Need another reason not to vote for Donald Trump for president? The Celebrity Apprentice star doesn't think rules apply to him. Why else would he be using his own reality TV show to talk about his more or less guaranteed purely speculative bid for the White House in 2012?
The Donald claims "everyone is saying I should run for president" on air on the latest incarnation of The Apprentice (an everyone that does not include, well, anyone I've met, but that's him talking, not me). He not only asked the celebs playing his game to weigh in on his potential for getting their votes if he ran for the presidency, but NBC aired Meat Loaf's offer to help with the Donald's campaign. Smooth move. He skirted the Federal Communications Commission rules on offering equal airtime to presidential candidates AND got a celebrity endorsement from a rocker popular with a certain sector of America.
But can we say "skirted" again? What Trump did by talking about a "potential" run for the presidency seems legal. He hasn't, in fact, declared himself a candidate. However, he's all but placed his name on the ballot as he lights up the talk shows with far-fetched claims about President Barack Obama's birth certificate and goes about his Muslim-bashing ways. Make no bones about it, Trump is campaigning right now. He's aligned himself with the Tea Party. He's used the words "run for president."
He's only "not a candidate" in the most obscure of ways. And he's milking every minute of free publicity he can get, on the backs of the public airwaves. So why does he think he deserves to keep his TV show on the air?
Even Republican Fred Thompson, aka District Attorney Arthur Branch, was honest enough during the last election season to say "yup, I'm running" and quit his job as the on-air DA. He even give up on the residuals that come from America's obsession with a Law and Order re-run available at every second. During the 2008 election, as long as Thompson was running, we had to run to old episodes of SVU and Criminal Intent to get our police procedurals fix ... until he pulled back out of the running. And that was only fair. If you're running for president, you're supposed to be thinking about more than the TV paycheck.
Trump thinks he hears Americans clamoring for him to run, but what he is really hearing is a land full of people asking him to "put up or shut up." If he wants to run, we're fully committed to going out and voting against him. But the least he can do is make it a fair fight.
Are you losing respect for Trump every day with his shenanigans? Or is he on your "yes" list for 2012?
Image via NBC