Best celebrity-turned-president: Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump? | The Tylt
Donald Trump may be our first reality TV show president, but Ronald Reagan was our first celebrity Commander-in-Chief. Before his political career, Reagan appeared in more than 50 films, and while Trump is most famous for "The Apprentice," he also appeared in "Home Alone 2" and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." Both men understood show business, theatrics, and how to wield the power of performance in the political arena. But who is your favorite celebrity-turned-president?
Best celebrity-turned-president: Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump?
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In his pre-presidential life, Donald Trump made it to the small screen as well as motion pictures, making cameo appearances on "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Suddenly Susan," "Sex and the City" and more. (Seriously, Trump's video reel is mind-blowing—you gotta see it). He even received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.
R. Tyson Smith makes the case that Trump owes a great deal of his political success to showmanship techniques he borrowed from professional wrestling.
Unlike competitive sports, pro wrestling is premised on telling the best story. As a performer it doesn’t matter if you win; what matters is the strength of the emotional response you generate from fans. Trump doesn’t simply possess a performative style that resembles those of pro wrestlers. For years he’s been connected with WWE and has actually participated in several of their shows.
But Reagan was also a master of spectacle and showmanship. He made unprecedented use of video; Reagan’s term in office generated as much video as the five previous presidents combined. White House advisers were careful to control Reagan’s image, presenting him in different roles but always as the hero of the piece. The Gipper himself agreed his entertainment career helped him immeasurably.
“There were times when I wondered how you could do the job if you hadn’t been an actor.”
Many biographies of Reagan refer to his presidency as the greatest role of his lifetime.
ROAD TO 2020