[guest post by Dana]
Back in March, former Trump strategist Stephanie Cegielski penned an open letter to Trump followers explaining why she left the campaign and why she came to believe that it wasn’t possible for Trump to be anybody’s champion but his own:
What was once Trump’s desire to rank second place to send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman has nightmarishly morphed into a charade that is poised to do irreparable damage to this country if we do not stop this campaign in its tracks.
I’ll say it again: Trump never intended to be the candidate. But his pride is too out of control to stop him now.
He doesn’t want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. He’s achieved that already and then some.
Trump acts as if he’s a fictional character. But like Hercules, Donald Trump is a work of fiction.
No matter how many times he repeats it, Trump would not be the “best” at being a president, being in shape, fighting terrorism, selling steaks, and whatever other “best” claim he has made in the last 15 minutes.
He would be the best at something, though. He is the best at looking out for Donald Trump — at all costs.
Given that, along with his compulsion to make money and expand his brand, there is an article out today suggesting that the nominee may be looking to capitalize on the massive audience he has managed to captivate for the past year by possibly creating his own cable channel:
Trump is indeed considering creating his own media business, built on the audience that has supported him thus far in his bid to become the next president of the United States. According to several people briefed on the discussions, the presumptive Republican nominee is examining the opportunity presented by the “audience” currently supporting him. He has also discussed the possibility of launching a “mini-media conglomerate” outside of his existing TV-production business, Trump Productions LLC. He has, according to one of these people, enlisted the consultation of his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who owns the The New York Observer. Trump’s rationale, according to this person, is that, “win or lose, we are onto something here. We’ve triggered a base of the population that hasn’t had a voice in a long time.” For his part, Kushner was heard at a New York dinner party saying that “the people here don’t understand what I’m seeing. You go to these arenas and people go crazy for him.” (Both Kushner and Ivanka Trump did not respond to a request for comment.)
Trump, this person close to the matter suggests, has become irked by his ability to create revenue for other media organizations without being able to take a cut himself. Such a situation “brings him to the conclusion that he has the business acumen and the ratings for his own network.” Trump has “gotten the bug,” according to this person. “So now he wants to figure out if he can monetize it.”
Hope Hicks, Trump’s spokeswoman, adamantly denied that such conversations have occurred. (“There is absolutely no truth to this whatsoever,” she told me. “This hasn’t been even uttered. Not even thought about.”) Then, after conferring with Trump, she issued a subsequent statement clarifying her point: “While it’s true Mr. Trump garners exceptionally high ratings, there are absolutely no plans or discussions taking place regarding a venture of this nature.”
As Jim Geraghty points out,
“Some candidates just get a television contract after quitting the race; Mike Huckabee got his own show. Talk about raising the bar, if you can turn a presidential campaign into a cable television network.
Such a venture would be completely consistent with all that we know about Trump.
But when one considers the latest poll numbers, this new venture may be getting underway sooner rather than later. In addition to the not-encouraging poll numbers, just yesterday for the first time, CNN, Fox and MSNBC all cut away from Trump’s speech at a rally in order to air Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy concerns. I guess if there is a media blackout on Trump, he’ll take matters into his own hands and look out for the Real Donald Trump.