The fake news media fails to understand Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rift.
There is no rift between President Donald Trump and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. What the public is observing is “ribbing” or “talking sh**.” It’s something alpha males do all of the time. But the effeminate media is not likely to pick up on such things.
On the morning of March 21, Arnold Schwarzenegger continued the feud between himself and Donald Trump on his Instagram account. The feud began along the campaign trail when Schwarzenegger refused to endorse Trump for President.
In the primaries, Arnold supported longtime friend and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who controversially remained in the race despite having no chance at securing a nomination. Arnold has long ties to Ohio and in particular to the state capital, Columbus, where he hosts the annual Arnold Classic. Trump castigated Kasich for vainly remaining in the race:
The public feud between the two began when the former Republican governor refused to endorse Trump even after Kasich suspended the campaign. Schwarzenegger made a public statement about his decision. This came less than a year after Trump had this to say of his old friend:
Congrats to my friend @Schwarzenegger who is doing next season’s Celebrity Apprentice. He'll be great & will raise lots of $ for charity.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2015
A tale of two legends
Arnold Schwarzenegger, like Donald Trump, is arguably one of the most ambitious men in the world. He mastered and revolutionized the world of bodybuilding in the 70’s and 80’s. He then married into the Kennedy dynasty as he set his sites on Hollywood where he would redefine the action movie genre. He achieved further success in family and comedic roles. After it was all said and done, he became the Republican governor of deep-blue California.
Arnold has achieved all of this while making millions in real estate investing and remaining an icon in the ever-growing world of fitness. A man of his clout and confidence does not get where he is without fiercely guarding his own name. Apparently, he saw the media controversy surrounding his friend Donald Trump as a hindrance to his personal brand.
Branding is Trump’s language. Trump himself is a larger than-than-life figure who has achieved unrivaled fame and success spanning multiple industries and now, politics. In winning the Presidency, he gathered the prize that Schwarzenegger always coveted but had little hope of attaining due to his immigrant status.
Trump is well aware of this dynamic. So he waited until the ratings came back from Arnold’s first season of hosting The Apprentice and began to launch his counter offense:
Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice…but at least he tried hard!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
Trump made further statements about Arnold’s Apprentice ratings, even inappropriately jesting about it at the National Prayer Breakfast. By mocking Arnold for his ratings, Trump humiliates the seven-time Mr. Olympia and casts a limelight on his own success during both iterations of the show (The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice).
For Trump, it doesn’t seem to be about ratings, but the public perception of his brand and the competitive ribbing of an old friend (who started the feud). As a negotiator, Trump always has an upside to his downside. By addressing The Apprentice from his Twitter feed, he draws attention to the show (of which he remains an executive producer). Even if this attention fails to boost ratings (which benefits Trump), it continues to draw attention to Arnold’s unsuccessful role in the show (which also benefits Trump).
Arnold Schwarzenegger “ups the ante”
Keeping true to their personas as ruthlessly competitive alpha males, Trump and Schwarzenegger have gone back and forth antagonizing one another. The ever-gullible media continues to convey this as a legitimate fight between rivals, when it is clearly no more than a competitive spat between old friends.
In his strongest counter strike to date, Arnold parrots the untrustworthy media’s recent presidential popularity polls and jabs Trump for his own “ratings.” He regurgitates some additional lying media tropes about how Trump’s budgetary guidelines are going to impact school children and programs like Meals on Wheels.
In an attempt corner the President, Arnold challenges him to join him to, “visit Hart Middle School in Washington, D.C., to see the ‘fantastic work’ being done for children.” The strength of this most recent strategy is the emotional appeal and the call to action. If Trump fails to respond, he concedes the last word to Arnold and provides the media with fodder that he doesn’t care about “the children.”
Even if Trump takes the high road and joins Arnold at Hart Middle School, he still concedes to Arnold. Arnold wins either way. Unless, of course, Trump has something else up his sleeve. And Trump always has something up his sleeve. Alternatively, this may be a joint strategy of them both to blossom their good-natured feud into something socially productive and publicly visible. And at the end of the day, the ball will remain in Trump’s court. He is, after all, the President of the free world.
Or is there another angle? Please post your own theory or commentary below. After that, you should follow us on Twitter, because we also like good-natured ribbing.