Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

New Season of 'The Apprentice' Will Have Presidential Theme

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

New Season of 'The Apprentice' Will Have Presidential Theme

Article excerpt

Donald Trump's supporters all use the same words to describe his appeal: He's real. He's authentic. He tells it like it is.

That has never been true. Trump has always been a performer: an actor playing a character who seems authentic. But that's not the same as actually being authentic.

Now Trump's chief adviser -- and the Trumpster himself -- have confirmed that essential fact. His campaign is all an act, a reality show, "The Apprentice 2." Except the catch phrase is not "You're fired!" It's "I'm hired!"

That adviser, Paul Manafort, told a closed-door meeting of Republican officials: "The part he's been playing is evolving into the part of that you've been expecting, but he wasn't ready for it because he had the first phase. You'll start to see more depth to the person, the real person. You'll see him in a different way."

Get past the garbled syntax, and Manafort's meaning is clear. Trump has been playing a part. Now that the Republican nomination is within reach, he'll be "evolving" -- assuming a new role, a new identity, for a new season.

Coming soon to a football stadium, TV screen or digital platform near you! "The Apprentice 3"!

If you think we're being unfair, listen to Trump himself speaking at a rally in Bridgeport, Conn. In a rare moment of candor, he admitted what his campaign is really all about. It's entertainment. It's showtime!

"Being presidential is easy," he said. "It's much easier than what I have to do. Up here, I have to rant and rave and keep you people going, or else you're going to fall asleep on me, right?"

Manafort -- perhaps unwittingly -- reinforced Trump's point that as performer, as entertainer, only one goal matters: Keep 'em amused. Keep 'em awake. Keep 'em wanting more.

"When he's out on the stage," Manafort said of Trump, "when he's talking about the kinds of things he's talking about on the stump, he's projecting an image that's for that purpose. …

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