Another day, another "unpresidented" scandal regarding the non-political activities of President-elect Donald Trump. A mere two days into 2017, one of Trump's former job descriptions made waves when hawk-eyed Twitter users noticed that Trump's name appeared under the "Executive Producer" heading on the most recent season premiere of Celebrity Apprentice. While it's certainly troublesome that the soon-to-be president is still being credited on the show he created, Trump's Celebrity Apprentice credit "controversy" is a distraction from the more serious changes his administration could make in the future. America can no longer afford to treat the President-elect like a spectacle, and must start treating him with the soberness and gravity demanded of the office to which he was elected.
With just a few weeks until his inauguration, the shock of Trump's ascendance to the presidency has clearly not worn off. Despite the theorizing about the potential threats Trump could pose to democracy, as well as his proven proclivity for twisting the truth at times, we are still as distracted as ever with every tweet and bizarre celebrity appearance at Trump Tower. As with his anti-Hamilton tirade, the President-elect remains uncannily adept at shaping and distorting the agenda America pays attention to — even when his ever-twitchy Twitter finger is, for once, still.
House GOP are setting to gut the Ethics Committee because "drain the swamp" was always a con job but please keep tweeting about Apprentice— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) January 3, 2017
Distraction is a tried-and-true political maneuver, one that has been deployed since Trump was but a twinkle in his father's eye. The president-elect seems to have used this tactic to great effect during his candidacy, from the time he used the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault to distract from his own laundry list of accusers to the manifold ways he tried to pull the wool over Americans' eyes after attacking Khizr and Ghazala Khan following their speech at the Democratic National Convention. (Both Trump and Clinton have firmly denied the sexual assault allegations that have come against them.) Unfortunately, these instances worked to varying degrees, and continued Trump's long-standing media strategy that amounts to an outrageously overblown example of the "no such thing as bad publicity" principle.
There's no denying that America has never seen anyone like Trump rise to its presidency, and that there will be years, if not decades, of political and sociological analysis dedicated to the conflation of factors that resulted in his election. But to continue to focus on such trivial matters as Trump's Celebrity Apprentice credit just weeks before his inauguration distracts from the many other changes being made in Washington by Trump's own party — not to mention that normalizing the President-elect as yet another quirky-yet-problematic celebrity diva is especially concerning. We must do all we can to resist Trump's "no bad publicity" agenda, starting with ignoring such blatant measures of distraction.