There was a time, though it’s hard to remember now, when Donald Trump was an air kiss friend to the celebrity set. Yes, the Donald was absurd and still an absolute blowhard of man, but so are many famous people. Trump liked being around celebrity and they returned the favor. The Clintons, after all, attended his wedding with Melania before Trump transformed himself into a human Death Star last year. It was, you get the sense, perhaps the triumph he was most proud of and (secretly) anxious wouldn’t last—that somehow he managed to make beautiful people, famous people like the idea of being around him. Being liked by people that other people adored was a satisfactory stand-in for real accomplishment.
Now, Donald Trump is about to be president of the United States, which is an actual accomplishment, but after getting there by fomenting racial resentment of white Americans against anyone who did not appear to be as white as they were, nobody Trump used to rub shoulders with wants to hang out anymore. Not even the B-listers. Just Ted Nugent. Always Ted Nugent.
Sure, some of the monied men with potbellies and receding hairlines are still around, but not the A-listers. And the A-list matter to Trump. They always have. But Trump’s deal with the devil to become president, in an instant, robbed him of his celebrity-convening power that he had once used as validation. Now, he’s hosting a party, or a series of parties, on Inauguration Day and he can’t get any of the cool kids to perform, or hang, or air kiss anymore. Donald Trump says it doesn’t matter; Donald Trump says he’d rather hang out with Regular Joes, real people, on the biggest night of his life. But Donald Trump doesn’t really do real people. It requires too much Purell.