TRUMP’S Partial Government SHUTDOWN: Television Is Telling The President What To Do

Is Reality Television Really to Blame for President Donald Trump?

|JULIE MILLER, VANITY FAIR|AIWA! NO!|Last year, Real Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen noticed Donald Trump using so many pot-stirring tactics from the Bravo franchise that he began cataloguing them on Twitter. When the president used social media to cancel a White House invitation that N.B.A. champion Stephen Curry had not yet officially rejected, Cohen tweeted, “HOUSEWIVES PLAYBOOK: rescind invitations liberally! (See: Bethenny re LuAnn, Mexico; Bethenny & Ramona, Mexico).”

Trump’s post-election digs about Hillary? “Keep bringing up fights from last season.” Trump’s excuse for not immediately calling Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto following an earthquake? “Blame cell-phone reception.” Trump’s suggestion that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign colluded with the Russians? Tossing out bogus statements in desperate pleas “to stay on the show,” Cohen wrote.

CAST OF CHARACTERS
From left, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump.
Illustration by André Carrilho.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
From left, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump.
Illustration by André Carrilho.

It isn’t surprising that in the first year-plus of his presidency, Trump has returned to the reality-TV toolbox he used so effectively during his 14 seasons on NBC’s The Apprentice—where he rebranded himself from 90s tabloid buffoon into something resembling a successful C.E.O. Yet it’s still scary that Trump—essentially an amusing reality-TV character who wound up in the White House through an arguably Twilight Zone-worthy sequence of events—is running the country with the same kind of schemes Ramona Singer deploys during white-wine-fueled Hamptons getaways on The Real Housewives of New York City. Only, to Cohen, Trump’s flagrant headline grabs are so artless that the president would be kicked off a Bravo series that traffics in backseat limo brawls. (Or maybe “impeached” would be the verb.)

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