Flamboyant billionaire and very serious presidential candidate Donald Trump kicked his ongoing feud with Univision up a notch on Friday when he wrote the Spanish-language network’s CEO to tell him that its employees were no longer welcome at the resort Trump owns next door to their offices in Doral, Florida. Here’s the letter in full:
According to the Miami Herald, however, Trump’s point was moot as Univision had gotten there first:
The company had already directed its workers Thursday to steer clear of Trump’s real estate. Employees “should not stay at Trump properties while on company business or hold events/activities there,” the company advised.
The spat between the Donald and Univision began with his 2016 presidential campaign announcement, in which he disparaged immigrants from Mexico as predominantly drug dealers, murderers, and rapists. The network, which counts many Mexican Americans among its employees and viewers, retaliated by announcing that it would cut ties with the Miss Universe Organization, which is owned in part by Trump, and would not broadcast the Miss USA pageant next month as planned.
Not only is Trump planning to sue Univision for breach of contract, he also plans to bring a defamation suit against the network after its president Alberto Ciurana posted an image on Instagram showing Trump side-by-side with Dylann Roof, the perpetrator of the recent mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. In a statement yesterday, Trump said:
Ciurana issued an apology to me late last night. Apology not accepted. I call for his resignation as president of Univision, and Univision should not be allowed to host the Presidential debate. It is a total conflict of interest.
It’s not yet clear what effect this feud will have on Trump’s chances as a presidential contender—not that anyone is taking those chances very seriously. Breitbart’s John Nolte believes that the public dispute will redound to the billionaire’s benefit, writing that
Donald Trump didn’t build an empire and forever alter the skylines of major cities throughout the world by rolling over every time an anti-American leftist like Jorge Ramos takes a shot at him. … By actually fighting and fighting smart, Trump is not just showing the courage the Republican party lacks, he’s displaying leadership and competence. You might not like or agree with Trump, but you had damn well better respect him.
James Poniewozik at Time, on the other hand, suspects that Donald Trump, the politician, is going to end up ruining everything for Donald Trump, the TV mogul:
Being polarizing is good business for reality TV, for Fox News commentators, for the early stages of a primary. It’s the Palin business, basically. But ask Sarah Palin, recently cut loose by Fox News: that business does not last forever.
Which means that at some point, Politics Trump is going to need TV Trump to fall back on. If he enjoys a brief, early-primary run, declares moral victory and retreats to Twitter and the Boardroom, that may still work out. But we’re looking at the possibility that Politics Trump could do just well enough, just long enough that TV Trump will not be able to go back to show business as usual.