The ever-present president reflects a new media strategy, driven by the president’s natural impulses.“Go run the country,” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy told President Donald Trump, wrapping up a 47-minute phone interview with the leader of the free world, which ended with Trump wishing a happy birthday to co-host Ainsley Earhardt’s father.
They had, it seemed, run out of new ground to cover.
After all, it had been only a few hours since Fox News viewers heard from the president, who had also called in for an 11 p.m. interview with Fox News host Shannon Bream Wednesday night.
And Trump didn’t exactly go dark before his late-night caller, or disappear from view after his morning chat. On Thursday night, he spoke to supporters at a “MAGA” rally in Erie, Pennsylvania. After his Fox & Friends interview, he addressed reporters in the Oval Office, noting, among other things, that he has no plans to fire his chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, despite his comments criticizing the decision to hike interest rates.
All of this occurred before his meeting with Kanye West, who told the president in a ten-minute Oval Office soliloquy that Trump “is on his hero’s journey right now” and that “he might not have thought he’d have a crazy mother-fucker like [me]” supporting him.
Earlier in the week, Trump gave an extended interview in the Oval Office to New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi, who described her surreal experience as a “private press conference,” during which the levers of the government seemed to pause as Trump, the vice president and his secretary of state, among others, gathered to convince her that there was nothing wrong with Trump’s relationship with his chief of staff.
Already lost in the shuffle was Trump’s surprise Q&A he staged with his departing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday, where both took questions from the press to again, assure the public that there was nothing to see here except bonhomie.
Trump has never been one to cede the spotlight, but this week more than ever, the president appears to be virtually unavoidable for comment, spending most of his working hours either speaking in front of, or taking questions from, the press.
The ever-present president is part of a new media strategy, current and former White House officials said, driven by the president’s natural impulses, that the communications department has sought to institute for months. It is part of a move away from the set pieces of the daily briefing, which takes staff hours to prepare for and which Trump has never liked, the formal presidential press conference, and the stiff, sit down interviews on a straight news program like 60 Minutes — all tools that previous presidents have relied on to get their message out to supporters and detractors alike.