Before we elected “Celebrity Apprentice” star Donald Trump to the Oval Office, TV presidents had only “The West Wing’s” Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) to measure themselves against. It wasn’t much of a contest — only “24’s” David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) came close — which may be why most TV presidents are no longer even trying to win the popular vote.
As HBO’s “Veep” returns for a sixth, side-splittingly cynical view of life inside the Beltway, we hail Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ (now former) President Selina Meyer and other current TV commanders-in-chief.
President Trump, who knows a thing or two about grabbing focus, probably doesn’t have time to watch his fictional counterparts. But what if he did? Here’s what might interest him.
• Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)
Where to find her: 10:30 p.m. Sundays, HBO.
Known for: Inflated ego, foul mouth, chronic ineptitude, and, now, after having been rejected by both the American people and Congress, for lasting only a short time in an office to which she wasn’t elected.
What might interest (or annoy) Trump: In “Veep”-world, Meyer, not he, was the 45th president. (She started out the show as vice president.) Louis-Dreyfus has won five Emmys in a row for playing the character. Trump has complained of never having won for “The Apprentice.” And then there’s the shot Louis-Dreyfus seemed to be taking in her acceptance speech last fall, when she apologized for the 2016 political climate, saying, “Our show started as a political satire — now it feels like a sobering documentary.”
• Fitzgerald Grant III (Tony Goldwyn)
Where to find him: 9 p.m. Thursdays, ABC.
Known for: His long affair with onetime aide Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), who helped steal the presidency for him. Survived assassination attempt, White House divorce. Won re-election but lost son. Oh, and he once murdered a Supreme Court justice.
What might interest Trump: Fitz is a Republican who has had his trials with the far right and has tried to move closer to the center.
• Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey)
Show: “House of Cards.”
Where to find him: Netflix. Season five begins May 30.
Known for: Being evil, breaking the fourth wall to address audience directly, and his Lady Macbethlike spouse, Claire (Robin Wright), who at the end of last season became his running mate as the Democratic nominee for vice president.
What might interest Trump: Underwood’s plan to fund 10 million jobs by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.