Monday, September 18, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He sent a surrogate out to attack the Emmys in great detail, and also mention that he had "barely noticed" them.

Kellyanne Conway, whose public profile has been greatly reduced in recent months, appeared today on Trump's favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, to diss in highly specific terms the previous night's Trump-heavy broadcast of the Emmy awards. The broadcast featured a surprise appearance by former press secretary Sean Spicer (who gamely tried to make a joke out of his Trump-mandated first-day rant about nonexistent "record" crowds at the inauguration), and an Emmy for Alec Baldwin's impression of Trump on Saturday Night Live. But Conway went out of her way to mention that Trump had "barely noticed" the show.

This is a little hard to believe, for a number of reasons. For one thing, Trump is a known hate-watcher of television about himself: aides report that he is prone to screaming at his set during cable news binges, and Baldwin's impression in particular seems to have a hold on Trump's attention. He often responds in real time on Twitter to things he sees on TV, as he did during his public feud with the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe, even as he denied watching in the first place. In fact, Trump's willingness to watch anything that bearing his name has been exploited by political opponents and lobbyists who have run ads directly addressing him during the shows he's likely to watch.

Also, this isn't the beginning of Trump's grudge against the Emmys. Though The Apprentice was nominated eight times, neither Trump nor the show ever won, which has prompted several tantrums over the years about the "terrible," "horrendous," "no credibility" awards. This is what prompted Baldwin to shake his award at the camera last night and say, "at long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy.”

Why does this matter?

  • Presidents who "barely notice" something don't send out trusted surrogates to bash it the very next morning.
  • It shouldn't be this easy for a TV awards show to get under a president's skin.