Donald Trump Announces Scottish Golf course PlansO.K.  So now that Donald Trump has quit the race for president, he can go back to his real job – commander in chief of publicity, buzz and spin.

Yes, I admit that “The Donald” makes me cringe when he abuses and misuses public relations tactics to keep the spotlight shining on his every move. President Obama’s pitch-perfect reference to a sideshow barker at a recent press dinner hilariously captured the essence of Mr. Trump. But it also struck a blow at ethical PR professionals who work hard to manage the reputation of their clients.

Long on headline-grabbing tricks but short on the substance and ethics that should guide a presidential candidate, Trump’s gambit to fuel the birther controversy was an act of political bottom-feeding that got the daily attention of hungry traditional and on-line media. Astonishingly, but consistent with his fondness for patting himself on the back, he took credit for forcing the president to produce a birth certificate. Huh?

Why is this important? Well, when Donald Trump so transparently manipulates the media and grabs both headlines and public support, he sends a message that the media can be bought. No, not with money; Trump does it with a flamboyant personality and dubious storylines, taking what at first is obvious stretching of the truth and repeating it until an exhausted media surrenders its primary role as seekers of the truth.

Mr. Trump may have left the campaign trail for the more lucrative world of TV, but his insistence that he could have won a primary conjures some interesting “what ifs.”  For example, would voters accept a candidate who stated, as Trump recently did when a reporter asked about his past financial difficulties, that bankruptcy is “just a tool”?

My guess is an emphatic “no” – especially if the sad stories of families who lost their life savings because of his business dealings become tomorrow ’s reality show scripts.  Talk about ratings potential – enough to eclipse The Apprentice!