Is Donald Trump a "carnival barker"? Are his collective media appearances of late the stuff of a "sideshow"? President Obama seemed to suggest as much during a very brief press conference the other day in which he attempted to put to rest the largely Trump-fueled frenzy over the validity of his birth documents.
Perhaps the president was referring to other public figures who have been busily fanning the flames of this latest political controversy when he declared, "We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers," later adding, "We do not have time for this kind of silliness." But as I listened to him the first name that came to mind was Trump.
I'll leave it to others to determine whether such words apply to Trump's mission to verify Obama's personal history. I will assert, however, that they describe perfectly the Trump we have been watching this year on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice.
To give credit where it's due, Trump has made Celebrity Apprentice the must-see guilty pleasure spectacle of the season. Make no mistake: It is pure, unadulterated trash -- but it is one of the few shows with any life on NBC's schedule, and it does generate money for a number of worthwhile charities, so it deserves recognition. And yet, as I watch, I find myself struggling to continually separate the three Trumps -- Reality Show Host/Producer, Business Titan and Possible Presidential Candidate (and, by extension, Possible President) -- all the while wondering (and perhaps worrying) how much of the first soaks into the other two.
Flanked by his adult children --- who never, ever challenge or contradict their dad -- Trump blusters, boasts and bulldozes his way through each episode, especially in those riveting boardroom confrontations, where it's celebrity against celebrity and Trump against all. I like to think that the boardroom segments of the show are expertly conceived and orchestrated by Trump to be exactly what they are - sizzling, exasperating, wholly engaging and a triumph of irresistible escapist entertainment. I also like to think that they in no way reflect how Trump and his executives conduct themselves in their real-life businesses.
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