LIVINGSTON, NJ — Now that the wealthy businessman and American television personality Donald Trump has officially announced his presidential bid for the 2016 election, a Twitter feud between him and Livingston High School Class of 1982 graduate Danny Zuker is going viral for the second time in two years. Zuker, now the Executive Producer of the seven-season comedy series “Modern Family,” weighed in on Trump through Twitter in 2013 and now the argumentative, witty Tweets are resurfacing in the news.
The comedy-television writer appeared on HLN Monday to discuss the dramatic Twitter war between him and Trump, or as Zuker calls him “Trumpelstiltskin,” which initiated when Zuker began poking fun at Trump’s hypocrisy. According to Zuker, there is not a single person in the world who cannot “outwit” Trump, but Zuker beat them all to the punch.
“Most of what I do on Twitter is I make fun of my own children because they’re easy targets, but occasionally I go after a celebrity who’s deserving of it,” said Zuker. “[Trump] eventually responded foolishly (and blessedly) to something I said that wasn’t even that bad and I got a lot of praise at first, but honestly I think almost anybody could put him in his place.”
Being a comedy writer by trade, Zuker’s followers were not the least bit surprised when he obliterated Trump on social media 140 characters at a time in 2013. For months, the two bickered until Trump finally surrendered and blocked Zuker on Twitter. Now, two years and a presidential bid later, fans of the viral encounter are back on the topic of Trump’s hypocrisy and wondering what Zuker will do next.
Most recently, Zuker created an online petition for Macy’s to yank Trump’s clothing line from its stores and less than 48 hours later, Zuker got his wish. Since Trump’s presidential announcement, NBC has ended its business relationship with the billionaire, Macy’s has pulled all Trump merchandise out of its stores and actors have admitted to being paid to support his campaign. Zuker, having always been an anti-Trump advocate, began Tweeting again to entertain his followers and quickly realized fans were re-visiting the feud — even more so than the first time.
“It’s just been really fun; it’s great getting all this credit for something I did two years ago,” said Zuker. “I have to say, this is the one time [Trump] has actually surprised me because I never thought he was going to run, so I was kind of delighted because this will be fun from a comedy-writing standpoint.”
Zuker said it has been fulfilling to hear Trump demonstrate time and time again that the only thing he values is money. According to Zuker, Trump’s speech only proved that the Twitter feud was harmless because there is no way to “shame a shameless person.”
“His whole acceptance speech, when he wasn’t telling everyone that Mexicans are rapists, was all about how much money he has,” said Zuker. “I think what’s been great is all of these people taking money away from him for this — NBC, Univision and Macy’s — but it’s going to just keep going because he’s put himself out there in such a negative way.”
Zuker said he strongly felt that any money Trump didn’t inherit from his family comes directly from the fans that buy his merchandise or stay at his hotels. Zuker said he continuously picks on Trump because he honestly believes Trump is a “hateful, racist human being” and it makes him an obvious target.
As a Democrat, Zuker said there is nothing he would like more than to see Trump get the nomination and watch his demise unfold. Zuker also said that Trump keeping his head above water in the race makes his job easier from an entertainment standpoint.
At 51 years old, Zuker said he is in the longest-lasting and most fun career of his life. After graduating from Syracuse University, Zuker jumped from job to job following his dream of becoming successful in the comedy business. Finally, he landed his current position as the Executive Producer of the ABC sitcom “Modern Family” and said his time on the show has been a dream come true.
“It’s just been a Godsend,” said Zuker. “Plus I love Emmys and I never had one until this show.”
During his seven years working on “Modern Family,” Zuker has won five Emmys, the first in 2010, and said he would wear them around his neck every day if he could.