He’s baaaaack. Donald Trump — you know, the one who says he has a great relationship with “the blacks” — just posted his big announcement on YouTube. The announcement that has been the source of much media speculation, and that was supposed to be a game changer in this race — the October Surprise we’ve all been waiting for. What we got instead was more Trump being Trump, and by that I mean a ridiculous, self-important, bloviating, over-the-top man.
So what was his big announcement (which you can see here if you must)? That he would give $5 million of his vast fortune to the charity of President Obama’s choice, if Obama would “come clean” and release his full college records and his passport application. Yup, that’s right. That was the entire thing, save for Trump taking credit for forcing Obama to release his long-form birth certificate, and saying that Obama is not transparent (and where are Mitt’s taxes?). I sat at my desk watching this and mostly laughed. But now I’m annoyed.
WHY does the media keep giving this man a platform? He has waded into some of the most racialized politics this campaign season has seen (and yet the Romneys just LOVE HIM). Is it because at one point, he actually led the potential GOP field of candidates? Well, that’s not saying much. Is it because his show The Apprentice makes NBC more money than most of their scripted shows? Could be. Or is it just because the media is secretly hoping for something — anything — to continue to shake up this race so they can still write their “Mitt Romney is Winning” stories, even if the facts on the ground prove otherwise? Could be.
I’ve written before about how I used to admire Donald Trump growing up. Living in Jersey, I was fascinated by this larger-than-life personality, with the wives, the casinos, the tacky gold apartment and the bankruptcies. But somewhere along the line, he went from being a interesting to a divisive, arrogant, disrespectful figure. And since he didn’t actually run for office, and since he holds no elected office, maybe, JUST MAYBE, we can all stop paying attention to him now.
I would think after this latest stunt, the next time Donald Trump says he has a “big announcement” we just collectively roll our eyes and go back to obsessing over the polls.
Daniella Gibbs Léger, a former special assistant to President Obama, is the Vice President for American Values and New Communities at the Center for American Progress. Follow her on Twitter @dgibber123