Even though the show has been largely “politically agnostic” since it first aired back in 1969, did Sesame Street managed to got itself to be the focus of U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s ire?
By: Ringo Bones
Even though he never “Tweeted” it out loud, many people believe that Donald J. Trump has a long-standing beef with Sesame Street way before he became – albeit not via popular vote – the president of the United States. Under the Trump Administration’s budget that was published back in May 2017, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be one of many nonprofit corporations across the United States that would lose funding despite that it makes up only a tiny portion of the annual federal spending. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides funding to thousands of radio and television stations in the United States, but is best known for its ties to both PBS and NPR.
And some – mostly Sesame Street viewers who had been watching the show for at least since the early to mid 1970s – believe that President Trump’s disdain for public broadcasting stems from an old grudge against Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster. Sesame Street viewers could trace it back when a character named Ronald Grump which was parodying the then real-estate mogul Donald J. Trump in the 1980s.
Ronald Grump’s first appearance on Sesame Street came in 1988 when he convinced Oscar the Grouch to replace his spot on the street with a building called “Grump Tower”. In exchange, Oscar got a free room in the tower and three bags of trash even though his friend tried to talk him out of the rotten deal. Oscar and Grump eventually got into an argument over pets being allowed in the “duplex can-dominium”, which almost cost Oscar 40 bags of trash – or as he put it, his entire “trash savings” – to get out of the deal.
Ronald Grump’s second appearance came in 1994 when Sesame Street celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Played by famed actor Joe Pesci, Grump announced his plans to destroy Sesame Street to build a high-rise “Grump Tower.” Following a lot of hostility – Grump said Sesame Street will be a luxurious boutique called “If You Have To Ask, You Cannot Afford It” – Grump’s plans ended up falling through the cracks due to Oscar’s can being government property.
When Ronald Grump made his final appearance in 2005 for the episode “Grouch Apprentice”, he was back to puppet form. In search of a helper to sort through all of his trash, several muppets auditioned to be his assistant by going through a series of contests. Grump ended up firing one of them (one being called Omagrossa, which was clearly based on The Apprentice star turned Trump political aide Omarosa Manigault) and hiring two of them, Oscar and Grundgetta, because they were the most incompetent. Sadly, give Sesame Street’s apolitical nature, Ronald Grump won’t be returning anytime soon to parody President Trump. Grump just got on Sesame Street as a bad example of greediness in a values lesson episode. And the top brass of the Children’s Television Workshop were probably very thankful that Ronald Grump wasn’t grabbing any pussy on the set of Sesame Street during his final appearance back in 2005.