I don’t have a lot in common with Donald J. Trump. He enables white power, and I run a feminist hugbox. He lives in a penthouse, I live in a farmhouse. He has billions of dollars, and I have yarn walls. He owns a huge multibillion dollar global company and I run a mid-sized pop culture website with an unpronounceable name that rhymes with a female body part. If you have a cold.
Yet — and this is going to sound weird — I totally get why he doesn’t want to give up his company. I mean, here’s a guy who ran for President in order to bolster his company’s brand. He never expected to win, and now that he has, he is being asked to give up his life’s work? That is not an easy thing to do, even for the Presidency, which — by the way — is not something he really ever wanted.
Every once in a while, I’ll get a cool job offer: More money, more security, actual benefits, and fewer hours. My first question, however, is always: “But what about Pajiba?” And they say, “Oh, well, you can still own it, I guess, but you’ll have to step away from it.” “Oh,” I say. Even when I agree to think it over, I always know what the answer is immediately: I can’t quit this place. It means too much to me. I made it, just like Donald Trump made his company (with an $11 million loan from his father and a lot of sketchy tax loopholes). I could lie and say, “Oh, well, of course, I’ll devote myself to this other job,” but I know that I’d never be able to step away from Pajiba entirely, and I know that I’d look for ways to make the other job benefit Pajiba (I really like writing for Uproxx, for instance, but part of the appeal is the hope that the sizable exposure brings the occasional new reader to this site).
Over the years, we’ve had a couple of semi-serious offers for the site, too. Likewise, the first question I always ask is, “Can I still run it?” and they say, “Sure! We’ll give you a contract,” and I ask, “Is it a lifetime contract?” and they say, “No. It’s two or three years,” and then I think, “Yeah, but what am I supposed to do at the end of two or three years, when you’ve got my website, and I’m left with nothing after you’ve finally figured out a way to profit off of my 13 years of work?” Me without Pajiba is like Donald Trump without his real-estate business. It’s our identity, and we’d feel useless without it.
Like Trump Tower, this place is comfortable to me. Hell, I still write the original drafts of many of my Uproxx pieces in Pajiba’s archaic Content Management System instead of the White House of CMS’s over there (Dear God, it is fancy). If you build something — big or small — it’s in you, man. It’s not about the money. It’s about having something that’s yours, and while Donald Trump can lease the White House for four years (or God help us, eight), at the end of that, he’d want to be able to come back to his company, the thing that he made.
The difference, of course, is that I wouldn’t have taken another job that would preclude this one, while Trump seems to have stumbled backwards into his. I honestly believe that he values his company over the Presidency, and he sees the Presidency mostly as a means to increasing the value of his company. I’m not saying that in a spiteful, vindictive way, or because a kleptocracy would endanger our Democracy. I’m saying it in a sincerely empathetic way. I get it, man, but you can’t do that!
He’s not going to give it up. He’s going to spend six months dodging questions about business conflicts, and he’s going to spend another six months trying to find loopholes. However, when Congress eventually gets off their asses and demands that he choose one or the other, I genuinely believe he’ll choose his company. He may force Congress to impeach him so that he can increase the value of his company through martyrdom, but he’s not going to give up control — secret or otherwise — of his company. He put his life into it. He brought it back from multiple bankruptcies. His name is on a goddamn building in 30 countries. To a man like Trump, who has never valued public service, that’s worth a lot more to him than the bureaucratic nightmare that comes with the Presidency.
What I’m saying is this: Get used to the idea of President Pence, because it’s coming.