You’ve got to hand it to Donald Trump—he knows how to draw a crowd.
He also knows how to turn that crowd away in disdain.
For days, the multi-millionaire vowed to drop an October surprise that would shift the election in Mitt Romney’s favor. He told Fox News on Monday that the news was “very, very big,” promising to release it via Twitter and Facebook.
The social media world waited, Trump trended on Twitter, and then at noon ET on Wednesday the big announcement came in a YouTube video: The Donald would donate $5 million to a charity of Obama’s choosing if the president releases his college and passport records and applications by Oct. 31.
The grand unveiling drew a collective “huh?” from the Twittersphere, with many deriding it as nothing more than a failed publicity stunt.
It also drew its fair share of jokes at The Donald’s expense, including:
And at least one Onion
article: “Trump Announces He's A Very Sad Man
Trump, on the other hand, claimed—and here’s a shock—that he had triumphed.
The announcement did spark a hashtag critical of the president, called #ObamasFavoriteCharity, with tweets such as:
Many right-leaning news organizations, on the other hand, are backing away from Trump.
The story is nowhere to be found on the Fox News homepage, and the Drudge Report conceded it was a bust. Both websites are pushing a far more damaging story about the president that the Romney campaign is likely hoping the Trump announcement doesn’t distract from.
On Wednesday, Reuters published a story containing leaked emails that suggest the president knew more than he has admitted about the people who attacked the U.S. missions in Benghazi, killing four Americans including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. That story was already competing this morning with news of a GOP candidate’s controversial rape statements
Last week, the Obama administration shifted into crisis mode
over how much it knew about the deadly attacks after Romney made it a centerpiece of his attacks on the president.
When asked about Trump’s statement, senior White House advisor David Plouffe bounced it back into the Romney campaign’s court, telling reporters they should ask the GOP nominee about The Donald:
“Mitt Romney’s biggest supporter,” Plouffe said
of Trump. “He [Romney] owns everything he says.”
Beyond the realm of politics, Trump’s “big” announcement offers a few important, if obvious lessons for brands: Don’t cry wolf, don’t distract from the more important story, and don’t look like a cartoon character in a serious YouTube video: