There is an actual possibility that the White House will be the setting of the next reality show. And no, this is not a Purim shpiel. Picture it: Melania Trump heading the cast of “The Real Housewives of The White House.”
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I can imagine Andy Cohen’s barely-hidden glee while interviewing her and other administration wives on “Watch What Happens Live.”
It’s difficult to envision anyone less presidential than Donald Trump occupying the Oval Office. By presidential I mean dignified. Articulate. Mature. Able to think beyond his own impulses.
Trump demonstrated a toned-down version of his usual mugging and mockery during his AIPAC speech Monday, but still spoke disdainfully of the president of the United States. While egging on the crowd of AIPAC Policy Conference attendees, a shocking number of whom whooped and hollered approvingly, the candidate said “President Obama (is) in his final year. Yay.”
Raising his eyebrows in exaggerated emphasis, Trump said that President Obama “may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me. And you know it and you know it better than anybody.”
While by the next morning AIPAC had condemned Trump’s disrespectful remarks, it should have known what it was in for when inviting him to speak. And that was a reality show which was by turns ugly and fascinating — and even more compelling than anything on Bravo or E!.
An AIPAC spokesman wouldn’t say Tuesday how many people tuned into the live stream of Trump’s presentation to the enormous, influential AIPAC gathering, but surely it was as record-breaking as when Bruce Jenner came out as transgender to his Kardashian family members, all of it captured by television cameras.
After all, no one but the Kardashian family is as talented as creating and exploiting popular culture as Donald J. Trump.
Perhaps he’d create a version of his show “The Apprentice” while testing out potential cabinet members.
Trump is a virtuoso of hyperbole, like most reality television stars spouting statements that bear little relationship to objective reality. Case in point: when Trump said that he has studied the Iran deal in greater detail than “anyone else” you could practically hear the State Department analysts laughing even harder than the AIPAC audience did.
True to Trump form, his AIPAC speech was long on bravado and threats, and short on actual details about policy or approach.
It was much like what Trump said in his meeting with the Washington Post’s editorial board Monday, in which he repeatedly vowed to “open” American libel laws without directly responding to questions about how he would do that.
A stunning number of Americans seem to want a Big Daddy to take care of them, and are willing to vote for Trump no matter how far-fetched or offensive his proposals, like building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Believe me,” as Trump likes to say.
As do other reality television stars, Trump reacts to what others say and do only insofar as it wounds or flatters his ego. Like other reality stars, Trump appears to have no sense of shame. Little dignity. And no sense of a bigger picture, or what might happen once near-incendiary, violence-encouraging statements leave his mouth.
Now he’s waging a Twitter war with Ted Cruz over the potential embarrassments of their wives. It was sparked by a Cruz-supporting super PAC ad targeting Mormons, which showed Melania Trump lying naked but for a string of pearls on a fur. The photo was originally from GQ and now Trump is threatening to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife Heidi.
It practically makes the former feud between recently imprisoned New Jersey Housewife Theresa Giudice and her sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga, over the latter’s reputed stripper past, look as decorous as a Daughters of the American Revolution tea party.
For Trump, ego and impulse trump judgment and discretion.
Can you imagine what he’d say to Angela Merkel about her looks if she aggravated him?
Trump cannot win the highest office in this land. Not because of his policies (or lack thereof) or his principles (or lack thereof).
But because we cannot elect as our top leader someone who vilifies entire ethnic groups, who vows to boot out millions of illegal immigrants and who promises to exclude all Arab refugees. We cannot elect someone who, after months of campaigning for the highest office in the land, still has not articulated actual foreign policy plans or specific ways to address domestic crises.
And we definitely can’t elect a man who would almost certainly slap the Trump name in huge golden letters on the front of the White House immediately after taking office. Would he insist on being sworn in with his hand on “The Art of the Deal” rather than on a Bible? It seems possible.
We enjoy reality television shows as an escape from the actual reality of our stressed out, workaday lives. We don’t want the real truth to become stranger than television.