Monday, April 09, 2018


I regret to say this, but I think Trump's handlers and the Republican Party as a whole have this well in hand:
Former FBI Director James Comey is about to return to the national spotlight with the release of his memoir next week — but the White House is doing little to prepare for the onslaught, according to two officials.

These officials said it’s understood within the West Wing that laying out an advance media strategy is largely a futile exercise since President Donald Trump could blow up any prepared talking points with a single tweet.

Instead, senior aides are hoping Trump’s trip to South America and subsequent summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago will provide a distraction, as well as an opportunity for the president to appear above the fray.

The nitty-gritty of preparing talking points and rapid response is being outsourced to the Republican National Committee, which also handled much of the rebuttal when Comey testified on Capitol Hill in June.
Ari Fleischer doesn't think this is a good approach -- “This is just so red hot, the White House must respond itself, along with surrogates, but they can’t just rely on surrogates.” As for me, I think it's perfect, or at least the South America part is. The overgrown man-child will be distracted by his travels and not spend hours watching the Comey coverage on TV (fortunately for his handlers, he's never learned how to download an app other than Twitter and has no idea how to watch TV shows on his phone when he's traveling). That means he won't rage-tweet something that can advance the legal case against him and his staffers, which means the RNC (and, of course, Fox and the rest of the right-wing media) can do the smearing of Comey, a job they're much better at that Trump. Trump will probably still wake up early and fulminate on Twitter, but this way he'll be venting about other subjects -- which, because he's the president, will become instant news, thus diverting attention from Comey and his book. Win-win!

The plan breaks down around the time of the Abe summit -- does Trump's team really think the president is going to turn the flat-screen off and hunker down with some thick briefing books in preparation for Abe's arrival? Fox has a serious responsibility here: downplay Comey and use its programming to prepare the president for the meeting. I'm sure a lot of talk about Abe and the Asian-Pacific region would be bad for ratings, but hey, Rupert, your (adopted) country needs you, so do the right thing. Or maybe Fox will distract Trump with a third subject -- not Comey, not Abe. We know Trump won't absorb any necessary information before the summit in any case, and the right wants to be sure Trump is upset about something other than Comey while he's waiting for Abe to arrive. I'm sure Fox can cook up a distraction, and thus maybe limit Trump to one or two angry tweets about Comey.

I don't see the point of traditional White House messaging -- Fox basically is the White House now, so let Doocy and Pirro and Hannity do the spin. It's the modern way.



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