For the past several weeks Donald Trump has cast himself as the star of his latest reality TV show, “The Coronavirus Task Force” (aka “The Trump 2020 Reelection Campaign Infomercial“). He has shamelessly exploited the public health crisis by hijacking these briefings to make himself the center of attention and advance his own political objectives.
Trump’s voracious ego compelled him to take center stage for these pseudo-informational events because he was convinced that his magnetic presence would be impossible to resist. Unfortunately for him, his impression of his own charisma was a figment of his acutely narcissistic imagination. As the briefings played on (and on and on and on), it became clear that Trump wasn’t doing himself any favors. He was also hurting his fellow Republicans and even the reputations of the experts on the task force. Polling on both Trump’s job approval and his handling of the coronavirus have declined sharply. What’s more, surveys showed that he was losing the presidential election to Joe Biden nationally and in key swing states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Consequently, Trump’s advisors sought frantically to persuade him that he needs to fire himself as the COVID-19 spokesmodel. and it appears that they have finally gotten through. Axios is reporting that…
“A number of Trump’s most trusted advisers – both inside and outside the White House – have urged him to stop doing marathon televised briefings. They’ve told him he’s overexposed and these appearances are part of the reason polls aren’t looking good for him right now against Joe Biden. ‘I told him it’s not helping him,’ said one adviser to the president. ‘Seniors are scared. And the spectacle of him fighting with the press isn’t what people want to see.’ But Trump has defended the practice, telling critics that the briefings get good ratings.”
Indeed, Trump has been fiercely fixated on the ratings for the televised briefings. He has the shallow view that high ratings are reflective of his popularity. They aren’t. Many people tune in to get information from experts like Dr. Fauci. Still more watch to see what bizarre nonsense Trump will disgorge next. And on that front at least, Trump doesn’t disappoint.
It’s difficult to imagine that anyone finds Trump’s hysterics at these briefings appealing. He spends the bulk of his time lying about imaginary achievements, lavishing praise on himself, and yelling petulantly at reporters. His behavior is so outlandish that even many of his allies are repulsed. In addition to prescribing potentially fatal “cures” like injecting bleach, Trump passes off fiction as fact, such as his claim that the United States has done more virus testing than all major countries combined (Fact check: U.S. tests = 5 million, other countries = 20 million).
It’s no secret to those paying attention that Trump has been using the briefings to replace his cult rallies that can no longer be held. Not being able to soak up the adoration of his glassy-eyed disciples has put Trump in a funk. The briefings have allowed him to unload his spiel while lashing out at the press that for some reason still thinks they need to cover his mania as if it’s newsworthy. But lately he’s been frustrated by not being able to coherently respond to questions challenging his mounting failures. And Trump shut down Friday’s briefing in less than thirty minutes without taking a single question.
If Trump does retreat from the briefing podium he is surely going to find something else to satisfy his starving ego. He may visit factories that are making medical supplies and take credit for their productivity. He could show up at businesses that are prematurely reopening, putting the lives of their employees and customers at risk. He’ll surely be a more frequent guest on Fox News. Or he’ll do what was just announced on Friday: deliver a commencement speech at West Point which will require cadets, who had been sent home, to return to New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus, in order witness another Trumpian display of propaganda and rancor.
At this point Trump is running on the fumes of his fear. He is afraid to answer questions that aren’t posed by Trump-fluffers on Fox News. He is afraid of his polling declining even further. He is afraid of losing the election in November. Sadly, he isn’t afraid of making fatally misguided decisions that are putting the lives of more Americans at risk. But getting off of the the TV every day can only benefit the nation. Ironically, it will also benefit Trump, but he’s too stupid to realize it. As a result, he’ll somehow screw up whatever personal benefit he might have otherwise enjoyed. Which is more good news for America.
UPDATE: Trump tweeted about this and, typically, whined about the press being mean to him, displayed his ignorance of ratings, and proved that he can’t handle honest criticism so he calls it fake in an impotent effort to dismiss it. Can he be any more pathetic?
What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2020
Trump saying that “the American people are getting nothing but Fake News” during an event where he is the dominant speaker is quite a confession. Notice also that Trump is only complaining about his role in the briefings. None of the other participants, the doctors, scientists, public health administrators, even Mike Pence, are complaining in this pitiful manner. But it sounds like Trump is planning to not only bow out of the the briefings, but eliminate them altogether. We’ll see.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.