Years before he became president, Donald Trump was mercilessly and gleefully mocked by “Sesame Street.”
The iconic children’s show has never been big on politics. But in the last few decades its writers featured the real-estate tycoon as Ronald Grump, a heartless and unsympathetic character looking to trick residents out of their homes so he could built his lavish “Grump Tower” project.
Now, the episodes featuring Grump are being resurfaced just as the man who inspired them is threatening to defund PBS, the network which airs the show (it also airs now on HBO.)
“Sesame Street” introduced its Trump-trolling character in 1988 when it aired an episode featuring Ronald Grump, a smarmy real-estate developer obsessed with building Grump Tower, made entirely out of trash cans.
Making sketchy promises, Grump convinces Oscar the Grouch to let him build his high-rise on his property. The deal eventually falls through.
Grump’s second-ever appearance — this time as a human — was in 1994 for the show’s 25th anniversary special.
“It may be the end of the road for ‘Sesame Street,'” says an ominous Barbara Walters as she introduces her “25/25” report about Grump’s announced plans for his new luxury apartment complex.
Portrayed by a toupee-wearing Joe Pesci, Grump can be heard telling Sesame Street residents they have two weeks to “pack up and get out.”
“In a stunning turn of events, it looks like ‘Sesame Street’ may be no more, due to one man, Ronald Grump,” says reporter Kathy Lee Kathy (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in a line that now seems eerily prescient.
Despite pushback from teary-eyed residents, Grump won’t budge. But after Oscar reveals that his trash can is government property, Grump eventually decides to drop his plans.
In 2005, “Sesame Street” went for a parody of “The Apprentice,” starring Donald Grump (not Ronald this time), a filthy-rich grouch “whose name is on every piece of trash in town.”
This latest Grump incarnation is a loud muppet sporting a poofy orange wig searching for his apprentice as he fires Omagrossa (a take on Omarosa Manigault, the former “Apprentice” contestant who is now a Trump White House staffer).
The videos are now finding their way onto social media as Trump announced that his budget would zero out the $445 million budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Last week “Sesame Street” released a statement explaining that while it receives no direct funding from PBS or CPB, “PBS makes Sesame Street available to all Americans, and thereby continues to play a major role in helping less privileged kids gain access to preschool education that has proven and enduring value.”
And in case you haven’t yet read between the lines, these “Sesame Street” Trump parodies are brought to you by the letters “F” and “U.”