The dateline was May 15, 1997. The headline on my column was: “Somehow The Donald, Miss Universe is One …” Donald was already touting himself as presidential fodder and it was a gag line for most people.
With tongue firmly in cheek I penned:
It’s that time of year for endings and beginnings, graduations, weddings, and new careers. So it’s a fitting time for that ending we all knew would happen sooner or later; Donald and Marla are splitting. As usual the timing is magnificent. It seems Big D is dumping Marla just before his net worth is about to double or triple again, something about his casinos. It will be a friendly parting as they both got what they wanted.
He, of course, got a trophy wife and presumably is bored and needs another. Marla will get about $3 million (about one for each year of nuptial bliss), but there will be lots of child support for their four-year-old daughter Tiffany, who will be supported in the lifestyle befitting that name. Plus Marla can trade on being a celebrity Barbie doll as long as she stays in shape; she’s probably not going back to Albany, Georgia to open a fitness studio.
Of course the Trumps want the press to ignore the story and give them privacy. (Yeah, right this from a guy who once had girlfriend Marla hovering around Aspen during Christmas with then wife Ivana schussing down the slopes with the paparazzi popping flash bulbs all over the place.)
The Donald released this story with uncanny timing because the Trumps want the press to cover more important news. Like maybe the upcoming (yawn) Miss Universe contest. That’s the television beauty contest Donald bought and is rumored to be having Marla emcee with her considerable talent. Will she have an Ivana-ish Aspen moment when her exiting spouse surveys worldwide competition? Will Ivana and Marla start doing lunch together when the inevitable new woman turns up? Who wouldn’t want to watch the next installment on the continuing America soap, “Trump?”
Will contestants hope to be crowned not just the new Miss Universe, but also the next Mrs. Trump? … I predict The Donald will soon be squiring about a lady half his age sporting a Miss Universe crown, and maybe honeymooning in the Lincoln bedroom. Ah Spring!
At the time I had already written about the Clintons raking in money by giving big contributors a night in the White House. Sort of like renting out the Lincoln bedroom. Then later after the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Bill’s possible impeachment I wrote:
Will he remain in office? One person could resolve this in a flash: Hillary Rodham. As a lawyer, she knows exactly what kind of trouble her husband is in. As his wife, only she knows.
As long as she tries to gamely keep it all together for the sake of (fill in the blank), the country, the presidential legacy, her prestige and lifestyle, Chelsea, we will all endure watching the protracted minuet in Congress.
Or she could end this all tomorrow by packing all of Bill’s clothes in garbage bags including those infamous neckties, putting them in the Rose Garden, and telling him to move to Camp David. She might tell him he can keep the dog and his saxophone but she’s keeping The House.
Now here we are. Marla’s on Dancing With the Stars. The presumptive frontrunners for the presidency are Hillary, now with affable Bill at her side, and Le Donald, with a Yugoslav model nearly 25 years younger around somewhere. (Not too far from my ’97 prediction.) That Hillary is the presumptive nominee is not a shocker, after all why else would a feminist have stayed with a Bill if not for a power grab? But Trump? Nobody’s laughing anymore.
Except, this might bring a smile to this fractious race, imagine Hillary and the Donald on stage in a fierce debate. Then imagine Bill, presumptive First Dude and Melania, Presumptive First Babe, backstage together watching in the green room. LOLOLOLOL.
Len Bourland can be reached at email@example.com.