Donald Trump's election night Tuesday culminated in one of the strangest victory speeches in American political history: an infomercial, carried live by the three major cable networks, for Trump-brand products.
As he swept to victory in the Michigan, Mississippi, and Hawaii primaries and caucuses, Trump used his press conference to talk about Trump steaks. And Trump bottled water. And Trump vodka. And Trump Magazine.
This was all aimed at Mitt Romney, whose anti-Trump speech last week apparently rankled not because Romney called Trump a misogynist and a bully, but because he implied some of Trump's companies were unsuccessful.
"I have very successful companies," Trump said. "I'm going to do this in about two seconds, but let me explain." It took more than two seconds. And most of the products Trump tried to defend have been discontinued. Not only was Trump producing an election night infomercial — it was an infomercial for products you can't buy anymore.
Trump steaks were discontinued after mixed reviews
"We have Trump steaks," Trump said proudly Tuesday night, joking that if anyone wanted one, they would cost "$50 a steak." (He'd initially called them "the world's greatest steaks" — "the best-tasting, most flavorful beef you've ever had.")
But the steaks he displayed were actually, as editor Greg Pollowitz at the conservative site Twitchy pointed out, from West Palm Beach's Bush Brothers:
"I understand steaks. It's my favorite food," Trump said in his initial pitch. "And these are the best." Sharper Image no longer carries Trump steaks. Neither does QVC, which also sold the steaks.
Reviews of Trump steaks were, um, mixed. About half of the reviewers on QVC.com loved them. The other half said Trump had promised them a healthy steak and instead given them a fat-laden, tasteless grease bomb.
"I am no stranger to Angus beef and high quality lean cuts of meat — having a butcher in the family," one wrote. "I believe his burgers are not what they say they are."
Trump publishes a magazine, but it's not Trump Magazine
Trump also waved around a copy of what he said was Trump Magazine, which Romney said was also discontinued. And Romney was right: Trump Magazine, whose creative director described it to the New York Daily News as "wealth porn," ceased publication in 2009.
But before it folded, its cover lines, under the tagline "Think big. Live large," included "Come fly with me: Designer jets," "Over the top yachts," and — really — "Bubble? What bubble? Real estate tips from Trump U."
Last night, though, Trump was brandishing the Jewel of Palm Beach, described as "the exclusive publication of Donald J. Trump's spectacular Mar-a-Lago Club." That is not quite the same thing as a glossy luxury lifestyle magazine.
Trump vodka was also discontinued
Trump also touted his vodka — which has also been discontinued. But Trump vodka, while it was still being made and packaged in a skyscraper-like bottle, got mixed reviews online (and a recommendation that it be used mostly in mixed drinks).
"The finish is disappointingly harsh with a lasting burn that is also nearly transparent," About.com wrote in 2007.
"Trump is the most bizarre tasting vodka I’ve ever tasted," VodkaBuzz wrote. "If you’re going with Trump, go with a cocktail, and do it at the most upscale bar or club you can get into."
Trump vodka was discontinued in 2011. Bottles on eBay are now being sold as collectors' items.
Trump water and wine are still around
The two products Trump could brag about were Trump bottled water and Trump wine, which he served at the press conference. But Trump, who doesn't drink, doesn't have much to do with his winery, near Charlottesville, Virginia. It's run by by his son, Eric.
And the wine gets pretty decent reviews: 14/20 from Gayot for the 2012 Chardonnay and an 89 from Wine Enthusiast. The most entertaining sum-up, though, is from VinePair: "You can tell money went into this wine. It tastes expensive but it has no soul."
But don't worry: Trump promises he will be "very presidential"
The impromptu infomercial was Trump's campaign strategy in a nutshell: Doing something that had never been done before, and getting tons of free media in the process. The cable networks preempted Hillary Clinton's speech for Trump's press conference. All told, it was worth millions of dollars in free media.
But Trump also tried to reassure his viewers that he wouldn't be doing this in the White House, and that his current personality is just an artifact of the contested campaign.
"I can be more presidential than anybody," Trump said. "When I have 16 people coming at me from 16 different angles, you don't want to be so presidential. You have to win; you have to beat them back. I would be more presidential … than anybody but the great Abe Lincoln. He was very presidential. Right?"