Let’s give Donald Trump’s CNN letter the Donald Trump treatment
One of the classic trademarks of Donald Trump’s interactions with the media is the unsolicited, after-the-fact hand-annotation of printed articles. Reporters from any number of outlets have, over the years, received e-mailed or even snail-mailed printed copies of their pieces, with Trump’s enthusiastic annotations and hyperactive signature overlaid in dark marker.
Earlier this year, our Chris Cillizza got one — unusually, offering only praise.
On Wednesday, Trump offered a more traditional letter to Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN. In it, Trump suggested that the swollen ad rates CNN is able to command for next week’s debate are due solely to Trump’s presence in the event — and that, therefore, CNN should donate any profits from the debate to charity. Trump tweeted the unusual request and sent a PDF of the letter to members of the media.
So we decided to Trump it. Below, our hand-written notes — with footnotes underneath, because we are too hard-wired into the Web to not have hyperlinks out to our references.
1. This tweet, from Saturday.
2. Analysis from 2010, near the middle of the show’s run, suggests that advertisers paid about $100,000 for a 30-second spot — less than a quarter what “American Idol” got, but more than some other shows. In a list of 16 reality TV shows, ad rates for “The Apprentice” ranked 11th.
3. It really was a giant audience — not quite general-election-debate levels, but huge for cable.
4. Trump did a fundraiser for Make America Great Again PAC which, despite its name, is not affiliated with the candidate.
5. In an interview with Time, Trump first brought up the idea of getting CNN to give money to charity. “Here’s my question: So if I go to CNN and I say, Look, you’re going to have a massive audience, and if I say to them, ‘I want $10 million for charity, nothing for myself,’ what happens? I’m not showing up, right?” Trump said. Where would the money go? “Would you ever say to them, would you ever say, ‘I want $10 million for AIDS research, for cancer, for this type or not,’ or is it too cute?” (7)
6. Here’s the Times article, and the pertinent quote:
[A] review of publicly available records of Mr. Trump’s charitable contributions shows that relatively little of his money has gone to programs that support veterans. While he has donated millions of dollars to charities like the United Way and the American Heart Association, records show that he gave at least $20,000 and possibly as much as $50,000 to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in 2003 and 2004. He donated in later years for unspecified amounts.
Trump has helped veterans in other ways.
7. It was not too cute.