Celebrity Apprentice: Trump Gets It

I have said on more than one occasion that I admire Donald Trump, and that I enjoy watching “the Apprentice,” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” A recent episode I watched reinforced my sentiments.

Yes, Donald Trump likes to do things in grand style. Yes, style is a major part of everything he does. Yet my admiration for Mr. Trump is because when the rubber meets the road, substance wins. In Donald Trump’s world, it is all about merit. He wants the best and brightest. He also wants the toughest. He wants those who work the hardest.

Last year, I praised him for selecting Piers Morgan to be the “Celebrity Apprentice.” Piers was not the most likable (although I thought he was fabulous). He was simply the best. The whole point of “Celebrity Apprentice” is to raise money for charity. Piers Morgan raised the most money.

Piers took a bruising to his humanity from a woman named Omarosa, whose only skill until her stint on the “Apprentice” seemed to be bungling her way to the top. In fact, she was even fired from the Clinton administration for incompetence. I did not know it was even possible to be too incompetent for that group.

Yet while Omarosa made fun of Piers Morgan’s family, his teeth, and even his sexuality, Mr. Morgan just kept raising money.

The 2009 version of “Celebrity Apprentice” has been even more vicious. The role of the villain vacated by Mr. Morgan has been filled by World Poker Champion Annie Duke.

Let me detour briefly by admitting a bias. Every time Annie Duke is mentioned in the same sentence as the words “poker,” and “branding,” I imagine what it would be like to use the instrument to imprint my initials on her (redacted).

Now about cattle prods…oh wait, wrong column. Back to Annie Duke. She is gorgeous, smart, and a mother of four children. She is 38, looks 28, and runs circles around weaker candidates on the show.

Joan Rivers has referred to Annie Duke as Adolf Hitler. As the son of a holocaust survivor, I find that deeply offensive. Then again, Joan and Melissa Rivers are not known for their grace and dignity.

The feud started when Annie Duke decided to align herself with Playboy Playmate (not literally, unfortunately) Brandy Roderick against Melissa Rivers. The logic was that Brandy was seen as the weaker player, so by getting Melissa Rivers out of the way, Annie would have a smoother ride to the finish line.

There is nothing illegal about this. It’s a game for crying out loud. Joan screamed at Annie, bellowing that she was a “poker player,” as if that was supposed to mean something bad.

What Joan and Melissa Rivers were actually complaining about was that Annie Duke was playing the game better.

That is merit. That is why Donald Trump has fired Melissa Rivers and kept Annie Duke. Like Omarosa before her, Melissa Rivers went into a tirade that would make the late baseball manager Billy Martin proud.

Tossing around f-bombs as if she were Rahm Emanuel, she spent several weeks whining and complaining that she was not popular. She kept saying that watching Annie Duke and Brandy Roderick freeze her out “reminded her of high school.”

So while she was complaining, the other two women were raising money.

In an act of desperation, the crying Rivers Joan and Melissa actually thought that Donald Trump would frown upon Annie Duke being “unladylike.” I mean she cursed people out over the telephone when she felt they were trying to screw her out of a victory.

So what? She was successful. This is about merit. It is not about methods. Does anybody in their right mind think that Trump cries in the boardroom in real life? Of course not. Sometimes he has to rip into people. The only thing that matters is results.

When I looked at Melissa Rivers explaining over and over how unfair life was, it made me wonder if she understood that most people do not have fame and fortune thrust on them at birth.

Yet the real bitterness of Melissa Rivers was that she could not accept the cold, hard truth. Annie Duke and Brandy Roderick were better than her. They are better looking, better acting, and better at raising money.

Raising money is what Trump wants. It is why, despite notions when the show started several years ago, that he would simply reward the hottest women, this did not happen.

Every once in awhile he does appear to leave the reservation. He has a bias toward conflict. Despite the fact that executives praised model Carol Alt as being basically perfect, he fired her solely because he wanted Piers Morgan and Trace Adkins to face each other. They disliked each other, which made for more drama.

This year Clint Black seems to be the beneficiary of being a troublemaker. He would have been fired weeks ago, except that other candidates raised less money. T from TLC and Chloe Kardashian were fired for suspect reasons.

Yet most of the time, Trump gets it dead on right. Melissa Rivers yelled, yelped, griped, screamed, cursed, whined, and adjectived.

Annie Duke simply looked Trump in the eye, and in so many words, explained that she was the best.

All the hate speech by the Rivers hydra could not alter the numbers.

Those who don’t follow the show, when given a choice, would rather paddle Annie Duke over Melissa Rivers.

Yet adolescent male fantasies aside, even Donald Trump does not factor that into his decision making.

His criteria is simple. Can you do the d@mn job?

In a world where every minority group claims victimhood, there are still places where merit matters.

If you look at past Apprentice winners, from the brilliant Randall Pinkett (black), to Kendra (woman), to Bill Rancic (white male), they won because they were the best. With Randall, you could tell in the first episode that he was far better than everybody else. He was also the most likable.

Donald Trump is not against diversity, but diversity can be accomplished without sacrificing skill and talent.

It is about being the best. Those who are not the best get sent home.

That is why Annie Duke keeps racking up chips, and why Melissa Rivers was cashed out.

Neither Melissa Rivers or her Hitler-spouting mother get it.

Annie Duke gets it.

As for Donald Trump, he absolutely still gets it.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express




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