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As Seen Previously on ‘Celebrity Apprentice': What a Trump Cabinet Might Look Like
March 7, 2016  | By Alex Strachan  | 2 comments

Super Tuesday wasn’t so super for old-school traditionalists. Super Saturday was no better. This is now a Donald Trump world. You’re just living in it.

It’s best to drop any pretense of civility, then, and simply accept the fact that, on Jan. 20, 2017, Donald John Trump, age 69 — he will be 70 then — may be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

It’s time then to consider what his cabinet will look like.

If it’s true, as the Emmy-winning director Jon Cassar once said — Cassar won, appropriately enough, for the counterterrorism thriller 24 — that you hire who you know, it’s not too much of a stretch to expect that a President Trump will look to his seven seasons at the helm of The Celebrity Apprentice for cabinet material.

And they say reality TV doesn’t count for anything in the real world.

Don’t scoff. Or if you must scoff, scoff at your own peril.

Presidential politics has long had an escalating celebrity component, as columnist-blogger Ross Douthat noted this past week in the New York Times. The inevitable next step, Douthat added, is presidential politics as a season of Survivor or The Apprentice, with a renewed emphasis on the celebrity factor.

Trump, born June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York — he has the birth certificate to prove it! — was supposed to have been cast aside long before now. His loyal opposition hasn’t yet learned that the louder they rant and rave against his transgressions, the higher he climbs in the ratings. He learned that from TV.

Downton Abbey is very cultured and charming and all, but if you really want to rack up the ratings, dial up on the murder and mayhem on The Walking Dead. And unlike Downton, you can sell ad time while doing it.

Never mind that you’d rather live in a Downton world than a Walking Dead world. It’s not about you. It’s about him.

Think of the Trump campaign as a fun-house-mirror version of President Obama’s celebrity-driven 2008 campaign, with Kid Rock and Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson (“I do like me some Trump!”) filling in for will.i.am and Oprah Winfrey. Time magazine has yet to do a package on “Trump’s Celebrity Army,” as it did with President Obama during Obama’s inaugural campaign for president (“Obama’s Celebrity Army,” Feb. 4, 2008), but it can’t be long in coming. There’s plenty of time between now and November sweeps.

Douthat painted presidential politics today as one-part Aaron Sorkin-scripted liturgy and one-part prestige-movie’s Oscar campaign, but of course it’s gone well beyond that. Forget anything by Aaron Sorkin. This is The Celebrity Apprentice, with Donald Trump playing the part of, well, Donald Trump.

To steer clear of any FCC concerns and in an attempt to recuse itself above the fray, The Apprentice parent network NBC has elected to replace Trump with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but let’s face it: The Apprentice without Donald Trump is a little like The Terminator without Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Enough preamble. “Hire who you know.”

So, here goes.

Given time and space constraints, it’s a limited list, but you get the gist.

Secretary of State: Dennis Rodman

Celebrity Apprentice -- Season 2

A no-brainer. Rodman, after all, is a skilled practitioner of “hoops diplomacy” (trademark pending) and has characterized North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “a friend for life” and “a great dad.” In a 2013 bid to win the freedom of American prisoner Kenneth Bae, he suggested that President Obama “pick up the phone” and, like, call Jong-un, as the two leaders are basketball fans.

Donald Trump has professed admiration for Russia’s Vladimir Putin as a man of action. Rodman, a man of action himself, can’t help but see eye-to-eye with Putin. Well, perhaps not eye-to-eye exactly, but close enough.

Rodman lasted six weeks on Celebrity Apprentice before Trump let him go for signing off on an advertisement that misspelled Trump’s wife’s name (“Milania” instead of Melania).

Spelling people’s names properly isn’t a requisite for secretary of state, however. That’s what staffs are for. A good leader knows when to delegate.

Secretary of Defense: Paul Teutul, Sr. (right)

Celebrity Apprentice -- Season 5

True, Teutul survived just nine weeks on his stint on The Apprentice but, let’s face it, creating puppets for The Jim Henson Company just wasn’t his bag. He’s more comfortable tinkering in the garage, making stuff, and being the resident boss man on American Choppers.

Gruff and short-tempered, he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. And if American Choppers taught us anything, it’s that he takes a very dim view of “doing stupid [stuff].”

Not “doing stupid [stuff]” is the cornerstone of a strong defense policy, as the current presidential incumbent has been known to say from time to time.

Secretary of the Treasury: John Rich

Celebrity Apprentice -- Season 4

The Big & Rich country-music titan raised a dizzying $1,261,908 for charity (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tennessee) in his season.

That not only won him the title in The Apprentice’s most financially productive season (runner-up Marlee Matlin raised $1,050,000 for her chosen charity, the Starkey Hearing Foundation), but also earned the respect of countless Apprentice viewers who previously considered the show to be something of a joke.

A lifelong Republican, Rich has backed Rand Paul, John McCain and one-time Law & Order dude Fred Thompson in previous campaigns.

He lacks Trump’s flamboyance and penchant for outrageous pronouncements, but Trump knows enough about finance to know that, where the state treasury is concerned, flamboyance and outrageous pronouncements are probably not the best way to go.

Attorney General: Rod Blagojevich

Celebrity Apprentice Season 3

Who, among previous Celebrity Apprentice candidates, could possibly be more qualified for the position of attorney general?

Yes, he’s a Democrat, but that didn’t stop Trump from picking the former Illinois governor for Apprentice duty in 2010. Blagojevich was an assistant state’s attorney under Richard M. Daley and served as a state legislator from 1992-’96 before surrendering his seat to run in Illinois’ 5th congressional district.

Yes, there was that unfortunate business with the corruption charges, the alleged “pay to play” schemes, the alleged “corrupt use” of his authority in filling Barack Obama’s vacated Illinois state senate seat, and losing his Illinois House impeachment vote 114-1 (with three abstentions, let the record show).

And, yes, he lasted just four weeks during his stint on The Apprentice. He did, however, outwit, outlast, and outplay Darryl Strawberry, Sinbad and Carol Leifer.

Vice President: Geraldo Rivera

Celebrity Apprentice Season 7

As the author of the 2008 book Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S., Rivera brings not only a wealth of experience to the job. He toured with the

101st Airborne Division in Iraq in 2003, though he didn’t exactly serve with them and, truth be told, it didn’t end well.

No matter. On name recognition alone, Rivera could shore up the vote in areas where Trump has been found wanting. And, more importantly, Rivera went to the final two on his season of Celebrity Apprentice, finishing runner-up to one-time Entertainment Tonight correspondent and co-host Leeza Gibbons (above, with Rivera).

Rivera knows what it takes to be a credible, dignified number two: He was passed over for the Apprentice job even though he earned more money than the winner. That’s only the second time in Apprentice history that has happened. Now you know.

Rivera knows what it feels like, in other words, to have Trump tell him, “You’re not quite ready for the big job, yet.”

Don’t you feel better for knowing that? And now for a word from our commercial sponsors.

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Mar 21, 2024   |  Reply
Now if that doesn't convince Americans to move to Canada, nothing will. As a realtor, I will do my duty and help U.S. Citizens buy their new home in Ottawa so they can be closer to our celebrity prime minister, who according to 60 Minutes may be the son of a famous actress:)
Mar 8, 2016   |  Reply
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