Come on, let’s all admit it. During last year’s campaign, Donald Trump’s insult-comic persona ended up serving him well.
Given the long careers of Don Rickles and Andrew Dice Clay, it might seem surprising that Hollywood didn’t reward Trump with more love.
If you look at his stand-up routines as a whole, the frequency and fullness of Trump’s alienations can astound.
There was his statement that Sen. John McCain was a war hero only for being captured. There was his opening campaign rant about how Mexico sends us rapists. There was his spiteful announcement of “stiff” Sen. Lindsey Graham’s cell number.
His name-callling, thumb-nosing tirades also included: House Speaker Paul Ryan is weak; Sen. Charles Schumer is a clown; “Kenya-born” Barack Obama was a terrible president who wiretapped him; “Little Marco” Rubio; “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz.
And, the CIA has no credibility. Hillary Clinton? Lock her up! Look at that face on Carly Fiorina. Dishonest media underrated my inaugural crowd.
Look at how that Washington Post reporter twitched when he didn’t support my fantasy about seeing thousands celebrate on 9/11! George W. Bush lacked the IQ to be president. The judge is against me because of his Mexican heritage.
Rick Perry “put on glasses so people will think he’s smart.” Now Perry is Trump’s energy secretary. Not that this was unprecedented when you consider that Lyndon Johnson famously said Gerald Ford “played too much football without a helmet” -- yet appointed him to the Warren Commission.
While Trump zingers caught on and hit home, many of them just sounded childish and belittling. Rally-goers laughed and loved them, of course, since the targets were seen as irritants.
Sometimes his coddled lack of manners was defended asTrump being candid, and therefore, not a politician -- if being a politician would have meant feigning respect for those he disdains.
Funny thing is, Trump seemed to get his best ratings since becoming president when he spoke to Congress without heckling his audience.
Also, Trump’s Supreme Court pick won positive reviews from conservatives. And Wall Street seems to love Trump’s deregulation moves.Still, these could have been expected under a Republican president who didn't habitually demean others.
Ironically, Trump from here on deals — in Congress at least — with people he sneered at under the makeshift banner of telling it like it is. Senators McCain, Graham, Rubio, and Cruz, and Rep. Ryan, all swallowed the past put-downs, returned to the Capitol and seemed to move on to business. Will they get a little payback as they negotiate the president’s budget and legislation, this year or after? Wait and see.
So far, so good for Trump. This week, for example, Cruz groveled in a cringe-inducing way by bringing his young daughters to meet Trump, who’d publicly insulted both their mother and grandfather.
Because Trump is now the Washington establishment, the stakes are raised when he tries to come off as a nothing-to-lose underdog or bullies those who cross his path.
This may be the first time that a president plays the anti-Rodney Dangerfield — by giving no respect.
Even if the future of “The Apprentice” is in doubt, the reverse-Rodney bit has a while left to run.