The Many Mouthpieces Of Donald Trump
A four-headed hydra of inconsistent disinformation
Co-written with Tai Ragan
Donald Trump has always enjoyed a love-hate relationship with the press that produced a combination of infamy and notoriety. This signature blend helped him succeed in the past but has become a liability during his presidency. President Trump is not alone in the White House slinging his unique brand of petty and brash statements, he now has an entire staff ready and able to support him in his rants (not the good kind like ours) and rages. Here they are:
Kellyanne Conway: The Hired Gun
While other mouthpieces for the Trump administration have their talents and personal style, none can match Kellyanne Conway in sheer brazen creation of fairy tales and storytelling ability. Nothing sums up or personifies Kellyanne better than what has become her contribution to modern culture, the phrase “alternative facts.” Coined merely two days after President Trump took office, the phrase arose during Ms. Conway’s defense of Press Secretary Spicer’s insistence that President Trump’s inaugural crowds were attended by the “largest audience ever.” The ‘alternative’ part echoes the anti-establishment rhetoric Ms. Conway has always pushed.
The ‘facts’ part is what makes Ms. Conway so dangerous. She rose to prominence in the Trump campaign on ‘alternative facts’ as a pollster who suggested, when the establishment did not, that taking a harder line on immigration would be the winning strategy in 2016. Ms. Conway, like all good liars, begins her stories on nuggets of truth before building upon them with what has charitably been described as “verbal fog.” While Ms. Conway has receded in prominence since the campaign and early days of the administration she most likely is not going anywhere because more so than any other mouthpiece Ms. Conway has that special ability so desperately needed in the Trump administration.
“She’s able to sit there with a straight face and say, over and over, ‘No, the sky has never, ever been blue, and it’s true because we won,’” says Rick Wilson, the anti-Trump consultant. “She’s going to have to, at some point, reckon with the moral compromises it takes to do the things she’s doing.”
Sean Spicer: The Republican Establishment
If Kellyanne Conway is the face of President Trump’s “deplorable” base and Huckabee-Sanders is the ever faithful “Forever Trumper” then Sean Spicer is the compromised and morally bankrupt traditional center-right conservative core of the Republican party. Spicer, like Reince Priebus, came up through the Republican party ranks working for Bush (43) and the RNC. At the end of the day, Sean Spicer is a party guy through and through. Every time Sean Spicer speaks he cannot but remind his audience of the daily contortions the Republican party establishment endures to stay in lockstep with President Trump and keep the Red Empire alive.
Spicer began his tenure as press secretary on the wrong foot by going into the briefing room and combatively lying to the press, insisting that President Trump’s inauguration was attended by the Largest. Crowd. Ever. Spicer continued to take this tone in his briefings prompting Saturday Night Live into the creation of its now infamous skit where Melissa McCarthy played him and proceeded to physically assault reporter with her “bully pulpit.” Surprisingly, the constant lying, aggressive behavior towards reporters, pictures of him as the White House Easter Bunny, nor his boss constantly contradicting him are the low point of Spicer’s tenure, that came one night during the communications fiasco that was the firing of James Comey. That night Spicer actually physically hid in the bushes to avoid taking questions from reporters. A move that was quickly immortalized by the internet:
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: The Blind Follower
Trump’s most recent mouthpiece may be the one most similar to him, most loyal, and therefore the most aggravating. Like Trump, Huckabee Sanders inherited her position of power from her daddy. After working on Mike Huckabee’s campaigns, she was tapped by Trump to be Deputy Press Secretary. After Spicer’s failures, she has begun to take over press briefing duties and has arguably succeeded in being that much more irritating to them.
This is due to the unencumbered ease with which she defends Trumpian nonsense. Spicer’s visible frustrations with defending his boss at least provided much needed comic relief. Huckabee Sanders has no internal qualms; she spews the party line with a discipline more befitting the press secretary from North Korea. She attempts no nuance, no alternative viewpoint. Instead, she repeats, reiterates, and regurgitates any Trump talking point with the unquestioning loyalty Ron Burgundy gives to a teleprompter. She doesn’t stick to Trump’s talking points as much as cling to them, seemingly incapable of ideas of her own. After all, we’ve seen what an original thought of hers looks like:
When reporters dare question the wisdom or morality of the Supreme Leader Donald Trump, Huckabee Sanders uses only one method of defense, time tested throughout the years on schoolyards the world over: “I know you are, but what am I?!” Here is Sanders defending Trump from the media:
And here’s her defending Trump’s tweets about Mika Brzezinski:
Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responds to outrage over Trump's tweets attacking Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. https://t.co/xHqu2UONez
To sum up: Trump has never done anything wrong, he is the victim. He doesn’t incite violence or insult or lie. You do that, you meanie media cucks!
What makes Huckabee Sanders most irritating is that, unlike the bullshitting of Spicer and Conway, she genuinely seems to believe what she is saying. She is not just handing out the Kool-Aid, but chugging it down herself.
@realDonaldTrump: The Unhinged
While Sean Spicer may be press secretary and on and off White House communications director, he is constantly undermined by the one voice on the White House communications staff he has no control over: @realDonaldTrump, the President’s personal Twitter account.
President Trump prefers to take a martyred/long-suffering tone in the speeches he gives live, constantly citing how unfair, persecuted, and mistreated his administration. On Twitter, however, he continues these trends but also throws in more aggressive and bullying tactics. Wherever you land on the opinion whether Donald Trump is presidential, his Twitter is not. While some of his tweets may be filtered through staff members, they give off the appearance of being emotionally charged reactions to events by President Trump. With his Twitter he has intimidated witnesses testifying against him, personally attacked reports and incited violence against them, undercut and contradicted his staff, attempted to engage in Twitter diplomacy, and attempted to damage and influence stock prices to pressure those companies into caving to his demands. President Trump’s use of Twitter has led to suggestions of being mentally unhinged and recently to calls for the invocation of the 25th amendment.
We all have had that boss who needs to never be let near a keyboard or microphone and has no sense when it comes to talking with the greater public and the White House is apparently no different. Time and again President Trump disgraces himself and the office with his Twitter account. It has become a common mantra of Republicans to say “I do wish he would stop tweeting so we could get down to the business of _____” or “I really wish he would stop tweeting, it’s embarrassing.” At Rantt we wish he would stop being president, but that’s just us.
Part of communicating is creating a coherent and effective narrative and with @realDonaldTrump as an uncontrollable part of the White House communications team, this will never happen. For those of you who stand in opposition to this administration, rest assured that this incompetence at communicating appears to be systemic and will continue to plague the Trump administration for the foreseeable future. Case and point:
FraudNewsCNN #FNN https://t.co/WYUnHjjUjg
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