But this election has been different. Trump has behaved as nothing less than an unhinged lunatic, the billionaire as low-information voter, and an embarrassment to himself and those associated with him. And it’s time for some of his partners -starting with NBC- to distance themselves from him.
First he flirted with running for president himself in the Republican primaries, as though Trump for one second would consider ditching his opulent lifestyle in order to shake hands with people in diners in Iowa and New Hampshire, or that the GOP primary electorate would stand for a guy on his third marriage who’d taken all sorts of non-conservative positions in the past (though on second thought…)
In the process, Trump both embraced and became chief spokesman for the vile, racist-to-the-core lie that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and had faked his birth certificate. After the president finally released his long-form birth certificate, Trump claimed that he’d “won,” which is only true if your definition of “winning” is the definitive debunking of your core argument. The release of the birth certificate, Seth Meyers utterly destroying him at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and then the killing of Osama Bin Laden 24 hours later did nothing to diminish the cheap shots at the president.
Trump spent much of 2012 occasionally appearing with Mitt Romney at fundraisers. He planned to appear at the Republican convention, doing a HEE-larious comedy bit in which he was to say “You’re Fired” to an Obama impersonator, but only the pre-convention hurricane, and then the Clint Eastwood chair stunt, saved him from that particular bit of embarrassment.
Then, in October, he teased a “major announcement,” a total dud in which Trump offered to donate to the president’s favorite charity in exchange for the release of his college records. Democrats laughed at him, while Republicans were disappointed that that was the best he could do. My reaction was that this is what happens when you have no one around to tell you “no.”
Then, when Hurricane Sandy struck Trump’s hometown of New York, instead of dropping the whole thing or making the donation anyway, he doubled down, bashing the president for having better things to do than to respond to his offer.
And then, on election night, Trump tossed out an increasingly nasty series of tweets, first questioning the numbers of Obama’s victory and then calling Mitt Romney’s loss “a sham and a travesty,” a “great and disgusting injustice,” and called for a “revolution.” Trump later deleted the tweets, but Salon collected them.
What Trump is doing has a name: in Internet culture, it’s known as “trolling.” He’s saying and doing outrageous things, because every time he does he gets attention and press. That the day after the presidential election, some percentage of the political press is talking about Donald Trump instead is, to Trump, the greatest gift of all. Indeed, throughout all of this, the media has rushed to cover every one of Trump’s statements, with airtime and frequent retweets.
It’s time to stop rewarding it. NBC should announce, today, that it’s canceling The Apprentice. Companies that Trump endorses should think long and hard about continuing to stay in business with him.
I’m not only saying this because Trump has been critical of the president. And I would never be in favor of any sort of government censorship of him.
NBC should get out of business with Donald Trump because he has lied and committed character assassination, while serving America’s leading proponent of a debunked, race-baiting conspiracy theory. Even the network’s own lead news anchor, Brian Williams, said on the air election night that Trump “has driven well past the last exit to relevance.”
Trump is embarrassing NBC, to the point where they need to no longer associate themselves with him.