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A clown in Trump clothing

Updated: November 26, 2012 7:12AM

Even for Donald Trump, that was embarrassing.

Among his other faults, the Donald apparently doesn’t understand the difference between “big news” and “publicity stunt.”

Going on YouTube and Facebook and “The Twitter” to issue a $5 million challenge isn’t a scoop — it’s a new media variation on one of the oldest ploys in the world.

Watching Trump deliver his address on YouTube challenging the president to release his college and passport documents, I was reminded of the old “Saturday Night Live” bit in which Lorne Michaels offered the Beatles “three THOUSAND dollars” to reunite.

Trump also sounded more than a little like the Michaels-inspired “Dr. Evil” character from the “Austin Powers” movies, yelling into the camera and saying he’ll write a check for “five MILLION dollars” if only the president would release the documents.

Of course, those documents have to meet Trump’s personal litmus test, or he won’t cough up the money to “inner-city Chicago children, American Cancer society [or] AIDS research.” Gee, way to hold those worthy causes hostage, Mr. Trump.

Oh, and one other caveat: The president must come through by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Perhaps Trump has a costume party to attend that night. If he wants to win first prize as Most Hilarious Clown, all he has to do is walk out the door and go as himself.

The Art of the Deal

All Donald Trump has to do is announce he’s going to make an announcement about an announcement about the president, and the global media flies into a frenzy.

Some would say we’re falling for the Donald’s self-promoting routine yet again. I’d say we’re happily lapping up more Nectar of the Clods.

So there was the Donald on “Fox & Friends” last Monday morning, hours before the last presidential debate, reaching into the candidates’ personal space and stealing their thunder by claiming he had a possibly game-changing announcement to make about President Obama.

“It’s going to be announced probably on Wednesday but I have something very, very big concerning the president of the United States …,” said Trump. “It’s going to be very big…”

Personal? Political?

“It’s all in one, everything, it’s very big,” boasted Trump. “Bigger than anyone would know.”

Well gee. If it’s that HUUUUUUUUGE, why wait a couple of days? Why not tell us immediately, for the good of the country?

Hmmmmm. Perhaps because the Donald wanted to milk it for every ounce of publicity he could garner?

Trump followed up his “Fox & Friends” interview with a phone interview with Harvey Levin and “TMZ.” Given his show is on NBC, why wouldn’t he talk to “Today” or the “NBC Nightly News”?

As Trump teased and Tweeted his big announcement, media speculation ran rampant, with various outlets reporting old, unsubstantiated rumors and half-truths about the president’s past, his marriage, his personal life.

If Trump’s goal was to get the conspiracy theorists yammering again about the birth certificate and other non-issues, kudos. If his goal was to chip away at his image as the epitome of the blustery blowhard who surrounds himself with yes-men toadies and doesn’t realize in the real world, there’s a lot more laughter than applause surrounding his “crusades.”

Any time I mention Trump, I hear from folks wondering why in the world I would follow Trump on Twitter, pay attention to Trump’s press conferences, comment on Trump’s comments.

Are you kidding me? For the material.

Like a fire hydrant uncapped on a street corner, Trump just keeps on gushing, providing a seemingly endless stream of buffoonish antics, unproved conspiracy theories, petty vendettas and outlandish comments.

He’s the wealthy uncle who shows up at the holiday gathering with his binder full of conspiracy theories and his checklist of grudges — never bothering to ask if anyone wants to hear his crazy routine and his litany of feuds yet again. Of course they do!

It is a marvel to watch at man who has achieved such sweeping success and has a global platform — and yet comports himself with all the maturity and wisdom of a 12-year-old on the playground.

He’s getting older and older, but the act never gets old. It’s just too damn entertaining.

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