What’s going on in the Trump administration? The entertainment industry may know best

People let me tell you ’bout my best friend.
People let me tell you ’bout my best friend.
Image: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
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The politicians don’t understand Donald Trump. What if Hollywood does?

Famed Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel scored some facetime with the president-elect over the weekend. Considering his brother, Rahm, is the mayor of Chicago and president Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, and another brother helped shape Obamacare, he’s not exactly the Emanuel one would expect a future president to meet.

But Ari Emanuel—a longtime Democrat—is an old friend; he represented Trump during his Apprentice days through his massive talent agency WME/IMG. The agency, of which Emanuel is the co-CEO, also bought Trump’s stake in the Miss Universe Organization in 2015. Trump called him the “king of Hollywood” at the meeting held on Nov. 20, and neither party would say what was discussed. (Ari Emanuel is also the basis for Ari Gold on Entourage.)

The Emanuel meeting underscores the close ties the entertainment industry has to Trump and how the left-coasters may, for now, be the most clued in to what’s actually going on inside his developing administration.

For example, an exclusive profile of Steve Bannon, Trump’s recently appointed chief strategist, was published not by the Washington Post or the New York Times but by the Hollywood Reporter last week, where Michael Wolff offered a look at the controversial Breitbart News executive chair from inside Trump Tower, where he’s helping craft Trump’s transition.

Bannon helped engineer the sale of Seinfeld’s owner, which ensured him millions after he agreed to forgo part of his fee in return for a stake in the show, and his investment firm reportedly worked on financing for MGM and other film studios. Bannon has also directed films about Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan; one was called, ironically, In the Face of Evil. 

Those are not the only Hollywood connections in the Trump administration. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is a top advisor to the president-elect, has roots in the media and entertainment worlds as well. He owns the New York Observer.

Trump is also meeting privately with heads and anchors from the nation’s five biggest news networks today, CNN Money reported. The publication pointed out that Trump has ties to many in the TV news business. But he also warred with some in the media during his campaign, which could have put those relationships at risk.

It’s ironic that the entertainment industry should find itself at the heart of this new conservative establishment now, when so much talent in the space has railed against Trump. Many, many film and TV stars campaigned against him during the election. And two writers of Disney’s upcoming standalone Star Wars story Rogue One were recently slammed by Trump supporters after comparing his policies to the Galactic Empire in a series of tweets, which have since been deleted.

Bannon, at least, likely took those critiques as compliments. “Darkness is good,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.”