When did Donald Trump become such a grump?
Well, you might say it was the moment he entered presidential politics – which can be a pretty brutal arena for someone who’s not accustomed to being insulted. On the other hand, the real-estate developer and reality TV star has not always been so sensitive to criticism – whether it be serious or couched in comedy.
And yet, lately, a day doesn’t go by when The Donald isn’t trading verbal punches with someone. Over the past two weeks or so, the list of luminaries who have voiced their distaste for Trump has included Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman and Robert DeNiro. President Obama, who Trump hounded for weeks to release his birth certificate, got some licks in over the weekend at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington. Even Cher got into the act the other day with a tweet in which she called Trump a “pompous a**hole.”
Trump hasn’t bothered to respond to Cher but he has had retorts for Seinfeld, Letterman, DeNiro and, most recently, the President, although Trump did congratulate the President on the successful mission to eliminate Osama Bin Laden. “I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces for a job well done,” Trump said in a prepared statement. “I am so proud to see Americans standing shoulder to shoulder, waving the American flag in celebration of this great victory.”
Earlier, though, Trump was not nearly as magnanimous when he reacted to the traditional, comedic monologue the President delivered at the dinner on Saturday night, where Obama took aim at Trump (who was in the audience) – apparently seeking revenge for Trump’s near-constant criticism of his administration over the last few weeks.
“Donald Trump is here tonight,” said the President. “Now I know he’s taken some flack lately, but no one is happier to put the birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like ‘Did we fake the moon landing?’ ‘What really happened in Roswell?’ And, ‘Where are Biggie and Tupac?’ ”
The President then took direct aim at Trump’s NBC show, “The Celebrity Apprentice.” “All kidding aside,” Obama said. “We all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. In an episode of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ … you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf … you fired Gary Busey. These are the kinds of situations that would keep me up at night!”
Unlike one of those comedic “roasts” on Comedy Central – on which Trump himself was roasted just two months ago – Trump didn’t have a chance to get up and respond to the President at the Correspondents Dinner, but in interviews after the event, he complained about all the jokes issued at his expense by both the President and the host for the evening, Seth Meyers of “Saturday Night Live.”
On Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Sunday morning, Trump indicated that he thought the dinner was frivolous in light of all the problems facing the nation. “I don’t think the American people are having a good time paying $5 gasoline and their clothing prices doubling and all of the other problems that they’ve got,” Trump said. “You look at what’s happening with food, so I was thinking to myself as they were doing this, the American people are suffering and we’re all having a good time. I think it’s inappropriate.”
In an interview with the New York Times, he even slammed Meyers. “Seth Meyers has no talent,” Trump said. “He fell totally flat. In fact, I thought Seth’s delivery was so bad that he hurt himself.” In a Hollywood Reporter story, Trump called Meyers “a stutterer.” Well, that’s not very nice! Didn’t The Donald see “The King’s Speech”?
So now we can add Seth Meyers to the list of celebs Trump isn’t happy with. Well, at least Seth can say he’s in august company. Trump cancelled an upcoming appearance on David Letterman’s “Late Show” after Letterman implied that Trump’s emphasis on President Obama’s birth-origins smacks of racism. And Trump went after Seinfeld when the comedian backed out of an appearance at a benefit Trump’s son, Eric, is throwing for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
When it comes to these feuds, Trump does have a history. It was only a few years ago that he feuded with both Rosie O’Donnell and Barbara Walters on “The View”. (O’Donnell recently said she’s decided not to take up residence in a Trump building when she’s in Chicago hosting her new talk show on OWN.) But Trump has also demonstrated repeatedly that he can take a punch too. The Comedy Central roast was much more brutal than the jibes he endured at the Correspondents Dinner and Trump gave as good as he got that night. And he’s been a staple of late-night monologues for years, if not decades – with jokes about his hair, his love life, his buildings and just about everything.
That’s why it’s so baffling that he’s suddenly become so grumpy. Truth be told, in person, Trump can be surprisingly affable – even nice.
Blame it on politics – which apparently is turning out to be a much tougher business than Trump bargained for.