Magazine article The American Conservative

You're Hired

Magazine article The American Conservative

You're Hired

Article excerpt

Poor old Donald Trump. The president of the United States stands up in a cavernous, packed ballroom and makes fun of him at the White House Correspondents'

Dinner while thousands laugh their heads off. The Donald remains stonyfaced and unsmiling, stoic like an ancient Greek.

So what does the media have to say about him the next day? If memory serves, no adjectives were used that one could apply to a Greek, ancient or otherwise. Self-smitten, rude, namedropping braggart who mistreats lesser souls, a pompous jerk who acts like an oligarch- you name it, they said it. That the Donald can be bombastic, boorish, and a blowhard is undeniable. But he can also be funny.

The last time we came face to face was during Conrad Black's famous birthday dinner for Barbara Black, an expense that helped prosecutors paint Lord Black as a crook (as false a charge as the denial by Donald Trump that he's a habitual user of body waxing). "He's better than Shakespeare!" cried Donald while extending his hand to me. He continued to praise me during the ensuing guffaws, to the great amusement of my friends as well as enemies. (I had almost come to blows with Richard Burt during the party.) This was vintage Donald Trump. One didn't know whether he was "taking the mickey" or not. It was certainly over the top.

Despite a rather messy personal life, Trump briefly rose to the top of some polls for the 2012 Republican presidential bid. His pluses are name recognition and business credentials; his minuses are his hair and his solipsism. His reason for running is very simple: He likes to see his name in the papers. Trump has as much desire to go the whole way as I do to spend a weekend in the company of Bill Clinton and his child-molesting friend Jeffrey Epstein. Trump's bid, bad pun intended, is yet another PR con to keep his name in lights. And with the kind of celebrity-obsessed media we have, what could be easier?

The Donald knows how to play the culture. While he was still married to Ivana, many years ago, he had her ring up Lee Radziwill, Jackie Onassis's sister, and ask Lee's advice on how to redo the East Room in case Donald ran for president. I can hear the conversation: "Do we take down the portrait of Madison and replace it with that of Franklin Pierce?" If Ivana had ever heard of either, that is. …

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