“Choice” Moments: Rebranding Trump

September 25, 2016
by Priyanka Boghani Digital Reporter & Producer

For much of the 1980s, Donald Trump’s name had become a symbol for wealth and luxury. But after the collapse of his business empire in the 1990s, his reputation was in need of repair. In 2004, he found the perfect comeback vehicle: The Apprentice.

The Apprentice gave Donald Trump substance,” says Omarosa Manigault, a contestant on the first season of the show and currently head of African-American outreach for the Trump campaign, in the short film above. “It allowed him to tell his story on his own terms. He got to sell that image to America, and they bought it. They loved it.”

The show turned Trump into a reality television celebrity, and gave him the image makeover and ratings success that would help him become a political star.

“Rebranding Trump” was drawn from FRONTLINE’s reporting for The Choice 2016, filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team’s highly anticipated dual biography of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Since 1988, The Choice has brought viewers in-depth, interwoven biographies of the two major-party U.S. presidential candidates. The Choice 2016 premieres Tues., Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST on PBS and online. Check your local PBS listings.

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