Deciphering the Donald


Anna Holmes does the math:

The world was reminded of the Trump Rule earlier this month, when New York Times columnist Gail Collins published a piece detailing how "The Donald," in a fit of pique worthy of gossip blogger Perez Hilton, once sent her a copy of her column with the words "Face of a Dog!" scrawled on top of her picture. Collins, it should be noted, is just one of many targets of Trump's gender-specific hostility: Last year, the master media manipulator was accused of asking the men on "The Apprentice" to rate their female peers, based on appearance, just one of a number of sexist decisions he's made over the show's 11 seasons. ("I bet you make a great wife," one contestant says he told her in 2005.) 

No one is above his reproach. In 2007, commenting on a spat Angelina Jolie was having with her father, Jon Voight, Trump disparaged the actress's sexual history ("she's been with so many guys") and told Larry King, "I just don't even find her attractive." That same year, he signed a deal with Fox to develop a television show called "Lady or a Tramp?," in which he would school "out-of-control young women" in the art of becoming modern-day Eliza Doolittles. (Thankfully, the show never made it to air.) In 2006, Trump called Rosie O'Donnell, then a host of "The View," a "big, fat pig" and an "animal," after she took issue with his defense of troubled Miss USA Tara Conner.

Thoroughly unsurprising, but none of it is enough to derail a presidential bid. For that, we must look elsewhere:

I hope Donald Trump, the pompous host of "Celebrity Apprentice" runs for president because then we'll get a certified look at his income, investments and debts. But here's a Trump-like prediction, which is like the various pronouncements made by the real estate developer that aren't backed by any credible evidence: Trump will not run. 

 He won't officially declare his candidacy because the Ethics in Government Act requires those running for federal office to file disclosures of their personal finances.

In the big picture, Trump still lives lavishly, whether he's a multimillionaire or multibillionaire. But his filings may reveal that he's like many Americans who live large because of their access to debt.

In short, to run for president Trump would have to risk his brand as the picture of ostentatious American wealth. Still, presidential candidate or not, I took a great deal of pleasure watching Obama ether him continuously over the  weekend. 

On Monday, a humiliated Trump released a statement with an apparent reference to a halt to partisan politics. The message was so gallant, that it was immediately thought to be some sort of esoteric code, some assemblage of mysterious glyphs which, on further study, would reveal a deeper meaning. Thus, in short order, wizened scribes were called in to the Oval Office for the purpose of translating The Donald's ruined, hastily scrawled glyphs. 

The President was told that, in the Common tongue, the missive reads, "Please stop flaying me."
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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