In interviews this week, the bombastic presidential candidate is touting his ratings-grabbing popularity and suggesting he should be paid to show up for interviews.
He’s even toying with the idea that CNN should make a $10 million donation to charity if the network wants him to take part in its upcoming debate.
“They should all pay me for this,” Trump, who is used to getting paid for having his name associated with everything from hotels to mattresses, told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m doing this for nothing.”
Television networks, however, generally do not pay for interviews.
Don’t worry, this story isn’t going to burst Trump’s bubble. He’s been in the television business for years and knows how it works.
But he’s also smart enough to know that he has a lot of leverage thanks to his proven ratings magnetism.
Related: Fox’s GOP debate had record 24 million viewers
Earlier this month, as he complained about aggressive questioning at the August 6 debate on Fox News, he hinted at the possibility that he might skip Fox’s next debate in November.
And this week he told Time magazine, in a cover story published on Thursday, that he’s been mulling a “donation” idea for the forthcoming September 16 debate on CNN.
“Here’s my question: So if I go to CNN and I say, Look, you’re going to have a massive audience, and if I say to them, I want $10 million for charity, nothing for myself, what happens? I’m not showing up, right?”
Trump suggested that he could say to CNN: “I’m not showing up unless you give $10 million to cancer, to this, to that. You pick 10 great charities, $1 million per.”
CNN, the parent of this web site, declined to comment on Thursday.
But any payment from a media company to a candidate (or on behalf of a candidate) would raise all sorts of red flags, from basic journalistic questions about fairness to legal questions about political donations.
When Trump agrees to be interviewed or attend a debate, he receives something else in lieu of a check: exposure.
gop debate donald trump
Donald Trump is a ratings magnet.
If the polls are any indication, the exposure is proving to be very valuable for Trump.
Trump’s point is that his presence on the debate stage is sure to elevate the ratings for CNN’s event and all of the other ones he attends in the fall.
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