Donald Trump Was President On The Simpsons, And It Wasn't Pretty

Simpsonized Donald Trump
Donald Trump in "Trumptastic Voyage". Fox, Screencap Via The Daily Beast

Since Donald Trump became the front runner Republican candidate, pop culture historians have pointed out that The Simpsons predicted a future Trump presidency back in 2000. In season 11’s episode “Bart to the Future,” Bart saw a vision of the future in which Lisa became president. Following after President Trump she had a lot of problems to fix.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Ryan Parker and The Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng spoke to Simpsons writer Dan Greaney, who penned “Bart to the Future.” He said they intended President Trump as a warning.

“It was a warning to America,” writer Dan Greaney told THR. “And that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane."

Donald Trump had considered running for office in 2000 but decided not to. Back then, a Trump candidacy seemed like broad science fiction, let alone a Trump presidency. 

“[President Trump] came out of this show’s take on America, the sort of thing America would kind of do,” Greaney told the Beast. “And this was when Trump was, frankly, less negative than he is now. He was a little more lovable back then, before the birther thing and all that."

The problems The Simpsons foresaw with Trump were financial. “That’s how his presidency went wrong in our imagination: He overspent, he went nuts!” Greaney told The Beast. “Our Trump was a builder.”

The Simpsons also spoofed the proposition of building a wall to keep out immigrants in a Trump free episode Coming to Homerica.

In “Bart to the Future,” poor President Simpson was tasked with fixing all of Trump’s problems, something that was insurmountable for even the gifted Lisa.

"The important thing is that Lisa comes into the presidency when America is on the ropes, and that is the condition left by the Trump presidency," Greaney tells THR.

"What we needed was for Lisa to have problems that were beyond her fixing, that everything went as bad as it possibly could, and that's why we had Trump be president before her."

Trump does not appear in the episode. The Simpsonized likeness of Donald Trump is from a 2015 clip "Trumptastic Voyage." In "Bart to the Fuure," Lisa herself is said to be the first straight female president. That doesn’t preclude a Hilary victory, but it means Mrs. Clinton would have to come out of the closet. But a previous lesbian president would have left office prior to President Trump in the Simpsons timeline.

Another bonus is that this episode if finally getting its due 16 years later. The Donald Trump reference was picked up by no less than Rolling Stone and The Washington Post. It even went across the pond to the Daily Mail and the Telegraph

At the time, The Simpsons and Greaney himself received a lot of criticism for “Bart to the Future.” I’m always happy when unsung Simpsons episodes get love. That’s the whole point of this site, that The Simpsons is a lot more than just the most famous episodes you remember.

"I am tickled we are getting all this attention, but I don't think it's going to trigger this well-awaited re-evaluation of my episode that I was hoping for," he told THR.

"The Simpsons has always kind of embraced the over-the-top side of American culture.”

Greaney added in his Daily Beast interview, “Entertainment Weekly said it was the worst episode in the history of the show, [so] I was hoping to have an opportunity to have the episode reevaluated, anyway. And [Trump] is just the fulfillment of that.”

The Simpsons also suggested there would be a present day President Schwarzenegger in The Simpsons Movie. I always wondered why it wasn’t their own character Rainier Wolfcastle. So far, Arnold Schwarzenegger is still disqualified from the presidency, unless there is an amendment, and that would make the movie Demolition Man come true too.