Housewives of Fill-in-the-Blank.
5. His grasp of history (he said Andrew Jackson, who died in 1845, opposed the Civil War, which broke out in 1861; he mistook Frederick Douglass as being among the living) is Bad Jeopardy.
6. His relationship with his Communications Office is straight out of Hell’s Kitchen. Most recently, White House Communications Director Mike Dubka quit after just three months, multiple people approached for the gig have replied “nope,” and a veteran from W’s administration advised prospective replacements, via Mediaite, they’d come out of Trump’s administration, “with your reputation in tatters, your credibility utterly destroyed, and your job prospects close to nil unless you want a low level CNN contributorship.”
7. Trump gets much of his news from Fox & Friends; people trying to get his attention have been known to get themselves booked on his fave shows.
8. He is obsessed with Nielsen ratings, which forced White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to hold a post-inauguration presser and insist, of Trump’s inauguration, facts notwithstanding: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period” after press reported on the actual Nielsen ratings, showing President Obama’s first, historic inauguration had drawn a larger crowd. The following month, at the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump asked visiting dignitaries and religious leaders to join him in prayer—for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Celebrity Apprentice ratings, Trump being one of the show’s producers. More recently, Trump boasted Spicer’s press briefings are the most watched thing on daytime TV.
9. Trump reflexively brawls like a reality show participant. He missed few opportunities to whack Schwarzenegger’s performance on Celebrity Apprentice, even though he had a financial interest in the show’s success, as producer. In January, Trump savaged Schwarzenegger’s performance and called himself a “ratings machine”, tweeting: “Wow the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT.” Schwarzenegger said his longtime friend was angry because he had not voted for Trump and told others to do the same, adding that he would not return to the show, if asked, because the Trump connection was toxic to viewers. Trump hit back that he did not quit—he was fired.
10. His tantalizing any-day-now teases about a big Paris Climate Accord In-or-Out reveal were straight out of Ryan Seacrest’s American Idol “after the break!” playbook.
11. Like the Kardashians or Dr. Oz, Ivanka has her product lines on the side, which the president’s campaign-manager-turned-adviser Kellyanne Conway happily endorsed on a cable news network. As President of the United States, Trump attacked Nordstrom’s for dropping Ivanka’s line, citing sagging sales.
12. Trump seems to prefer to operate within the confines of a “Winter White House,” aka Mar-a-Lago, or his “Summer White House,” aka Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ. Very Big Brother.
But, maybe most disturbing of all: Donald Trump is starting to sound like Alec Baldwin.
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