Is President Trump relaunching his election campaign? With polls seemingly turned against him, and a truculent media determined to spin every statement into a negative, the president’s re-election campaign to date has appeared lackluster and unfocused. But his speech in the Rose Garden on July 14, hitting all the major high notes his base expects, could signify the beginning of a fast and dirty guerrilla-style approach that seeks to sidestep the Fourth Estate entirely.
It is the world’s worst kept secret that the press has sided with Joe Biden and is willing to do almost anything to install its champion in the White House. Every statement, every sentence, and even each physical move – from drinking a glass of water to walking down a ramp – is dissected and spun to denigrate the incumbent and promote the challenger. The fact is the legacy media will give Donald Trump no breaks. With this in mind, the president opted for the scattergun approach and sent out signals to his supporters that he apparently hopes will reaffirm the support he received in 2016.
China, Biden, the World Health Organization, COVID-19, tariffs, the military, DACA, immigration, electoral fraud; this speech was more a shopping list of grievances for the American voter than an announcement of executive action. But to what end?
A Captive Audience
The press conference was ostensibly held to announce the president’s latest Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization, which, due to recent moves by China, will no longer have a special status exempt from that of the mainland. It certainly covered that area, but the majority of the event played out more like a campaign rally than a press conference.
Once it became clear that this would be no ordinary speech, it was too late to retreat. The press was locked in and forced to provide coverage on a range of issues that Trump sees as key to shoring up the votes in November. There is no doubt that biased fact-checkers will be earning their money as they are brought in to dissect the president’s words, but the damage is done. Trump’s base has received his message loud and clear, while opponents now have to deal with him on multiple fronts.
The press was, of course, not fooled. In the view of more than one so-called journalist, they had been dragged along under pretense to cover Trump’s campaign platform. CNN’s Jim Acosta blustered angrily on Twitter:
“Trump soiled the WH Rose Garden with that performance. Presidents do not use the Rose Garden in that kind of naked political fashion. That was not a press conference, as the WH described it. It was a campaign rally disguised as a press conference. It was a bait and switch.”
A bait and switch, indeed. Acosta, much like a broken clock, is correct. President Trump lured the media to the Rose Garden and forced them to cover all of the issues they have been willfully ignoring; he made it impossible for them not to report on his campaign platform and his plans for America after November. In fact, to deliver exactly what the press has been giving Joe Biden since day one.
Is the media anger understandable? Or are members of the press petulantly enraged because they were forced to actually do their jobs by delivering Trump’s unvarnished words to the American public?
Read more from Mark Angelides.