Donald Trump is by some measures the most unpopular president ever to have been elected running a populist-themed campaign.
Even with the teeming dearth of overall, convincing-majority support, the people of the United States and President Trump himself have both managed somehow to survive the first 30 days of his administration.
In his defense, and like anyone else who is thrust into a leadership role for which they have no prior experience, he is learning as he goes. Problematic in this endeavor is his lack of understanding that his rate of learning can never be fast enough for Clinton supporters.
I get that and so do a lot of people on both sides of the aisle. President Trump’s ability to do so, however, is critical to the overall health of his presidency. He needs to come to grips with the notion that building (and maintaining) constructive discourse with the media not only behooves him, but is integral to the country’s best interests at large.
As he should, he has delegated much of the daily policy briefing communications (with media) to his subordinates. Sadly, their interaction with broadcast and print outlets alike, is just as embarrassing as his. Equally as disappointing is the still-fevered pitch at which President Trump can be goaded into bursts of rants on Twitter. Most conservatives can agree they’d wish he tone that down.
Utilizing a strategy of combativeness with the media inevitably yields diminishing, productive returns. The media are not entirely without fault for bad relationships with Trump administration officials; their propensity for negatively piling on needs to be checked or at least returned to a more cordial, balanced tone.
In the name of objective journalism, whatever happened to refraining from speculation, reporting just the facts and taking the high road when arriving at the fork of said road?
President Trump remains a very affluent underdog, pitching and appealing mainly to the very base that put him in the White House. And I would suggest that ordinary people love an underdog more than elites do.
It’s easy to be vocal when supporting frontrunners.
On the other hand, people who love underdogs typically do not make much noise when placing their bets, whether on their favorite sports teams or politicians.
The whole premise of the appeal of an underdog rests with the ability of these picks to sneak up on the opposition.
It could be said that Presidential candidate Trump snuck up on all of us—supporters and haters alike. But one great victory and long-term success are not both assured.
It would be sad if the continued deterioration in dialogue between the Trump administration and the media who reports the news for its readers, listeners and viewers, ultimately results in their mutual inability to be effective.
What would not be sad is if somehow things work out—like when parties and teams on opposing sides fatefully come together by way of thinking that benefits the greater good.
It’s early in the new Administration and there are (some) signs, however slight, that President Trump is lightening up on the bluster. And I never underestimate the power of the press and media’s duty to report both sides of a story.
Administrations officials, including President Trump himself, should use more discretion, restraint and diplomacy when speaking with the press. They should allow all reporters to do their jobs, too, not just the ones they pick and choose. The media in turn, should resume its focus on speculation- and agenda-free, objective and unbiased reporting. They are not credible watchdogs of government until they do.
While it may result in less “likes” for both in the short term, I am optimistic unpopularity will be short-lived, especially once both sides apply the healing salve that is respect and cooperation, towards one another.