Donald J. Trump, real-estate mogul, fledgling ad star and lifetime-McDonald’s-pass owner, took to the podium at New York’s Plaza Hotel last Thursday to pay homage to NBC and GE honcho Bob Wright. The event was sponsored by the Center for Communication, which annually recognizes one person for supporting media-education programs.

As Trump headed to the stage in the stately Grand Ballroom, Shoptalk sought to query him about several matters: the art of his deal with McDonald’s; whether he lets friends and family use his McDonald’s pass; and whether he’d seen Barbara Lippert’s critique of his onscreen wheeling and dealing with Grimace (a review that cast the pairing as a showdown between the Donald’s hair and Grimace’s “tender blinking eyes”).

“Great, didn’t see it,” the Donald said brusquely.

No matter. Trump’s taste of media stardom (and his budding friendship with Grimace) seemed to give him fresh insight. “You know, the real-estate business has a lot of bad people in it, and we all hate each other,” he said as attendees downed their salmon plates. “That’s why it’s so shocking to me to come here and see [Viacom president and COO] Mel Karmazin hugging Bob Wright. Everyone knows you two hate each other, yet you’re hugging. But that’s the business you’re in.”