BOSTON (CBS) – I am not in the business of giving advice to politicians. But for better or worse, I do give my opinion.
And my opinion is that President Trump is making a big mistake by trying to wall himself off from the press.
One of the reasons candidate Trump thrived during the campaign was because of his superior understanding of how the media works and how to turn it to his own ends.
I saw this on display at a Trump event in Derry, New Hampshire in the fall of 2015, during his remarkable rise to the top of the Republican pack. Trump’s aides said he would take questions for five minutes before his town hall event, but he wound up taking them for 45 minutes, easily swatting away the tough questions and turning the whole encounter into a showcase for his nightclub act and a free commercial for his political message.
It was a commanding performance, the sort of thing that helped Trump build his base.
But since winning the election, he has mostly resorted to canned interviews with sycophants, or ridiculously-staged events like Monday’s joint press conference with the Canadian prime minister, where only Trump-friendly outlets got a chance to ask a question.
This leaves the rest of the press to get their information from leakers, and for discerning news consumers, dilutes the impact of anything the president does say. And it makes Trump look afraid.
This sort of heavy-handed hide-and-go-seek was a bad look for President Obama and it’s bad for Trump as well.
Don’t believe me?
Look at his terrible poll numbers.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: