If you’re someone who keeps up on current events you know one fact to be true: the world is full of assholes. There are the billions of literal assholes, of course, and then the figurative ones that seem to make their way into our daily news cycle.
Sometimes the asshole in question is a badly dressed despot (think Gadhafi) and other times they’re strategically misinformed fear mongers (think anyone appearing on Fox News). In recent weeks, one of America’s all-time great jackasses has managed to commandeer a ridiculous amount of press by threatening to run for the Presidency of the United States.
If there were an asshole Hall of Fame, Donald Trump would get in on the first ballot. The peak of the self-aggrandizing real-estate mogul’s jackass-ery may have been his recent celebrity roast on Comedy Central. As close friends and professional comedians took profane shots at the Donald’s career, enigmatic hair and love life, the guest of honor stared blankly at the audience, staunching refusing to acknowledge that any part of his life could possibly be the butt of a joke.
In the last couple weeks, the man with the world’s most famous comb over has provided future roasters with even more comedic gold by insinuating he might run for President in 2012. While the idea of a Trump candidacy is funnier than a Jeff Ross put down, there are many out there who don’t get the joke. The media is covering Trump and his potential campaign like it’s a missing blonde co-ed and Republican voters have put some legitimacy behind the threat by moving him to the top of the GOP field in a recent poll with 26%.
This would all be very newsworthy except that there’s no chance of a Trump campaign ever getting off the ground. In fact, I’d say there’s a better chance of Lindsay Lohan gracing next month’s cover of Good Housekeeping.
For one, he doesn’t actually want to run. He admitted as much during a weekend interview with CNN. “I love my life. I love what I’m doing. I wish I didn’t have to do it. I would prefer not doing it. But I love this country.”
While I appreciate his selfless patriotism, a true patriot would have spared the American public from having to watch Meatloaf and Gary Busey yell at each other on primetime television. And I could be wrong, but that quote certainly doesn’t make it sound like the host of “The Apprentice” is ready and willing to go through the grind of a long political campaign.
Trump also knows he can’t win. As iconic as he may be, the GOP is not exactly a party known for taking a lot of chances with their presidential nominations. They have a long and storied tradition of putting the “next guy in line” on stage at their convention and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon. Besides, does anyone really believe that Red State voters are going to come out in droves to cast their ballots for an elitist business tycoon from New York City who’s been married three times?
But the real reason Trump will not throw his proverbial hat into the ring is simple: financial disclosure forms. These documents are a requirement for candidates and Trump’s would be a particularly interesting revelation because of the public’s perception of his empire. No matter how much money the Donald is really worth, there’s always a chance that the figure, no matter how high, would seem inadequate.
The myth of Donald Trump’s wealth and success is perhaps the most important part of his public persona. If the numbers in his documents revealed him to be quite wealthy as opposed to really obnoxiously otherworldly rich it could seriously damage the Trump brand. And that’s something he would never allow to happen.
Trump is a brilliant self-promoter who has an uncanny ability of knowing when and where to rear his ugly head. He’s recognized a power vacuum amongst Conservatives and has pounced at the chance to fill it. Not because he has any serious ambitions for the highest office in the land but because badmouthing Obama and questioning the legitimacy of the President’s citizenship is good for business.
By endearing himself to the birthers and tea party faithful at the most extreme end of the political spectrum, he’s opening up new markets for all things Trump. He’s speculating on the anti-Obama crowd, knowing that these are consumers who have yet to drink from the Trump trough. But now that’s he’s gained their trust they’ll be ripe for the picking the next time he’s selling a book or promoting a reality show.
Donald Trump’s faux run at the White House is not about patriotism or love of country. It’s not about righteousness or outrage. It’s not even about politics. It’s about ego, money and little else.
And if that doesn’t make him one of the great American assholes then I don’t know what would.