Television host Jerry Springer created a stir online during the debate on Monday when he tweeted, “Hillary Clinton belongs in the White House. Donald Trump belongs on my show.”
In an interview with BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, Springer clarified that Trump is actually very different from the guests on his show. His guests, he says, are “authentic,” unlike Trump.
“The people on our show aren't making up lies. They're upset. They're angry. That's totally different than Trump,” Spring said. “He's not coming on the show because he's angry. He's coming on the show because he wants to be the leader. He's got this ego, this narcissism. He just wants to be the leader of the world. He's not unhappy with his life. All he does is brag about how rich he is and how many hotels and golf courses he has. This is not a guy who's trying to fix his life. He obviously doesn't particularly care about other people.”
Springer, who was once the Democratic mayor of Cincinnati and ran unsuccessfully for governor in Ohio, is in a unique position to understand Trump’s appeal, having made the jump from politics to the world of fist-fights and name-calling on his popular daytime talk show.
While Trump’s rise to become the Republican presidential nominee took many in politics by surprise, Springer says it was predictable and inevitable that Trump, or someone else like him, would eventually have success in the political arena when generations of Americans had been raised to view Washington and government as the enemy.
“In order to run for president, you have to be well-known,” Springer said. “The only two areas outside of politics that you can be well-known in America are either sports or entertainment. Athletes are too young to run for president. We should have seen it coming that eventually we would have someone run for president who was from the field of entertainment and was anti-government.
“Did we know it would be Trump? No. Of course not. But someone like him? Sure. That's exactly what we've got. That is what has given us Donald Trump.”
Springer, a Clinton supporter, has been outspoken in his opposition to Trump for months, tweeting in early June, “C'mon Donald... you complaining about Hillary's temperament is like me complaining about the quality of television!” Springer attended the Democratic National Convention in July, where he spoke in support of Clinton and attacked Trump at different events and in interviews.
He told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that he isn’t concerned Trump’s rise will open the floodgates for imitators to run for president in the future.
“If he loses, no one is going to go there for a long while just because they'll see what chaos this was,” Springer said. “If he wins, I don't think that's going to be the problem. I think the country will be in such turmoil you won't be worrying about that. I think they'll suddenly be a reaction the other way. They'll be a move to get a grown-up to be president again.”
He added, “I'd like to think that ultimately the American people will do the sensible thing and won't vote for him, but it's a possibility when you're down to two people. That's his strength. People are angry, and he's the guy with the baseball bat. No one is looking to him for answers."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nathaniel Meyersohn is a political reporting intern and is based in New York.
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