Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is fond of comparing 2016 front-runner Donald Trump to President Barack Obama, but his GOP rival Carly Fiorina thinks he’s more like someone who is decidedly more apolitical – reality TV star Kim Kardashian.
During an appearance Tuesday on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” Fiorina, who has sparred frequently with Trump throughout the 2016 campaign, suggested that the real estate mogul lacks substance and said he is the “Kim Kardashian of politics” because he is “famous for being famous, and the media plays along.” Her deputy campaign manager Sarah Isgur Flores later piled on, tweeting: “Donald Trump=Kim Kardashian. She’s got a big butt. He’s got a big mouth.”
Using Kim Kardashian and other reality stars perceived as vapid to score political points is not a new phenomenon. And the former Hewlett-Packard chief is not the first candidate in the 2016 cycle to make the link between Trump and the selfie-snapping queen. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “Just because a lot of people like watching Kim Kardashian — we wouldn’t put her in the White House, either,” when asked about Trump last September. A fair share of editorials made the comparison as well, when Trump maintained his improbable GOP primary lead throughout the fall.
Trump isn’t even the only politician who’s been put in the celebutante box. In 2014, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich linked Hillary Clinton to Kim Kardashian while denigrating her skills on the stump. “Bill [Clinton] is to politics what Fred Astaire is to dancing, he is just automatically amazing and he wants to have Ginger Rogers out there dancing. Instead [with Hillary Clinton] it’s a little bit like watching Kim Kardashian get kicked off the stage by Prince because she couldn’t dance,” he said during an episode of CNN’s “Crossfire.”Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has also been compared unfavorably to Kardashian. And in 2008, Sen. John McCain infamously derided then Sen. Barack Obama as little more than a “celebrity” in a negative campaign ad which spliced footage of the Democratic nominee with images of celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
What these politicos have overlooked is the fact that Kardashian has earned some praise recently for becoming increasingly vocal about social issues and presidential campaigns. She very publicly supported President Obama’s re-election in 2012, has expressed an affinity for Hillary Clinton, too, and made an endorsement of a Democratic candidate in her Congressional District in California back in 2014. She has called for “answers” in the controversial Sandra Bland case, has praised the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, been candid about racism she fears her biracial daughter will face, advocated gun control, and pushed back against the body shaming of pregnant women.
One columnist even went so far last summer as to suggest that the 35-year-old Kardashian should be drafted to run for office to distract from Trump. “Kim is far more qualified to be president than Trump. She is way more famous. Her reality TV show was far better than Trump’s. And Kim has 35 million followers on Twitter compared to Trump’s paltry four million followers. It’s not even close,” wrote Cody Cain for Huffington Post.
As far as Fiorina is concerned, Trump is simply too “divisive” to be elected this November. She addressed a recent NBC News/SurveyMonkey/Esquire poll on “Fox and Friends,” which suggested white women are the “angriest” portion of electorate, and why she thinks she would be better suited to speak to this constituency than Trump. “Let’s remember women are 53% of the vote. So we can’t nominate someone who routinely insults women,” she said Tuesday.
Trump was widely criticized in September of last year for a Rolling Stone interview where he appeared to make derogatory comments about Fiorina’s appearance. During a prime-time presidential debate later that month, he offered a tepid mea culpa: “I think she has a very beautiful face, and she’s a beautiful woman.”