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A guide to Donald Trump's feuds

By Tim Molloy
TheWrap

Donald Trump knows how to milk a feud.

President Obama's release of his birth certificate Wednesday was the biggest moment in Trump's history of feuds since 2007's Wrestlemania, when wrestlers brawling on behalf of His Hairness and the WWE's Vince McMahon to determine which man would have to submit to having his head shaved.

But Wrestlemania was more dignified.

Like rappers, wrestlers and reality stars -- the "Celebrity Apprentice" host knows at least two of their worlds well -- the Donald has learned that high-profile feuds can instantly boost your notoriety. The bigger the opponent, the bigger the boost, which explains Trump taking on the president.

Is he serious about parlaying his embarrassment of the Commander in Chief into a serious run for office? Even Trump's advisors say they don't know. But there's no question Trump has cleverly and cynically manipulated a conflict-loving public to make sure everyone at least knows he's thinking about it.

Here's a guide to his feuds since he began toying with the idea.

Trump vs. Bill Cosby
In Trump's defense, he didn't ask for this one -- unless insinuating that the country's first African-American president might have been born in Africa, despite all evidence to the contrary, is asking for it. After the infamous "Today" interview in which Trump claimed to have investigators in Hawaii who "cannot believe what they are finding" (that Obama was born there?) fellow guest Bill Cosby said Trump was "full of it" and should "run or shut up." Trump wrote a long missive saying Cosby was -- gasp! -- "an Obama fan" and that he was two-faced for being cordial to Trump in person "only to denigrate me when I'm not around."
Winner: The Cos. Rappers figured out long ago that a truly great insult requires you to treat your opponent as so insignificant that you barely have time to disrespect him. (Case in point: feud-master Jay-Z dedicating just "half a bar" of lyrics to his haters in the brilliant diss track "The Takeover.") Cosby's brusque dismissal was just that -- a dismissal -- and by taking the time to respond, Trump came off as thin-skinned.

Trump vs. Lawrence O'Donnell
Annoyed that Trump referred to O'Donnell's "The Last Call" as "some show that gets no ratings, the MSNBC host suggested Trump's presidential exploration was a publicity stunt and that NBC was playing along. He also said he couldn't have Trump on his show because "getting Donald on your show requires a certain amount of sucking up to Donald and pretending he is some kind of adult in an adult chair." A Trump adviser later accused O'Donnell of using Trump to elevate his ratings.
Winner: O'Donnell. Trump went for the "ratings=good" canard (fact: no correlation) and the adult chair thing is funny no matter what.

Trump vs. Jerry Seinfeld
In the continuing Battle of the NBC All-Stars, Seinfeld bailed on an appearance for Trump's son's foundation, which benefitted a children's cancer hospital, because he objected to Trump's show-us-the-birth-certificate campaign. Trump fired back that the children were "very disappointed" and said he had agreed to appear on Seinfeld's "The Marriage Ref" even though it was "absolutely terrible."
Winner: Draw. It's hard to look good canceling on a charity event, whatever the reason, and Trump was on solid ground when he took the think-about-the-children approach. But it's ungracious to call someone out on canceling, especially when you insult his show, too. He could have had a clean win and looked statesman-like by suggesting he and Seinfeld both rise above politics and their personal differences for the sake of the kids. Instead he took it to the mud. Seinfeld took the highest road possible by pledging contributions to the Eric Trump Foundation and the hospital.

Trump vs. Robert De Niro
De Niro told NBC's Brian Williams (because NBC always has to be involved, somehow, in a Trump feud) that "there are certain people on the news in the last couple of weeks -- what they're doing is crazy ...They're making statements about people that they don't even back up. Go get the facts before you start saying things about people." He later confirmed he meant The Donald. Trump called De Niro "not the brightest bulb on the planet."
Winner: Trump. By adding that "I like his acting," he damned with faint praise one of the world's greatest actors and finally got the flick-the-dirt-off-your-shoulder response down. De Niro, of course, was right. Not that being right counts for anything anymore. To wit:

Trump vs. President Obama
It takes a lot of chutzpah to demand that someone produce evidence to dimiss some kind of baseless conspiracy, and then claim victory when he does. But that's exactly what Trump did when Obama, without naming names, relented to pressure and released his long-form birth certificate.
Winner: Trump. He managed to degrade the office of the presidency without even holding it, which seems to have been the idea. Obama, ever the grown-up, failed to seize on any number of moments when he could have hilariously unveiled his non-smoking non-gun: In the middle of Trump announcing his presidential run, for example. "Oh this?" he could have said, showing it to reporters. "This is all he wanted? Okay. Can we move on now?"

The problem with Obama releasing his birth certificate is that some people will never be appeased. It doesn't matter to them what's real and what isn't.

Which is why we have Wrestlemania.