Just when I had given up on “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump and his show had a genuine ethical controversy. Last week, the 9th of the 10th season, Trump called all the contestants together and revealed that one of them, Anand Vasudev had cheated during the challenge of Week 6, which involved promoting and selling pedicab rides in Manhattan. The 31 year-old financial adviser had secretly texted friends and acquaintances saying, “Come to Trump Towers tomorrow … act like you don’t know me … bring 50 bucks so you can buy a pedi-cab ride and help my team to win …. I’m (project manager).”
Of course, this was cheating: the challenge was about promoting a business, not proving how large your address book was. Anand then lied to Trump’s face, denying the allegations, until Trump to read the messages aloud. First he tried to make the argument that since nobody had actually responded to the texts, he hadn’t really cheated. Then a contrite Anand explained that he did not tell the truth because he desperately wanted to stay in the competition.
“You’re fired,” relied the Donald.
Well, naturally. The guy cheated and lied about it: why would Trump ever trust such a person to be his “apprentice”? Yet some columnists actually thought Anand was treated unfairly. “How many times have we heard Donald Trump firing candidates on “Celebrity Apprentice” because they didn’t cash in on their contacts?” asked the indignant Toni Henriques of the Ft. Lauderdale Examiner, who described the cause of Anand’s firing as “a technicality.” “Too many to count. If only we had a million bucks for every time we heard that criticism. Now, Anand who isn’t a deep-pocket celebrity attempted to cash in on his modest contacts (to get them to buy pedi-cab rides from his team when he was project manager). Is there a break to be had anywhere?”
A few observations:
- Cheating and lying are not “technicalities,” unless you are Bill Clinton.
- I wouldn’t trust Toni as an employee, either.
- What Anand attempted wasn’t “using contacts.” He was trying to rig a competition.
- “The Celebrity Apprentice” was a different contest entirely, and the celebrity contestants did not benefit personally from “winning. Anand was trying to steal something of value that he did not earn.
- No celebrity contestant ever lied outright to Trump.
For his part, Anand proved the wisdom of Trump’s decision by his parting comment: “I wasn’t trying to be dishonest or cheat. It was just a bad judgment call. If I could say anything to Mr Trump, it would be that I’m sorry. I’m just shocked at myself, I’m shocked at what happened. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”
He wasn’t trying to be dishonest, even though he lied, and he wasn’t trying to cheat, even though he cheated.
Wow. This guy is ready for Wall Street. Or Congress.
3 thoughts on “Donald Trump and the Cheater”
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That line made my day, except for the nose-coffee on the monitor. Isn’t it amazing how "intentions" are always good or harmless, regardless of the results of their unethical actions, and that always trumps the outcome for some?
“A technicality.” “Bad judgement.” “A mistake.” One hears these terms again and again when someone gets caught in malfeasance… sometimes to a stunning degree. One upon a time, the popular slogan for this was “the Devil made me do it”. That’s disallowed now, as it has religious overtones!