President Trump does a lot of crazy stuff. He says a lot of outrageous things. He gives his adversaries an infinite supply of fodder to use against him. But even with that in mind, Trump’s latest activity has me scratching my head. It was his interview with Phil Rucker and Carol Leonnig – both from the Washington Post — for their recently released book, “I Alone Can Fix It.”
Rucker and Leonnig are among the most emphatic anti-Trump journalists – frequently appearing on the CNN/MSNBC circuit to ravage Trump, Republican officials and the millions of Republican voters who they see as evil insurrectionists, racist and homophobic cultists. They elevate political mendacity and viciousness to new heights — and journalism integrity to a new low.
As an avid follower of the news media, surely Trump must have known of these two characters. Their book was conceived to be another reporter-penned tome trashing Trump and the GOP. That was the plan from the get-go.
For reasons I cannot understand, Trump decided to give them a private interview. It was scheduled for one hour – but Trump let it roll on for two hours and 45 minutes.
One might assume that Trump may have thought that this interview would be an opportunity to tell his side of things – to push back on the incessant run of negative reporting. If he did, he was not thinking clearly. Rucker and Leonnig were there to get more grist for their anti-Trump mill. And he obliged.
There are two criticisms regarding Trump that I have leveled in various past commentaries. One that he is not a good or persuasive messenger. He can rally the converted, but he does not recruit new people to his side. And two, he does not understand the importance of protecting his credibility. The Rucker/Leonnig interview exposed both of these shortcomings.
Trump gave them more than enough material to slam him in the new book – and to be spread across the leftwing media platforms. He even consented to having the interview tape recorded, enabling bits of it to be strategically leaked – so that audiences could hear Trump’s maladroit statements for themselves. Even if you assume that the recorded tidbits were taken out of context – and that is a safe bet – his comments were still very self-damaging.
The problem with Trump’s personality flaws is that they are used to smear the Republican brand with a broad brush. According to the left, Trump is insane, evil and dangerous – and by extension anyone who has anything positive to say about the man or any of his policies and accomplishment is, by extension, insane, evil and dangerous. The overarching purpose of this one-sided propaganda narrative is to discourage people from voting for ANY Republican in 2022. It is all about control of the House and Senate.
There was no beneficial reason for Trump to have consented to the interview. He should have known that the book would only lead to another run of negative media news for him and the GOP. Why he did not recognize the exposed trap is beyond any logical explanation.
So, there ‘tis.