Donald Trump - The First Media President.
So, the big deal about Trump this week is that he is going to launch a new media platform that will combine social media with entertainment, political news and, what Grandpa would call ‘nuch besser’ (read: what else is new?) video appearances and rants by Trump himself.
And how is the fake news media reacting to all this? By devoting more than 3,000 words in The (failing) New York Times on a story about how the way money is being raised for this venture could run afoul of SEC rules. Big deal.
I just hope that this attempt by Trump to get himself back in front of the media world doesn’t prevent him from trying another Presidential campaign in 2024. Because I can’t think of any other way that would do more to wreck the Republican Party permanently than having Trump at the top of the ticket again.
But leaving that issue aside for the moment, let’s look at what this new media venture really means. So far, all we know is that the company will be called “Truth Social,’ But I have to believe that if this deal gets off the ground, that Trump’s name will be in there too. Because this is a guy who only thinks in terms of how many bucks he can earn by attaching his name to something he can sell – apartments, steaks, ties, social media. What’s the difference, where you put your name as long as it sells, right?
Early on during the 2016 campaign, Trump told a reporter that he was just beginning to understand how much money he could make by running a Presidential campaign. Or maybe he should have substituted the word’ starring’ for the word ‘running’ in talking about political campaigns.
Because when you stop and think about it, Trump did nothing for four years in the White House except promote himself every day. He tweeted endlessly, he did photo ops with groups he created like Bikers for Trump, he gave long-winded answers to non-questions that came from TV and AM interviewers (Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh) who then promoted him and his brand to the al-right.
There was nothing spontaneous about any of this media activity. In fact, it turned out that even those walks across the South Lawn were actually taped in a studio inside the White House with some unseen person yelling a question at Trump as if the entire White House press corps were watching him walk by.
Trump might have gotten away with a completely media-manufactured Presidency except his make-believe management style got torpedoed by Covid-19. You can brag about building a wall to protect us from the Southern hordes, you can say you have a ‘great relationship’ with Kim Il Jung, you can even find some ‘good guys’ who paraded down the main street in Charlottesville chanting ‘”Jews will not replace us”
But what you can’t do, no matter how much you use media to promote fantasies about the real state of things, is to somehow explain away a virus that is killing thousands of people every day because you won’t mandate masks.
Stop and think about it for a second and you’ll realize that the Pandemic was the first time in his entire Administration that Trump actually had to make some decisions about how to manage the Executive Branch. Except that Trump didn’t run for President because he wanted to make America great again, no matter what he said.
I believe that Trump was the very first President who came to the office without the slightest interest in public affairs. To the contrary, he viewed the Presidency the same way that he viewed putting up a condo hi-rise with his name on it or getting an exclusive marketing agreement for his daughter’s jewelry fast-tracked the Chinese.
Maybe Trump understands something about politics that the rest of us don’t understand. Maybe his unabashed enthusiasm for making a buck is what really keeps his so-called ‘base’ in line. Because when all is said and done, is there anyone out there besides all those sanctimonious, self-assured liberals who doesn’t want to make a buck?
Just remember, particularly if you live in Virginia, or just happen by coincidence to be driving through that state next week - Vote Early, Vote Often.