Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I watched Donald Trump's...

...entire presidential announcement speech last night and thought -- more than once -- that it was indistinguishable from a Saturday Night Live parody.

I've often wondered how some billionaires like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg come across so normal on TV while Trump is such an ass. Why doesn't someone who loves him (like his daughter) tell him so? (Are they all under his spell or something?)

But I think I've finally got the answer: it's all an act.

Erick Erickson (whom I don't normally read) writes (all emphasis mine):

There is one more thing I want you to know about Donald Trump. I’ve met him and interviewed him before. When the camera was not on and the interview was not going, he was not The Donald. He was a guy who cared deeply for his staff and the people who merely walked in the front door of his building. I want you to know that the Donald Trump I’ve seen in private is not the Donald Trump you see on stage because I think we are not going to see that Trump. It’s our loss and it will be his own loss. The person, a separate entity from the personality, is a good man.
...I have a soft spot for Trump. From the same vantage point, I’ve seen him behave kindly to people far lower on the rung of life than him when he did not have to. Character when the camera isn’t rolling counts in my book.
Unfortunately for Trump, The Donald does not come across in public the way Mr. Trump does behind the scenes.

And a piece in the Washington Post echoes this somewhat:

Trump has long prided himself on his ability to attract — and manipulate — the news media.

In his 1987 bestseller, The Art of the Deal, Trump wrote:

One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It’s in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.

I’m not saying that [journalists] necessarily like me. Sometimes they write positively, and sometimes they write negatively. But from a pure business point of view, the benefits of being written about have far outweighed the drawbacks.

The funny thing is that even a critical story, which may be hurtful personally, can be very valuable to your business.

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.

So maybe it's all part of his strategy to build the Trump brand. (He couldn't possibly be like this in real life.) But, either way, until Trump drops out -- and I think he will before Iowa -- he's going to make for great entertainment. (And provide a major migraine for Reince Priebus.)

As I told my son yesterday, it was the greatest day of my life. (Or at least this week.)

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