After making it a habit to appear on at least one Sunday talk show every week since he started his campaign, Republican Presidential candidate and rancid jar of marmalade Donald Trump has resorted to a new strategy recently. Following up a number of embarrassing gaffes and unforced errors during interviews and town hall forums, Trump last week decided to skip the Sunday shows, marking the first time in five months he didn’t make an appearance.
Well, this Sunday, the celebrity billionaire once again was absent from the guest lineups. It is no secret that the Trump camp is trying to restructure its team in the wake of Trump’s missteps and the campaign’s amateurish handling of the logistics of the GOP primary process. Trump has hired Paul Manafort to be the official convention manager and Rick Wiley to be the national political director. Meanwhile, embattled campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been pushed to the back of the bus.
As Manafort and Wiley take over, they want to treat this like a legit presidential campaign, and not just Trump getting a bunch of yes men to tell him how brilliant every move he makes is. With that in mind, they realize that the more Trump appears in front of the camera, the more likely it is that he’ll say something infinitely stupid that will only exasperate his already unprecedented negative ratings with American voters. They need to control the narrative, and to do that, they need to keep the former reality TV star from saying yes to every interview request.
This was discussed in detail on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday morning. Host Brian Stelter talked about Trump paring this down with a panel that included Frank Sesno and NPR’s Michael Oreskes. In Sesno’s opinion, there were three acts in the Trump saga of news interviews. First, he was a curiosity, with producers wanting to book him because he’d say anything. Next, he was the insurgent who was taking the GOP by storm, and thus was the main story.
Now, however, reporters see that he is both the Republican frontrunner and someone who has almost no knowledge about any important subject or topic. Therefore, they smell blood and will corner him any chance they get, forcing him into uncomfortable situations where he’ll blurt out cringeworthy responses that will then lead to days of damage control. Instead, they’d prefer to lay low and just go on ‘friendly’ turf, like Hannity or Greta.
At the same time, the Trump team is making sure to keep their man’s message in the ether. With Trump sitting back and doing less mainstream media facetime, members of the campaign and other surrogates are becoming more prevalent. Manafort made an appearance on ABC’s This Week. Lewandowski showed up on Fox News Sunday. (Of course, that was more about the Michelle Field’s incident than anything else.)
And, finally, there could also be the networks being less and less willing to take phone calls from Trump. Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday have both publicly declared that they won’t allow a call-in from the candidate. CBS seems to have set their foot down as a network as well. With fewer options to do phoners, it could also make Trump’s decision easier regarding the Sunday shows.