Did you watch “the press conference”? Did you ask yourself how Donald Trump manages to get away with it? Were you asking yourself why other Republican politicians don’t deal with the press the way Donald Trump does? Did you hear the furor from the media and the D.C. establishment of both parties — “Harumphff! You just don’t treat the press that way, harumphff…”
I’ve been in the D.C. communications business for over 20 years. I’ve worked for and advised some of the highest-profile politicians on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch. I’ve never been so impressed with a politician as I have been with Donald Trump. Since he announced he was running back in June 2015, he has been teaching a master class in how to communicate with the American people in the 21st century. Most importantly, he understands that Democrats and their mainstream media allies wrote the rules on how Republicans are supposed to deal with the media and that the purpose of those rules is to destroy conservative Republicans and elect liberal Democrats. He’s having none of it.
The genius of Donald Trump is that he ignores their rules. He clearly doesn’t do political suicide. He doesn’t assume that the press is even attempting to be fair to him. So he doesn’t validate their credibility by trying to win them over as so many Republican politicians have tried in the past only to fail and wind up on the political carcass heap. Trump seems to understand he has no obligation to kowtow to the D.C. establishment media out of fear they’ll make trouble for his presidency. He knows they don’t accept the results of the election and are going to do everything they can to delegitimize his authority. Thus to CNN, “No, I’m not going to give you a question. You’re fake news.” If the establishment has a temper tantrum, so be it. Trump is the walking embodiment of what we say in the infantry when faced with discomfort: “Suck it up and drive on, soldier.”
He also seems to understand that certain quarters of the intelligence community are driven by a leftist ideological fervor and are working with the establishment media to undermine his presidency. How refreshing it was to watch soon-to-be-President Trump take them all to the woodshed. This latest farce with BuzzFeed and CNN was purposefully given legitimacy by the IC in order to hurt Trump prior to his inauguration and give the Democrats some ammunition to fire at his Cabinet nominees during their confirmation hearings. Real reporters don’t move forward with crazy, unsubstantiated stories unless someone in an official capacity lends credence to the stories. CNN was a willing accomplice, which is not surprising. What is surprising is that the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets walked away from their sources in the IC who were peddling this total, utter crap. Perhaps they are starting to realize that they can’t cow this president. Perhaps they are taking note of the reasons Donald Trump won and that those reasons are directly related to their increasing financial struggles.
From what I’ve seen so far, my friend and soon to be White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got the memo and, true to his professionalism, has been boldly going where few press secretaries have dared to go before. He isn’t taking any crap. He isn’t bending the knee in obeisance to the MSM. He is cheerfully, almost gleefully, doing his job with a level of freedom to speak seldom witnessed for a political spokesman. The source of his élan is that he knows he has the full faith and confidence of the President of the United States whose authority under the Constitution derives from the ultimate boss — we the people. That’s liberating. I hope that this attitude infects his Cabinet and congressional Republicans.
The national press corps is quickly learning that things are going to be different going forward. The mutual lovefest that most of them had with the Obama White House and the Clinton campaign (as detailed in the various leaks during the campaign) is over. Now, while that’s always the case when a Republican president takes office, this incoming president has turned the dynamic on its head. Donald Trump and his people are not fighting the battle on the establishment’s battlefield. There’s no underlying assumption that the press corps is automatically worthy of respect, that they need to be won over, or that the media hierarchy (the NY Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN) should be treated with any deference.
So, a word of unsolicited advice to the good people who will serve in the Trump administration from someone who has been in the thick of it for a long time: Learn from your Boss. Suck it up, and drive on — and don’t take any crap from the establishment media. MAGA.