My Opinion Of The Donald Remains Unchanged

Donald, how could you? How could you treat the United States of America as if it was some sleazy reality show? How could you disrespect us like that?

I’m not a Trump liker. If you’d like I’ll list my reasons. I’ve done that before. To me he is an empty suit–no substance.

I was incensed when he decided to run for president, but decided to avoid commenting until he inevitably dropped out. That happened this afternoon.

Donald, how could you? How could you treat the United States of America as if it was some sleazy reality show? How could you disrespect us like that?

The letters USA mean something. Trump not so much.

Over the last few years, according to interviews and hundreds of pages of court documents, the real estate mogul has aggressively marketed several luxury high-rises as “Trump properties” or “signature Trump” buildings, with names like Trump Tower and Trump International — even making appearances at the properties to woo buyers. The strong indication of his involvement as a developer generated waves of media attention and commanded premium prices.

But when three of the planned buildings encountered financial trouble, it became clear that Mr. Trump had essentially rented his name to the developments and had no responsibility for their outcomes, according to buyers. NY Times

No one expected Trump to really run for president yet he played us just like Robert Kraft did when he teased Connecticut with the Patriots. I didn’t believe that one either.

Meanwhile Trump took potshots at the president and cheapened the political discourse. He feigned worry over the president’s birthplace.

“I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding,” Trump told NBC’s “Today” show –

Then he worried some more.

In yet another round of TV interviews, the suddenly omnipresent Donald Trump offered to release his tax returns—President Barack Obama released his on Monday—if Mr. Obama first offers up a copy of his birth certificate.

Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington on Feb. 10. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
“ I may tie my tax returns into Obama’s birth certificate,” Mr. Trump said on ABC’s “Good Morning America”.

It’s all BS, right? There were no investigators. There will be no tax return revelation. Trump thought we were saps and treated us accordingly.

My opinion of The Donald remains unchanged.

Seth Meyers Killed At The #Nerdprom

His best stuff was aimed at Donald Trump who was there and frozen in a disapproving stare. It was as beautiful an awkward moment as I have ever seen!

I have added video of both President Obama and Seth Meyer’s WHCD routines at the end of this entry.

Nerdprom, or more accurately #nerdprom is the Twitter hashtag coined by Ana Marie Cox (aka the original Wonkette) and used to flag tweets about the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. Nerdprom fits perfectly, because you can’t be a White House correspondent without being a nerd!

Tonight was the 2011 gala. Everyone in the ‘punditverse’ was there as were many highly placed pols. The President was there.

This has got to be C-SPAN’s highest rated night of the year, right?

I plugged the #nerdprom via Twitter and Facebook. Only my nerdiest of friends responded. Love you guys.

Helaine stepped up her already smoking world class hotness a notch or two when I came down after a nap and found her watching the #nerdprom pre-game show! Be still my heart.

The President’s routine was disappointing. Disappointing? Theme there?

I like him so much. I just wish he’d start to do what I want done.

Seth Meyers from SNL was the headliner. A few minutes in I said to Helaine, “He’s funnier here than there.”

That’s a real problem for a comedian playing an acoustically challenged venue like the DC Hilton. Comedy needs good sound.

As time went by the audience warmed up. I posted, “Seth Meyers killing at #nerdprom” to both Twitter and Facebook.

His best stuff was aimed at Donald Trump who was there and frozen in a disapproving stare. It was as beautiful an awkward moment as I have ever seen! Not a Trump fan here and the last few months haven’t changed my opinion.

Here’s Politico’s compilation of Meyers’ best material.

“CSPAN is of course the official network for wide shots of empty chairs. … CSPAN is one unpaid electric bill away from being a radio station.”

“Sen. Jon Kyl told me 90 percent of what [the White House Correspondents Association] does is abortions.”

“You know how you know I’m not in New York? In New York, no one is excited to go to a Bloomberg party. In New York, a Bloomberg party is five people standing outside of a bar complaining about Bloomberg.”

“Katie [Couric] was known best for asking those tough questions, like ‘Name a newspaper.’”

“Jon Hamm looks the way every Republican thinks he looks. Zach Galifianakis looks the way every Republican thinks every Democrat looks.”

“Donald Trump has said he’s running for president as a Republican — which is surprising because I thought he was running as a joke. “

“Donald Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, which is great for Republicans because it will streamline their search for a vice president.”

To President Obama: “I’ll tell you who could beat you: 2008 Barack Obama. You would have loved him.”

To President Obama: “If your hair gets any whiter, the tea party is going to endorse it.”

It’s good to be a nerd.

Offshore Taxes

The president announced a plan today to lessen the advantage of using tax havens. There will be kvetching. I feel little sympathy.

attessa.jpgIs this what he’s talking about? Dennis Washington is a very wealthy man with one of the largest yachts in the world. He is an American and made his money here. The yacht is flagged in the Cayman Islands. I took the photo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

trump-jet.jpgThe same question goes for Donald Trump’s jet. It’s callsign is VP-BDJ. I wrote about this in more detail in February 2006.

Why is Donald Trump’s jet registered on a British Island? Whatever the reason I suspect I don’t benefit.

Miss USA–Yeah, I Watched

At least two girls had all-purpose answers which they were going to use no matter what the question. Mission accomplished.

Helaine and I watched Miss USA tonight.

From Las Vegas, but live at 4:00 PM PDT. Is there anything less sexy than Vegas in the daylight? They used all nighttime exteriors!

I’m told the female host is from NBC’s Earl. Horrendous. Awful. Stiff. Cannot read. Made Billy Bush look good.

Billy Bush–worse than he seemed.

Miss Connecticut has very long legs but didn’t make it to the top-10. That seems unfair.

They make the contestant answer questions… controversial questions. That’s not fair. At least two girls had all-purpose answers which they were going to use no matter what the question. Mission accomplished.

I don’t like Donald Trump and this show did not dissuade me.

A few of the girls wanted to go into TV news. Good choice because being pretty and wanting to be seen and adored are the two qualifications necessary. Welcome aboard.

Atlantic City Observations

I was going to continue my trip report on Atlantic City, but too much time has passed and I don’t have notes. There are some observations I still want to make.

Atlantic City is not Las Vegas. With the exception of Borgata&#185, where we stayed, all the hotels looked shabby and worn. Most were decorated in a style that implied glitz thirty years ago, but no longer does.

Donald Trump’s name is held high over a number of the hotels. I doubt he’d want us to judge him by these facilities.

Most of the hotels in AC, if they stood in Las Vegas, would be scheduled for demolition!

We had a few really excellent meals. I’ve already written about Wolfgang Puck’s place (excellent pizza, half filled bowl of chowder), but we also grazed at the Borgata buffet for breakfast, Old Homstead (excellent steakhouse) and The Metropolitan, Borgata’s equivalent of a Vegas coffee shop.

At the Old Homestead, I ordered the house special – the first time I’ve ever ordered a steak I couldn’t finish!

Beautiful restaurants were very pricey. There’s no way around that.

If you’ve read the blog any length of time, you probably know I don’t drink anything alcoholic (except Bailey’s, which is spiked chocolate milk. I’ll have a Bailey’s once or twice a year). My traveling companions, Rick and Dennis, were ordering “Gray Goose Martini, dirty” at every opportunity.

Finally, I asked to take a sip – the curiosity was killing me. It was very tasty, pleasantly briny and surprisingly without the alcohol burn I expected.

I’m already up to my eyeballs in vices. We’ll keep your resume on file.

Rick and Dennis had the hotel reservation before I came on board and the room only had two beds… so Rick brought a blow-up mattress. Perfect. In fact, on the second day, the maid actually made that bed along with the two others.

You see all sorts of characters when you’re playing poker. Character is the correct characterization. Many try and take on a distinct persona by their dress and manner. Poker is, after all, a game of psyching out one’s opponent.

I sat next to a guy at one table who wore very shiny gold jewelery. It was overly shiny, if that’s possible. Imagine the kind of ‘star filters’ they put on the cameras at QVC and HSN to make everything glitter, but in real life.

On his left wrist he wore a gold Rolex, diamond encrusted. The second hand swept around the face smoothly. Fake! Real Rolex’s tick each second individually. I understood more of him than he could ever know.

In poker, it’s called a tell.

There are lots of young people in their twenties playing cards. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. When you’re in your twenties, how much discretionary income do you have? They’re not all winning.

There’s no doubt poker’s popularity is still on the rise. Borgata has a huge room. Other casinos have enlarged their poker areas too.

We came with a list (compiled by Dennis) of potential poker tournaments to play. There’s no shortage of those either.

As always seems the case, the weather was awful. It was either raining, or threatening to rain. I can’t remember the last time I saw Atlantic City framed against a blue sky. Maybe next time.

&#185 – I had referred to this hotel as The Borgata, but their own signage says, “Welcome to Borgata.” They should know.

PR Coup In The Big Apple

If you believe what was breathlessly reported in the entertainment press, then 20 year old Miss USA 2006 Tara Connor, had been drinking, doing drugs and making out with another woman. Donald Trump, owner of the Miss USA pageant, thought that might be bad for business.

This is the same Donald Trump who’s ex-wife, Marla Maples, said, “Donald Trump is the best sex I ever had.” Now he’s worrying a girl-girl make out rumor might injure his beauty pageant.

Donald? Hello?

Anyway, the original plan was to throw her out. Then, she and The Donald spoke. Today, her repentance was announced at a televised press conference in New York.

This was a PR coup – really! There is no way it could have been calculated to come off this well. This wasn’t turning lemons into lemonade, this was turning lemons into platinum.

Tara cried huge tears and looked innocent and vulnerable. Donald Trump looked warm and fuzzy&#185. It was on every TV newscast in America… quite possibly the world. It will be in every newspaper in the morning.

Watch the Miss USA ratings this year. Drugs, alcohol and the rumor of lesbian romance will erase any drop off in recent telecasts.

There is one part of the story that does bother me – rehab. I’m not saying rehab is a bad thing nor that she doesn’t need it. I have no personal experience, but the concept sounds efficacious.

I just worry rehab has become the last resort of scoundrels – a modern day ‘get out of jail free’ card. Look who’s gone recently!

Are they trying to rehabilitate people or a careers?

&#185 – OK – he always looks a little fuzzy, but this is different.

Donald Trump’s Jet

My question: Why is this plane, Donald Trump’s plane, registered outside the United States? It seems to be based at LaGuardia Airport in New York. I hope it’s maintained there… crewed there… certified there… taxed there. I suspect it’s not.

trump-jet.jpgI’m not a huge fan of Donald Trump. I’ll admit that. Trump is the classic case of a guy born on third base who thinks he hit a triple.

In the early 60s, my grandparents sold their little Cape in Laurelton, Queens and moved to Trump Village in Brooklyn. This huge and unwieldy cluster of co-op apartments, erected for the middle class a few blocks from the ocean in Brighton Beach, was built by The Donald’s dad, Fred.

I’ve got nothing against Fred. My grandparents were glad to have this apartment to call home.

On the other hand, I remember stories of Donald as a landlord, doing his best to make life difficult for older residents in luxury Manhattan buildings, renting at below market rates under New York City’s controversial rent control laws&#185. He didn’t come off as a sweetheart to me. In fact, he came off with no heart to me.

Can I maintain a dislike for decades? I guess so.

The reason I bring this up tonight is because Helaine and I are sitting here watching the Olympics. A few moments ago a promo for The Apprentice came up, with video of Donald’s beautiful 727.

It struck me funny that it’s Trump’s plane, because the callsign is VP-BDJ. All US registered planes begin with “N”. The “VP” designation means it’s registered in a British Overseas Territory.

There are loads of photos of VP-BDJ – and it’s a beaut. The shining colors belie the age of this airplane, first delivered to American Airlines a few days before I turned 18–back in 1968!

My question: Why is this plane, Donald Trump’s plane, registered outside the United States? It seems to be based at LaGuardia Airport in New York. I hope it’s maintained there… crewed there… certified there… taxed there. I suspect it’s not.

I hate it when success is built on avoidance rather than accomplishment. That’s what I’m scared of here.

&#185 – When I went to double check the facts about Trump, an entry of mine came up first in the Google search! Did I have it wrong? Was I sustaining my own cruel fable about Mr. Trump?

As it turns out, a deeper search found this revealing story, published in the New York Times on June 4, 1983.

Beauty’s Only Skin Deep

Even in the newsroom, there’s always gossip and chatter. Today, one main topic of discussion was the engagement of Donald Trump and the immense diamond given to his fiancee. As would be expected, the soon-to-be Mrs. Trump III is much younger than “The Donald.”

I certainly don’t know, but I would expect this to be a relationship which is defined in agreements drawn up by lawyers, for Trump’s benefit.

I have known the Trump name for a long time. My grandparents lived in a huge apartment complex in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn – not far from Coney Island. It was called Trump Village and was built by Donald’s dad, Fred. Back then, the Trump name was associated with housing for the masses, not the monied.

If I remember correctly, my grandparents lived one floor below the top in a building that was 23 stories tall (I’m sure my mom or dad will read this and send me the correct number). There were thousands of families crowded into this little enclave with nearly no parking for residents and less for visitors. Two separate elevated train lines snuggled up against the building, and the terrace view showed the expanse of the Coney Island Subway Yard.

Donald Trump’s name first came to my attention when he rescued New York City’s Central Park skating rink. It was a project which languished under mismanagment of the Parks Department. Trump moved in and voila – it was done.

In that one move, Donald made a name for himself.

He also made a name for himself in other ways. I remember, but can’t find the story now, Trump making life difficult for some elderly, rent controlled tenants in a Midtown Manhattan building he was refurbishing. Stockholders in his Atlantic City casinos haven’t benefitted from The Donald’s guidance either.

One of my co-workers said, “Who wouldn’t marry Donald Trump?” I think that really meant who wouldn’t marry his money? But money is only a small part of a larger package.

Lack of money can make you unhappy. But the opposite doesn’t apply. Money, by itself, can’t make you happy. Trump has two failed marriages behind him. If money was the end all, he’d still be on number one instead of aiming toward number three.

By the way, the same applies to beauty. Who is more beautiful than Halle Berry? Her most recent marriage just broke up.

I know Trump was a major (maybe the major) reason behind the success of The Apprentice. Still, I see him as an empty suit. I don’t know why exactly. I do know if he and I shook hands, I’d count my fingers afterward.

Am I misreading him? Maybe. Looking back at what I just wrote, I wonder if I’m too judgemental? I don’t see him as a man with many redeeming features. And, I don’t know why the charm others see in him evades me.