April 22, 2011
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: So, Donald Trump, the failed real estate broker turned reality television host—and potential presidential candidate?—is in the news. This time, he’s fighting with Jerry Seinfeld. The jokester withdrew from participation in a charity event Trump’s son is sponsoring to benefit St. Jude’s Children Hospital because he was “increasingly uncomfortable’’ with The Donald’s playing the birther card about President Obama.
Seinfeld is still making a donation to St. Jude’s, but Trump, who also responded in full rhetorical overload to Bill Cosby’s recent critical comments about him to Meredith Viera, unloaded on the comic, writing, in a letter he made sure was released to The New York Post and elsewhere: “We don’t care that you broke your commitment…What I do feel badly about is that I agreed to do, and did, your failed show, 'The Marriage Ref,' even though I thought it was absolutely terrible."
Classy. Trump’s people say that Bret Michaels will be subbing for Seinfeld at the event.
Meanwhile, on CNN’s “In The Arena," New York Times financial reporter Floyd Norris and legal analyst/New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Toobin took a close look at the mogul’s misstatements about his financial dealings—and whether he actually owns his Las Vegas casinos—in a deposition in a libel case.
Among the laughable assertions, host Eliot Spitzer cited, was Trump’s avowal, on the Larry King show, that his “Trump International" golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes is “getting reviews that it's a better golf course than even the Great Pebble Beach, which of course I love. But I have 2 1/2 miles on the ocean which is more than any other course. Every hole either is on the ocean or faces the ocean, and it's great. And in addition to that, I'm building 75 great mansions over the top of the golf course. So it's a very exciting project."
Hmm. I’m sure Mr. Eastwood, Ueberroth and Palmer are flattered by the compliment.
Spitzer went on to say, “Earlier today, we called the sales office at the Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles. How many of those 75 mansions have been built? Five years later, six. And no more are under construction. And how many have been sold? Three. But here's the thing, in 2003, Trump valued the property at $30 million. In 2005, he valued it at $360 million. Why? Because of the 75 mansions, but only six of them are there."
Credibility gap, anyone?
Let’s face it, Trump is providing some entertainment value in an otherwise dull political season in which the Republican opposition seems to be taking a marginalized powder. And it’s too obvious to point out that he’s obviously hyping “The Celebrity Apprentice" and doesn’t stand a real chance at nomination, let alone the Presidency.
But the whole dicey affair does remind one of the increasingly scary role that media, and celebrity, can play in the political process.
Here’s a scene from Elia Kazan’s prophetic 1957 move, “A Face In The Crowd." Andy Griffith (yes, Andy Griffith) plays “Lonesome Rhodes," a homespun hillbilly with a huge television following who’s giving a stuffed-shirt plutocrat politician a forum for ideas on Social Security that don’t seem that foreign, say, from those being offered up by Paul Ryan. Let the buyer beware.