When Donald Trump’s former reality TV show “The Apprentice” was at the apex of its popularity in 2005, the iconic children’s show “Sesame Street” unleashed a stinging parody of the real estate mogul, which some of his critics may consider prescient today.
The segment, which was unearthed by The Daily Beast this week, features a muppet named “Donald Grump,” complete with a high-arching, bright orange coiffure, who has the "most trash of any grouch in the world," and has his "name on every piece of trash in town." Grump is portrayed as a mean-spirited, greedy monster, preying on people more disadvantaged than him ("I have more trash than you, so na, na, na, na, na!" He taunts at one point). In the midst of the mayhem he seeks out “Sesame Street” favorite Elmo to be his loyal "helper" only to tell the adorable character, “Scram! You’re fired” when Elmo rebukes his competitive capitalism on steroids.
This footage, which has found its way onto YouTube, will probably do little to undercut Trump’s momentum in the GOP primary polls, but it is a reminder of how resilient his image has remained despite widespread, withering satires from some unlikely corners. As the cornerstone of PBS for decades, “Sesame Street” has occasionally been maligned as a vessel for indoctrinating children with progressive values, but it’s hard to recall a more overtly direct hit at a conservative figure than the Donald Grump sketch.
In the world of “Sesame Street,” even Oscar the Grouch is unimpressed by the character inspired by Trump. "We can get our own trash," he tells Donald Grump. In real life, Trump has repeatedly had to fend off allegations that he is a bully.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday, one of Trump's Democratic opponents, Hillary Clinton, said his campaign has been defined by what he is “against.” Clinton added, "he’s great at innuendo and conspiracy theories and really defaming people.”
Correction: This article originally reported that the site Uproxx was the first to surface the 'Sesame Street' sketch. The Daily Beast was the first to report on it.