Saturday, July 16, 2016

Veep Announcement Is An Embarrassment For Trump

Donald Trump is normally a master of public relations and media manipulation. But you wouldn't know that by looking at how his vice-presidential pick unfolded. It turned into a major embarrassment.

Trump wanted to keep his pick a secret until the last moment, and then surprise America with his pick on Friday morning. But with many Republicans running away from being the pick, Trump was left with only three possibilities -- Mike Pence, Chris Christie, and Newt Gingrich.

Christie and Gingrich were just names thrown about to keep suspense up, since both are as unpopular with the American public as Trump is. Pence had to be the pick, since he doesn't have the unfavorable numbers of the other two. In fact, most Americans don't know enough about him to know whether they like him or not (with a CBS/NYT Poll having him at 5% favorable and 8% unfavorable, while a Marist Poll showing him at 12% favorable and 21% unfavorable).

Picking Pence might have made Trump's nomination a bit more palatable to evangelical christians, but it did nothing to excite the huge majority of American voters -- and once they find out what Pence stands for, it's doubtful they'll be more excited. Trump just doubled down on right-wing extremism.

The mechanics of the pick were also mishandled. While Trump was on TV saying he still hadn't made a final decision, reporters took pictures of Pence arriving in New York City (and the only reason for him to be there was if he was the pick). All that did is make Trump look like a liar (which he certainly is).

Then, the day before the big announcement, a terrorist struck in Nice, France -- killing 84 people and wounding hundreds at their Bastille Day ceremonies. That pushed Trump's veep announcement off the news. Trump tried to save it by saying his announcement would be put off because of the tragedy. But that couldn't happen, because Pence had only until noon on Friday to take his name off the Indiana ballot (where he was running for re-election as governor, and Indiana law said he couldn't run for both offices at the same time).

In the end, Trump announced his vice-presidential pick on Twitter -- a weak and pathetic way to announce the pick. It was one of the most ignominious vice-presidential announcements of all time -- and had to be a huge embarrassment for the media master, Donald Trump.

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