Donald Trump: The Kim Kardashian of U.S. Politics? Carly Fiorina. Remember her? Fiorina was the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who ran for president in 2016.
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Like so many GOP candidacies in 2016, it was Donald Trump that defined Fiorina’s candidacy – not Carly Fiorina.
Trump “doesn’t have a plan to solve any of [our national] problems,” Fiorina said during the 2016 campaign. “He is absolutely fantastic at promoting himself. Give him credit, he is basically the Kim Kardashian of politics. He is famous for being famous and the media goes along with it. But this isn’t a reality show. It’s not entertainment. It’s deadly serious now.”
The Kim Kardashian of politics. That’s pretty good.
It’s also the attitude with which the GOP and the mainstream media treated Trump heading into the 2016 contest.
It’s the attitude that helped Donald Trump beat out Fiorina (and Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, etc.) for the GOP nomination, then served a term as president, and earned a second GOP nomination. So, dismissing Trump as just a Kardashian may be, well, overly dismissive.
Trump deserves some credit for recognizing the qualms of a shockingly large portion of the population that was feeling disenfranchised and neglected – and then harnessing those qualms into political success.
But Fiorina’s dig at Trump, the Kardashian comparison, holds some water.
Donald Trump and Kardashian
First of all, Trump actually hosted Kim Kardashian at the White House while he was president.
Kardashian met with Trump and several women whose prison sentences he commuted. Kardashian announced her visit to the White House on Twitter, saying that her visit would bring “light to these women” and open discussion for “more change that our justice system desperately needs!”
Kardashian had worked with the White House on criminal justice reform issues since 2018. Kardashian reached out directly to Trump to have Alice Marie Johnson’s sentence (21 years for a nonviolent drug offense) be commuted.
Now, Kanye West, who was married to Kardashian throughout the Trump presidency, said that Trump was critical of Kardashian.
According to West, Trump “goes on to say that Kim is a [expletive] and you can tell her I said that. And I was thinking like that’s the mother of my children.”
When Fiorina referred to Trump as the Kim Kardashian of politics – it was not a compliment.
The dig was meant to imply that Trump was a superficial, vain, self-promoting reality TV star – like Kim Kardashian, who was famous for being famous (or was it that sex tape?). Kardashian was the star of a reality TV show, Keeping up with the Kardashians. Trump himself was the star of a reality TV show, The Apprentice. So, the comparison make sense on the surface.
Both Kardashian and Trump both appear to have some sort of desire to be taken seriously, too. Kardashian has gotten involved in criminal justice reform, as I discussed above. And Trump served as President of the United States. So, both of the former reality TV stars have branched out a little bit.
But regardless, the stigma of reality TV, and the unwillingness of the general public to take either Trump or Kardashian seriously, lingers on.
Whether good or bad, the general public has fixated on both Trump and Kardashian, emphasizing the power of celebrity.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.