The gaggle of low-grade celebrities who have endorsed Donald Trump for president are an extraordinary bunch of criminals, drugs users, convicted rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because those are the exact charges Donald Trump levied against Mexicans when he kicked off his campaign eight months ago.
And the same can be said of the few dozen pro athletes and D-list celebrities who have endorsed Trump and got a blistering hot moment in the sun on the social networks many of them find too difficult to use.
The only word we added was “convicted,” right before rapist since, unlike Trump, we can prove it. Mike Tyson, who served three years for rape in the ’90s, endorsed Trump in October.
A cottage industry has popped up around the rails of the Trump train that provides free publicity for those struggling to find work in Los Angeles. And it’s mostly those who want to make America great again by simply making it 1997 again.
Or, in the case of Scott Baio, maybe 1977.
Chachi from Happy Days trended on Twitter this weekend after Baio endorsed Trump for the presidency. Baio hasn’t played someone other than himself in a theatrical release in a dozen years, since he took on the role of Stan Bobbins in Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2.
But by Tuesday night, Scott Baio was on the Fox Business network, calling liberals “hypocrites” and Trump a “street fighter.”
As Trump said in that same Mexico speech: When Hollywood sends its people, they’re not sending their best.
But those emissaries do appear to be getting something out of it. “I’ve looked through his list of Hollywood supporters, and it’s not a casting that would get a movie made overseas,” said Howard Bragman, chairman and founder of Fifteen Minutes PR, who advises celebrities on this kind of thing.
Bragman says it’s not a totally flawed plan for those who are locked into a certain demographic. Willie Robertson, one of the Duck Dynasty guys, has little to lose in handing out a wad of cash to Trump. (He did just that.)
But for those hoping to bag a few minutes on Fox Business in exchange for endorsing a man who wants to create a religious test to enter the United States? Bragman isn’t sure that’s a wonderful way to win your way back into a feature film.
“I’m not one of those guys who believes all attention is good attention. I’d be very hesitant to do that,” Bragman told The Daily Beast. “If you’ve never done this and then you come out and really go for it, it smells a little. It smells a little opportunistic.”
That said, Bragman’s had clients come to him in the past and ask him how they should make a political statement, and he’s game if they believe in it. He says he’ll put them in rallies and with advocacy groups, get them out on the campaign trail, and make them visible and involved.
“I wouldn’t say don’t do it. If somebody is organically there and wants to do it, I’d much rather get people involved in the process,” he said. “But, remember, politics is divide and conquer. They win through polarization. Entertainment is aggregate and conquer. You win in the aggregation of large amounts of people.”
That’s why, in part, Donald Trump is collecting endorsements from former stars who have no chance at appealing to the aggregate.
Take Tila Tequila, for example, since no one else will. She is the subject of the single greatest two sentences on Wikipedia. Behold:
She subsequently apologized for her earlier [pro-Hitler and anti-Semitic] comments, blaming them on depression and drug addiction.
In January 2016, Tequila expressed the view that the earth is flat.
What a wild ride! She endorsed Trump in October.
Ms. Tequila joins other celebrities with nary a brain cell between them. Stephen Baldwin, Gary Busey, Jon Voight, Lou Ferrigno—almost any actor who has played himself in a bad movie—has endorsed Donald Trump for president.
In fact, over the course of the conversation with Bragman, we had a development.
“Looks like Aaron Carter is pulling it back,” Bragman said. “Breaking news, Page 6.”
Carter, who trended on Twitter for the first time in years when he announced he was supporting Trump because “sometimes you have to file for bankruptcy and rebuild,” has pulled back an endorsement because Internet bullies dissuaded him.
“I don’t think anybody’s gonna punish Aaron Carter for either part,” said Bragman.
These are celebrities who have impugned so persistently, punishment is their only path to fame.
The athletes are even worse.
Trying to pick out a starting five presents a fantasy draft from hell.
Tyson joined a veritable All-Star team of asshole athletes. Richie Incognito, who was once barred from the Miami Dolphins for bullying a depressed teammate so relentlessly he couldn’t attend practice, is the latest to endorse Trump on Twitter.
John Rocker, who endorsed Trump in January, has complained about “queers with AIDS” on the 7 train, and once asked: “Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?"
Latrell Sprewell, who choked out a coach, offered profuse support of the campaign on Twitter in February.
Hulk Hogan, who was banned from WWE and had his named scrubbed from all merchandise and record books for saying the n-word, announced he wants to “be Trump’s running mate.”
Dennis Rodman, obviously, endorsed Trump almost immediately last July. He was previously arrested and charged with domestic violence, and has called dictator Kim Jong Un “a dear friend for life.”
Don’t forget John Daly, Terrell Owens, or Tila Tequila’s ex Shawne Merriman. Actually, do go ahead and forget them.
Team Trump even has its own coach in Bob Knight and a mascot in Johnny Damon, who once wrote a book called Idiot.
There is no shortage of professional wrestling managers to escort them to the Trump rally, where their moves in the ring may well be of use. The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, who announced his support for Trump on Reddit, used the catchphrase “Money isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” and walked to the ring in a jacket made of cash until he later found Jesus in real life.
If that’s too on the nose, Zeb Colter is available. Colter—and this is not a joke—escorts his wrestlers to the ring in a mobility scooter, waving a “Don’t Tread On Me” Flag, and he has been since 2013.
For some reason, I don’t think Colter is in it for the publicity.
Pete Rose, to his credit, is probably not one of these athletes. Some time over the last few months, the all-time MLB hit leader signed a baseball with an inscription imploring Trump to make America great again.He says Trump has it all mixed up.
It turns out The Hit King, who was banned from baseball for life for betting on it, will sign literally anything on a baseball for $75. Like, for example, “I’m Sorry I Bet On Baseball,” and “I shot JFK—Pete Rose.”
He says he doesn’t remember doing this. He doesn’t know how Trump even got the ball. He was just trying to make some cash, and he and his lawyer later denied it ever happened.
Trump gleefully posted the endorsement ball to Twitter anyway. A disgraced athlete who will sign anything for the cost of a microwave is still the best one he has.