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Related Content: Enjoyed the Bonus? Listen to the entire episode here

In this bonus from Stay Tuned, Bremmer talks about the conservative media landscape and the possibility of Trump running again in 2024. Plus, he explains his fascination with puppets. 

Thank you for being a member of the CAFE Insider community.

  • Jonathan Swan, “Scoop: Trump privately discussing 2024 run,” Axios, 11/09/2020
  • Michael Grynbaum, “One America News, the Network That Spreads Conspiracies to the West Wing,” New York Times, 6/09/2020
  • Alexander Mallin and Aaron Katersky, “Out of office, President Trump could face new legal vulnerabilities,” ABC News, 10/10/2020
  • Alex Thompson, “Tucker Carlson 2024? The GOP is buzzing,” Politico, 7/2/2020
  • Marc A. Thiessen, “Trump can run and win in 2024. But first he needs to save the Senate majority,” Washington Post, 11/10/2020
  • “Puppet Regime,” GZERO Media 

Preet Bharara:

Hey folks. Thanks for being a member of The CAFE Insider community. In addition to The CAFE Insider Podcast, and my weekly note, you also get bonus material from my interviews on Stay Tuned With Preet. This is exclusively for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Preet Bharara:

Assume that you are correct that OANN blows up in a big way, or Trump joins it, or buys it.

Ian Bremmer:

Buys it, yeah.

Preet Bharara:

What does Fox News do?

Ian Bremmer:

I think Fox tries to be a center, right, business-oriented demographic, but they’re going to get squeezed by these guys. It’s a problem for them. It’s a real problem for Fox. I think Murdoch’s got no chance of resurrecting that after this election, because he’s not going to in any way … Even if he tries to make nice with them, Trump wants something he can completely control and he can’t control Fox, so Trump has to be the talent, and I think the danger is that he ends up grabbing the people from Fox that are most popular that also drive that message, and there’s real money in that. There’s a massive amount of money in Trump’s megaphone and eyeballs, and unfortunately I think the country’s going to have to deal with what’s going to be a much more polarized media organization. That’s one thing that’s fairly easy to predict in the next year, two years.

Preet Bharara:

If Donald Trump does not run for president do you think that Tucker Carlson is a real threat to run?

Ian Bremmer:

I have no basis to believe that. Look, we like media stars in this country, but I do think that there are plenty of serious Republican figures that are more than happy to embrace populism who are going to do quite well. They have a base. They have states. They have money behind them. I think they’ll work.

Preet Bharara:

Do you want to name a couple?

Ian Bremmer:

You look at Tom Cotton, and you look at Josh Harley, and you look at Mike Pompeo, and Nikki Haley will obviously be in the mix. I don’t think Ivanka has that political ambition, and I don’t think Don Trump Jr. has that credibility, and I think you’re right that Trump himself will still be teasing to run himself, so I think it’s going to be a very weird period, but first we have to get through 2022, and we have to see what that looks like. It’s quite possible 2022 ends up being a lot of centrist get wiped out on both sides, and the parties look very different.

Preet Bharara:

What’s your thing about puppets? Why are you so obsessed with puppets?

Ian Bremmer:

What do you mean by thing?

Preet Bharara:

Can you tell folks about your puppet thing?

Ian Bremmer:

Oh yeah. I got a puppet thing. Sure.

Preet Bharara:

It’s not that common for men of a certain age to be about puppets.

Ian Bremmer:

No, it is. It’s just not common for those men to be public about it. Usually, they keep that on the DL. You like my puppets. That’s why you’re asking me, right?

Preet Bharara:

I love your puppets. I think they’re great, but tell people about what’s the deal with the puppets.

Ian Bremmer:

I was going to do a puppet of you, and the cost of the fur on felt it was exorbitant. I couldn’t handle it. It was going to break me.

Preet Bharara:

I’m trying to promote your puppet stuff.

Ian Bremmer:

It was going to break me.

Preet Bharara:

And you go in with a gibe.

Ian Bremmer:

First of all, Trump is an abundantly puppetable person, leader.

Speaker 3:

That’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president in the United States, and it’s pretty clear-

Preet Bharara:

You’re the puppet.

Ian Bremmer:

Also, when I was a kid The Muppet Show was my favorite show, period. It was awesome. It had lots of social commentary, but it was friendly. It wasn’t mean, and I think in a world that is so divided and so angry politically that what’s a better way to get at politics than have cute little furry puppets? Even my Trump puppet is kind of cute. My Biden puppet’s kind of cute. My [inaudible 00:03:45] puppet is surprisingly cute.

Preet Bharara:

And what do you have the puppets do?

Ian Bremmer:

They do little skits about politics, and it’s called Puppet Regime, of course it is, because what else would you call it?

Preet Bharara:

What else would it be?

Ian Bremmer:

What else would it be? It’s a lot of fun. When I first told my staff that we were going to do this, this is the problem when you work for a company that’s owned by one eccentric person, they desperately wanted to stop me because they were concerned that we would just lose clients if we had a puppet show, and I said, No, we were definitely doing it.” It took them a few weeks to realize that I was serious, and that I would [crosstalk 00:04:18].

Preet Bharara:

Who writes the skits?

Ian Bremmer:

I’ve done a couple of them, but not many. We have a crack team G-Zero led by this guy Alex Kliment, who’s worked in many different manifestations in the firm. He’s done research, and consulting, and he writes, and he’s also a musician, and he’s just a creative force, so when I told him about this, and he had never done puppetry before, but he just threw himself into it, and it’s fantastic.

Ian Bremmer:

I will tell you though that you have no idea how difficult it is to manage people that make puppets, because they are among the least responsible and responsive segment of society I’ve ever met.

Preet Bharara:

The puppet makers, or are they called puppeteers?

Ian Bremmer:

No, these are puppet makers-

Preet Bharara:

Puppet makers.

Ian Bremmer:

… and they don’t believe in deadlines, and they don’t care about how much money you’re paying, and that’s not the issue, they just miss deadlines on a regular basis. They get things wrong all the time. They don’t care.

Preet Bharara:

Aren’t you worried they’re going to hear this?

Ian Bremmer:

They’re probably going to hear it, yeah, but I love them, because otherwise why would I be doing this? Everything in the world can’t be corporate [crosstalk 00:05:23].

Preet Bharara:

Who does the voices for the various leaders?

Ian Bremmer:

For example, Kim Jong-un, can you just imagine? You can’t have a white guy do Kim Jong-un because that would be racist.

Preet Bharara:

How would anyone know?

Ian Bremmer:

Believe me. They look into this stuff, so we have this South Korean woman whose father came from North Korea, and she basically does his accent when he’s drunk, and it’s hilarious.

Speaker 3:

I can’t. I can’t believe you. My only real friend, and you lost. Why? Why did you even have an election? Why?

Preet Bharara:

The accent that I’ve been impressed by-

Ian Bremmer:

Is what?

Preet Bharara:

You can probably guess. It’s pretty easy.

Ian Bremmer:

The Trump one.

Preet Bharara:

Prime Minister Modi.

Ian Bremmer:

Oh yeah. Yeah. The Modi one’s pretty good. I don’t even know who does the Modi one.

Preet Bharara:

That was a very good Indian accent. Now, is that a white guy.

Ian Bremmer:

You got to use people. Nope.

Preet Bharara:

Because I’ll look into it.

Ian Bremmer:

You can.

Preet Bharara:

Okay.

Ian Bremmer:

I’m glad you think that that’s a good Indian accent.

Preet Bharara:

It was excellent.

Speaker 4:

Donald [inaudible 00:06:17]. We are very sad to lose such a great saffron colored friend of India.

Ian Bremmer:

Yeah. Can you do one? Can you do an Indian accent for us?

Preet Bharara:

Yes, but I’m not going to do it on demand.

Ian Bremmer:

No, come on. Do something.

Preet Bharara:

I’m not going to do it on demand.

Ian Bremmer:

Really? Say that I am very, very friendly to you.

Preet Bharara:

I am very, very friendly to you.

Ian Bremmer:

That’s awesome. I feel like we just connected a little.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. I think I’m going to have to put this in the bonus section.

Ian Bremmer:

That better be. This feels like a bonus.

Preet Bharara:

All right. Is there anything else, Ian? I got to get going.

Ian Bremmer:

No. I’m good.

Preet Bharara:

I have a 1:30.

Ian Bremmer:

You have stuff to do.

Preet Bharara:

Do you want to curse one more time?

Ian Bremmer:

[inaudible 00:06:56] off.

Preet Bharara:

Okay.

Ian Bremmer:

Yeah, sure.

Preet Bharara:

Thank you again for becoming a member of CAFE Insider. Listen to the CAFE Insider Podcast every Tuesday with Anne Milgram and me, and stay tuned every Thursday.

 

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Risks Realized (with Ian Bremmer)