You can take the reality star out of the TV jungle, but when it comes to the gold standard of gossip, those shallow primal instincts will still flare up, even if you’ve graduated to the Oval Office. According to a report from Entity, President Donald Trump summoned the founder of TMZ—Harvey Levin—to Washington.
Our sources tell us POTUS invited Levin to Washington, D.C., last week for a face-to-face meeting which took place in the Oval Office on either Tue Feb. 28 or Wed March 1. Notably, Levin was absent from TMZ Live on both of those days, which makes sense since the show tapes every weekday in Los Angeles and his meeting was in Washington. He returned for the Thursday and Friday shows but didn’t mention where he had disappeared to, not even telling his staff.
On November 18th of last year, Fox News ran a special called OBJECTified: Donald Trump, hosted by Harvey Levin. Fox News greenlit another ten episodes to run this fall. Per a scoop from Deadline:
Following the ratings success of the Harvey Levin‘s OBJECTified: Donald Trump special on Fox News Channel in November, the cable news network is turning it into a series hosted and executive produced by TMZ‘s Levin and produced by Telepictures. In it, he will tour the homes of newsmakers and celebrities who will be telling their life stories through the objects they’ve chose to keep over the years. I’ve learned that FNC has given a 10-episode order to OBJECTified to debut in fall 2017. Just like the Trump special, it will air on Friday in primetime.
If the report that Donald Trump invited Levin to the Oval Office is true, the timing sure is convenient. Deadline released their scoop on February 21st, and a week later, Levin is supposedly in the White House consulting with our reality star-in-chief? Given Trump’s affinity for, and expertise in reality television, this report makes it look like he was trying to put his fingerprints all over this newly birthed franchise launched out of his ratings bonanza from last November. Governing clearly isn’t his thing, but micromanaging an invented reality? That’s peak Trump.
Take this all with a grain of salt, as Paste has been unable to find a second source to confirm Entity’s reporting, but let’s assume for a moment that this is verified—since the allegation is entirely within Trump’s capabilities and interests. Here are some of the countries that Donald Trump has not spoken to since being inaugurated:
Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Thailand, every country in Africa save for Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, and nearly every single nation in the western hemisphere south of Mexico.
Got that Earth? It doesn’t matter how important your country is—as evidenced by the fact that President Trump has yet to speak with 12 of the 30 largest economies in the world—but if you can produce a reality show that fawns all over him and gives him a talking point with the word “ratings” in it, you’re golden. At this rate, Trump will be filming new episodes of The Apprentice in the Roosevelt Room before the 2018 midterm elections.
Nothing is confirmed until two independent sources verify the same story, but given the questions around Levin’s whereabouts on the days in question, the fact that Entity’s report matches up to the timeline of the announcement of this new series spawned from a single episode about Trump, and what we know about both ratings-hungry parties, this is entirely believable. Paste has reached out to TMZ about this report and will update this post if we get a reply.
The New York Times has confirmed Entity’s reporting that Levin did indeed meet with Donald Trump in a meeting that was not on his public schedule. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks e-mailed the Times, saying “the two were discussing future opportunities.” This post has been updated with “reportedly” removed from the title. Additionally, several countries that I wrote that the president had not met with, did, so they have been removed, as well as the corresponding link which helped drive me to this error.
Jacob Weindling is Paste’s business and media editor, as well as a staff writer for politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.