Thursday, January 3, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to stay in the spotlight.

Trump made an appearance at a hastily scheduled White House press briefing today. Under previous administrations, the occasional presidential drop-in at the daily press briefing served as informal press conferences. But Trump had never appeared at one until today—in part because he has practically ended the practice of allowing reporters to publicly ask questions of his administration in the first place.

Trump was in the room for eight minutes, much of which was spent congratulating himself for being there in the first place, and left without taking questions. 

The actual purpose of the "briefing" appears to have been to force television cameras to cut away from the opening of the new session of Congress. With Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, cable news coverage was heavy on how the majority would use their newly acquired subpoena power to investigate Trump's financial obligations, connections to the Putin regime, tax records, and other scandals

Trump's media strategy for the last month has been to divert attention from such things with his newly rediscovered passion for his "wall," something he indirectly admitted in a tweet on Tuesday:

It's not the first time Trump has given a "press conference" without actually answering press questions. 

Why does this matter?

  • The presidency is not actually a reality show and the president shouldn't treat it like one.