Medium recently ran a fun little who-said-it comparison of quotes by Donald Trump — who they describe as “an inexplicably wealthy self-obsessed racist”— and the strikingly similar character played by Danny DeVito in Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
But there may be another pop-culture fixture bearing even closer resemblance in the area of money-love and ego. Ben Domenech reminds us of comedian John Mulaney, who noted that Trump “has made a career out of getting up every morning and asking himself the question, ‘What would a cartoon rich person do?’” As Philip Wegmann has already proven, the closest contender is Scrooge McDuck.
There’s nothing wrong with a good capitalist, of course. Indeed, the “evolved” Uncle Scrooge of the DuckTales series exhibits plenty of love and empathy, and constantly puts the interests of his nephews and friends above the coin, even as he pursues profitable endeavors and exploratory missions that benefit his feathered brethren and the entire community of Duckburg. He is a protagonist — a productive steward of riches, whose hard work and investments benefit all.
But he does bear his vices, which lest we forget, is entirely the point. Much like Trump, Scrooge’s character history begins and is checkered with blind greed, exploitation, arrogance, xenophobia, and cronyism. He is the “stingiest duck in the world,” and this remains the running joke of even his later refined stature. Much like Gordon Gekko, he is a caricature of what unserious people think most capitalists are, and in this area, the only big distinguishing difference between Scrooge McDuck and Donald Trump is that Mr. Trump is, in fact, real.
As Penn Jillette puts it, Trump “kind of plays this Scrooge McDuck role in our society that’s kind of fun.” He is a comical cartoon but in flesh and bone. He is a showman through and through, representing an entertaining but ultimately destructive mix of greed, blind ambition, and self-importance. He is a symbol of what our culture prefers to pretend is the status quo of a free society. If only he had the enduring charm of Mr. McDee.
Thus, in the spirit of such societal amusement, here’s a who-said-it of a slightly different variety.