‘You’re fired!’ be­comes ‘you’re hired!’

Trump changes the words and mu­sic as the best and bright­est au­di­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Suzanne Fields

On his tele­vi­sion re­al­ity show, “The Ap­pren­tice,” view­ers could see that Don­ald Trump took a cer­tain plea­sure in say­ing, “You’re fired!” Those are the two sad­dest words any em­ployee can hear. But that’s the way high-stakes busi­ness is played, and ev­ery CEO knows the im­por­tance of keep­ing the best per­form­ers in the com­pany and get­ting rid of the chaff.

The pres­i­dent-elect is tak­ing ob­vi­ous de­light now at Trump Tower, telling suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants for im­por­tant jobs in his ad­min­is­tra­tion that “You’re hired!” It’s a dif­fer­ent kind of re­al­ity show.

The lobby of Trump Tower is the Green Room for can­di­dates who have been granted an au­di­ence up­stairs. We watch it as live the­ater, where many char­ac­ters, as in Rosenkrantz and Guilden­stern in “Ham­let,” are called on to swell a scene where a few are called and fewer still are cho­sen. Mr. Trump is no Ham­let, dawdling over de­ci­sions, but he’s tak­ing his time (and he’s ahead of the pace of pre­de­ces­sors.)

What’s ex­traor­di­nary about this in­terim be­fore the in­au­gu­ra­tion is that the en­tire coun­try is pay­ing at­ten­tion to tele­vi­sion scenes of peo­ple go­ing in and out of the el­e­va­tor at Trump Tower, pro­vid­ing a glimpse of the way the man we’ve elected to run the coun­try con­ducts his busi­ness.

The Don­ald has en­gaged a fas­ci­nat­ing cast of char­ac­ters. Some are there to dec­o­rate the set. Kanye West, so far as we know, was not there to ap­ply for sec­re­tary of State, though he may play a gig at an in­au­gu­ral ball. Al Gore may not be a fan, but he wants his point of view heard in the Tower where the pres­i­dent-elect meets, greets and tweets.

The pres­i­dent-elect could be a mer­ci­less di­rec­tor bent on hu­mil­i­at­ing ac­tors like Mitt Rom­ney, who came in sec­ond for the most cov­eted role of sec­re­tary of State, or Carly Fio­r­ina, whom the Don­ald ruth­lessly den­i­grated in the de­bates. But both emerged from their in­ter­views with ap­pre­cia­tive words. The dis­ap­pointed do not sound bit­ter and most ap­pear to be gen­uinely im­pressed with the smarts and savvy the pres­i­dent-elect brought to their con­ver­sa­tion, ap­pre­cia­tive of his ques­tions, ea­ger to put campaign rhetoric be­hind.

Are the “un­cho­sen” merely pos­ing, of­fer­ing flat­tery to al­lay the anger of the fa­mous coun­ter­puncher? Or are they ac­tu­ally dis­cov­er­ing im­pres­sive qual­i­ties in the man vot­ers elected to lead the coun­try?

Don­ald Trump is sui generis, the orig­i­nal in a new time where any­one with a smart phone or a lap­top has some­thing to say about what’s go­ing on. The noise of so­cial me­dia is deaf­en­ing and de­fi­ant in the form of unedited sen­tences of 140 char­ac­ters (ex­cla­ma­tion points in­cluded). The main­stream me­dia hasn’t re­cov­ered from its dis­as­trous cov­er­age of the campaign and the ink-stained wretches and talk­ing heads are still lick­ing wounds in anger.

For the rest of us this is great the­ater. The Trump pent­house is a stage that Croe­sus or Gatsby could have de­signed. “What amazes a lot of peo­ple is that I’m sit­ting in an apart­ment the likes of which no­body’s ever seen,” the Don­ald tells Time mag­a­zine as its Per­son of the Year. “And yet I rep­re­sent the work­ers of the world.”

Money was new to Hil­lary when she first came to Wash­ing­ton. When she left the White House as first lady, she packed up some of the fur­ni­ture that didn’t be­long to her, which she was shamed into re­turn­ing. She was be­gin­ning to prize wealth and what money could buy, but was not yet at home with it.

The Trump bad taste, by con­trast, knows no bounds. There’s no guilt with a gilt edge. It seems to suit him as Gatsby’s suited him, back­ground rather than fore­ground. The “for­got­ten man” of the campaign voted for Don­ald Trump be­cause he spoke his lan­guage. Great wealth didn’t stig­ma­tize him, but ac­tu­ally seemed to have been earned by the sweat of his brain, the cre­ator of deals the for­got­ten man could rea­son­ably hope mean a job for him.

When Mr. Trump the can­di­date trav­eled into de­cay­ing towns in the Rust Belt he saw the empty store­fronts, the peel­ing paint in the homes of the un­em­ployed and the un­der­em­ployed, the de­press­ing signs of de­cline in the qual­ity of life. He said he could help the for­got­ten men and women do bet­ter.

In those last days of the campaign as he criss­crossed into Michi­gan, Wis­con­sin, Penn­syl­va­nia, Hil­lary Clin­ton wasted valu­able time at ex­trav­a­gant fundrais­ing din­ners, ig­nor­ing Wis­con­sin. Vot­ers were lis­ten­ing to what the Don­ald had to say over the din of his de­trac­tors.

The losers, now des­per­ately try­ing to stop the Elec­toral Col­lege from go­ing about its busi­ness, clearly want Don­ald Trump to fail. That’s too bad. Whether they like it or not, he won. It’s time now to see what he can de­liver, and the early signs — optimism at big steel and IBM — re­flect the hope and change.

Al Gore may not be a fan, but he wants his point of view heard in the Tower where the pres­i­dent-elect meets, greets and tweets.

Suzanne Fields is a colum­nist for The Wash­ing­ton Times and is na­tion­ally syn­di­cated.


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