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Supposing the notion that not all attention is good attention for Donald Trump, the last couple weeks of the presidential election were not the best of times for the outspoken real estate magnate.
Always polarizing, he became a Tea Party hero in early 2011 as he publicly pondered a run for the presidency, dragging discredited accusations that President Barack Obama was not a native-born American back into the spotlight. His tweets became a one-stop shop for reporters looking for bold, controversial headlines, and he opined on everything from the economy to Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson‘s relationship. He also had a regular segment on Fox News.
Whether he wielded real influence or was more of a sideshow is hard to say. But in late October, he tested that line between media relevance and electoral pull, announcing that he had a “bombshell” announcement to make about Obama that could alter what was a very tight presidential race with GOP nominee Mitt Romney, whom Trump supported. Days later, Trump dropped the bombshell: He would donate $5 million to charity if Obama submitted his college application and passport records.
The announcement immediately drew mass mockery, with Stephen Colbert countering with his own $1 million offer if Trump allowed him to put his testicles in his mouth. Even Obama tweaked the move on The Tonight Show, and it was quickly discredited, pushing Trump further from the spotlight he had sought to grab. Announcing that he’d extend the deadline a few days due to Hurricane Sandy only earned him more mockery.
Angry at the coverage, Trump announced his intention to review various journalists on the fairness of their work.
By 11 p.m. EST on election night, Obama was close to being declared the winner. Trump was obviously far from pleased with this result, and took to Twitter to air his grievances. They were, as one might expect, pointed and dramatic.
“We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!” he wrote, “Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.” He also tweeted — but has since deleted — “He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!”
As he added more to his rant, NBC’s Brian Williams openly mocked him on air.
“Donald Trump — who has driven well past the last exit to relevance and veered into something closer to irresponsible here — is tweeting tonight,” Williams stated, reading Trump’s tweets on air.
Finding his pride damaged, Trump replied — via Twitter — to Williams on Wednesday morning.
“Brian, I hope ?@NBCNightlyNews? isn’t paying you too much–look at what’s happening to nightly news,” he fired, adding, “Brian Williams was never a smart guy but always passes himself off as such. People will learn the truth!”
As his tweets went viral again, Trump was slammed in a story about his relationship with Romney on BuzzFeed. Detailing Romney’s obsessive desire to earn Trump’s endorsement and please him once he got the blessing, the story detailed the difficulty the campaign had with keeping him on message.
“He used Romney’s candidacy as a vehicle to rail against the president he hated, and when he was feeling generous, he occasionally paid lip service to the Republican nominee,” BuzzFeed wrote.
The GOP is less than happy with that performance, and can’t be happy with The Hollywood Reporter poll that found Trump actually pushes people toward voting for Democrats.
Still, there is one virtual certainty: Trump will be heard from again.
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