Similarities between the Trump and Nixon administrations abound. A key element in the downfall of Nixon was The Plumbers incident. Trump’s administration is plagued by the steady drip, drip, drip of information whose genesis is mainly leaks. I can’t resist the play on words. Let’s explore.
Perhaps the most significant element of Trump’s rise was his ability to control news cycle after news cycle during the primary process. He received more free media coverage than all other candidates combined because his news “sold”. The majority of our media is for-profit; they need readers, viewers, listeners, clicks or some or all of the preceding to survive. Trump’s outrageousness, ignorance and antics “sold”. Why would you pay attention to a Christian oriented message from Mike Huckabee or a policy speech from a wonkish Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton when you had talk of rapists from Trump? What headline grabs more readers: Father Takes Daughter to Church or Father Comments on Young Daughter’s Potential Breasts? Sadly I contend the latter wins in a landslide and so did the people who decided what stories got airtime, ink and space.
Today Trump would like the news coverage to be about how great he is and how much his administration is achieving. Unfortunately for him he is far from great and most of the media requires that achievements be positive – Trump fails badly when measured by that standard. He can manufacture diversionary stories but even that is becoming less effective.
Friday he installed Anthony Scaramucci as White House Director of Communications. If nothing else I’m sure the timing was intended to “buy” the weekend’s news cycle for what Trump viewed as diversionary if not positive news. Sean Spicer’s resignation dropped some cold water on that plan. Spicer cooperated as much as possible and did not leave with bad words or the beginning of a tell all. Before the day was out other news negative to Trump emerged to compete with the Scaramucci naming to at least to the point of partially burying it.
Having brought up the personnel change at the White House Communications shop I have to briefly comment on it. I am no fan of Sean Spicer, but he was given an impossible task. Trump was inaugurated on Friday afternoon January 20th and on Saturday the 21st Spicer was ordered to convene a meeting of the White House Press Corp, tell them an easily demonstrable lie to sooth Trump’s ego and then retreat from the briefing room without taking a single question. It didn’t get much better from there for Sean. Scaramucci is a more polished, (some might contend slicker) version of Spicer who already appears equally out of the loop and will just be a conveyor of Trump’s lies. The messenger wasn’t the problem; Trump’s message remains the problem. Scaramucci’s appointment is, (to borrow a classic line), like putting lipstick on a pig. He is easier on the eyes for the ladies, but no easier on the ears and brains of all those who are capable of critical thinking regardless of gender or sexual preference.
The way for Trump to stop the dripping is to come clean. The first step would be to release his tax returns. I am confident that isn’t going to happen because Trump knows what they would reveal is much worse than the “drips”.
The Plumbers brought Nixon down; the lack of one is making life miserable for Trump. Trump doesn’t need to consult Angie’s List for a local plumber; he can fix the faucet himself. Compared to the deluge that would follow I think he’ll live with the dripping.
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