Trump's Disappointing Celebrity Apprentice Decisions

Rosie O'Donnell was right about Donald Trump. She called him a snake oil salesman. Except instead of selling snake oil, he is selling himself and his reality show. His latest foray into politics must have been a shock to him. He probably finds it difficult to believe that he might actually be unpopular with some people.

I used to give him the benefit of the doubt. I enjoyed watching his Apprenticeshows from the beginning years, even admiring some of the insights and business decisions he displayed.

But this season's Celebrity Apprentice has me so over the Donald. I don't know if he has changed or I have. Maybe I just didn't like him beating up on the prez when he was pretending to run for higher office.

Either way, this year's series left me scratching my head and wondering if the Donald is a bad judge of character or if he was selling out for ratings. Or maybe it's both.

For example, in the first week I would have fired Richard Hatch of Survivor fame instead of pop star David Cassidy. Hatch's behavior towards Cassidy was rude (calling him little and pushing him away at one point), bordering on bullying. Yet, that was a constant theme this season.

NeNe Leakes was another loud mouth bully who picked fights with pop legend Dionne Warwick (maybe warranted), Michael's sis and singer LaToya Jackson (calling her "Casper the Ghost"), 2009 Playmate of the Year Holly Dworacyk (calling her a kiss ass), and talk show host Starr Jones (calling her manipulative). The women's team lost both times that NeNe was project manager, yet she was never fired by Trump.

In fact, she bad-mouthed Starr Jones in front of the Donald and clients who had projects for the celebrity teams. Her actions and language were so inappropriate I would have fired her right there on the spot. But no, the Donald just said "Wow" and moved on.

You would think after that display and subsequently losing as project manager, it was NeNe's time to go. But no, Trump instead fired Holly because she didn't fight to stay as much as Starr and NeNe.

NeNe eventually quit on her own when Trump changed up the teams so that Starr would not have to work with her. NeNe took off without telling anyone. So the next board meeting without her present, the Donald said "NeNe, you're fired." A little late, I would say, Mr. Trump.

The only explanation I can think of for keeping NeNe around so long is that it seems to be entertaining television and they think it improves ratings to have rants and catfights. That has been a constant theme of The Celebrity Apprentice through the years. Think Omaroso vs. Piers, Rivers vs. Duke. And now NeNe vs. every woman on her team.

On the men's team, let's not forget Meatloaf vs. Busey. The only thing is actor Gary Busey wasn't in on it. He backed off. He didn't want to fight. I don't know how he kept his composure while rock musician Meatloaf went ballistic on him, accusing Gary of stealing his painting supplies (which he did not do.)

Another sign that Trump was out of touch with what was going on is that in the boardroom he kept implying that there was a fight between the two of them. Sorry, Busey is crazy, that's true. But he did not partake of the insanity of Meatloaf's rant. Why he kept Meatloaf around after that or Busey when the men made it clear to Trump that he was a distraction is a mystery. Oh, I forgot, it's about ratings, not making money for charities or empowering the celebrities to work together as a team.

LaToya and Starr walked away from NeNe's viciousness. These two and Gary Busey and David Cassidy were the real heroes. They weren't sucked into the bullying and posturing. LaToya made history by being the first one to talk her way back into the show and I have to give the Donald credit there for allowing it. I found myself drawn to LaToya's gentle yet unflappable nature.

But NeNe was a disgrace. And if she quit the show, why was she allowed to come to the Finale? Were the producers hoping for more fireworks? Such a disruptive personality as NeNe would never last long in the real world. She would get fired for her inability to get along with anyone. But in the world of reality TV, (Real Housewives of Atlanta. , Celebrity Apprentice) she not only survives, but thrives. Reality TV is nothing but fiction and friction. (Except for The Biggest Loser which I feel is the most inspirational and "real" reality show on TV, but that is another story for another time.)

I did like both of the finalists and was hoping that Academy award-winning actress Marlee Matlan would win over country singer John Rich. But, Trump blew that call too. He didn't take into account that Marlee had to work with a much more disjointed team (because of NeNe). It seemed that at the end John had a more loyal following of team members such as rapper Lil Jon and rock singer and TV co-host Mark McGrath that may have persuaded Trump to choose him. That, and the fact that John raised over $200,000 during his last task even though it wasn't supposed to be a fund raiser. This to me seemed unfair to Marlee, especially when she nailed her last task and Rich made the critical mistakes of not welcoming the bigwigs to his event and getting the timing of the band, Def Leppard's entrance off by a half an hour. Knowing Trump, the extra money raising influenced him. Both John and Marlee were worthy opponents and excellent fund raisers that broke all Celebrity Apprentice records for money raised (over $2 million).

I love what Marlee has done to embolden the hearing impaired through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. She is an amazing woman. John Rich was also devoted to his charity of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I like that they both got along and admired one another. If only the rest of the celebrity apprentice wannabes had followed their examples. Good people with high self esteem that don't need to yell and bully and be crazy or manipulative or berate anyone to get attention. What a novel idea!

If only Trump would use that criteria to hire and fire. But alas, this is reality TV, devoid of real life.