“Our main story tonight – and I cannot believe I am saying this – is Donald Trump.” Those were the introductory words of Sunday evening Last Week Tonight host John Oliver. On last Sunday’s segment, John Oliver decided that it was time to take on billionaire Republican candidate Donald Trump.
As Oliver pointed out, the show mostly tried to ignore Donald Trump until then. Yet as Trump has now won three states and recently received an endorsement from Chris Christie with polls that show him leading most Super Tuesday states, things are getting more serious than expected.
“At this point, Donald Trump is America’s back mole: it may have seemed harmless a year ago, but now that it’s gotten frighteningly bigger, it is no longer wise to ignore it,” said Oliver.
After running clips of Trump’s supporters describing their favourite candidate as an “independent” and “tough” man who “tells it like it is”, Oliver claims to understand why Trump’s supporters seem to like him so much through his polished image of an entertaining, truthful and successful candidate.
He decides to take a closer look at those qualities, starting with Trump’s said honesty. First noting that “PolitiFact checked 77 of his statements and rated 76 percent of them as varying degrees of false”, Oliver then specifically underlined a false statement made by Trump who claimed to have turned down an invitation to appear on Last Week Tonight “four or five times.”
“It was genuinely destabilizing to be on the receiving end of a lie that confident,” said Oliver. “I’m not even sure he knows he is lying, I think he just doesn’t care about what the truth is.”
He continued to dismantle Trump’s seeming qualities by calling into question the claim he made to Fox News that he was “self-funded” and contributed around twenty-five million dollars to his own presidential campaign.
“While it is true that he hasn’t taken corporate money, the implication that he has personally spent $20-25 million is a bit of a stretch, because what he’s actually done is loaned his own campaign $17.5 million, and has personally given just $250,000,” said Oliver before adding: “And that’s important because up until the convention, he can pay himself back for the loan with campaign funds.”
Oliver then tackles Trump’s biggest selling point – his business success and wealth. He admits that Trump is indeed very wealthy but “not only received a multi-million dollar inheritance from his father, but he’s also lost a huge amount.”
While keeping in mind Trump’s own words that says: “If I put my name on something, you know it’s gonna be good”, Oliver brings attention to Trump’s past business failures: “His name has been on some things that have arguably been very un-good, including Trump Shuttle, which no longer exists; Trump Vodka, which was discontinued; Trump Magazine, which folded; Trump World Magazine, which also folded; Trump University, over which he’s being sued; and of course, the travel-booking site GoTrump.com.”
He also points out Trump’s lack of financial instinct back in April 2006 – just before the entire housing market collapsed – when Trump told a CNBC interviewer :”I think it’s a great time to start a mortgage company” adding that “the real estate market is going to be very strong for a long time to come.”
He goes on to note Trump’s many political inconsistencies. After questioning Trump’s silence about former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke’s support for his campaign, Oliver reminds his audience of his particularly troubling declaration on killing the family members of terrorists to defeat ISIS, a rather worrying image of “the frontrunner for the Republican nomination advocating a war crime,” said Olivier.
According to Oliver, Trump may appear invincible and almost magical since he “has spent decades turning his own name into a brand synonymous with success and quality, and he’s made himself the mascot for that brand.” The mascot is supposed to symbolize wealth, power and success, but “it’s time to stop thinking of the mascot and start thinking of the man,” said Oliver.
He therefore concludes that people seem to automatically associate the name – or brand – “Trump” with wealth and success, hence the urgent need to separate the word from the man. In fact, it turns out that the name “Trump” is an alteration of what was once “Drumpf”, which is rather ironic considering Trump’s tweet mocking Jon Stewart’s Jewish family for having changed their name.
“Fucking Drumpf!” Oliver exclaimed. “Drumpf is much less magical.” Referring to Trump’s tweet on Jon Stewart’s name, Oliver added: “He should be proud of his heritage!”
Oliver thus asks his audience and America to make Donald Drumpf again to break the spell of his brand name. He announces the launch of the website http://donaldjdrumpf.com/ where people can purchase some #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain hats and download a Drumpfinator Chrome extension that will replace ‘Trump’ with ‘Drumpf’ wherever it appears in their browser.
“If you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy promising to ‘Make America Great Again,’ stop and take a moment to imagine how you would feel if you just met a guy named Donald Drumpf: a litigious, serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader who he can’t decide whether or not to condemn,” said Oliver. “Would you think he would make a good president, or is the spell now somewhat broken?”
By Pauline Schnoebelen