With the firestorm following Robert Mueller’s first public remarks on the Russia probe and the growing boldness of Democratic politicians calling for his impeachment, not to mention a trade war he caused, you’d think Donald Trump would have something else on his mind other than coercing cable news networks to broadcast his commencement speech at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony on Thursday. But that was precisely what he directed them to do on Twitter, insisting that it would give them the ratings they need.
The cable news networks decided against this suggestion. Even Fox News, despite Donald Trump’s recent habit of lashing out at the network in the hope of more positive coverage, only aired three minutes of the nearly 30-minute long speech before cutting to other news. CNN and MSNBC instead chose to further discuss Trump’s behavior following Robert Mueller’s press conference.
When Donald Trump was on the campaign trail in 2016, the absurdity and outright bigotry of his rallies provided endless free exposure for him thanks to the major news networks, giving him a chance for his message to reach a wider platform of people. But that’s all changed, now that his speeches are no longer a ratings draw.
Despite Trump’s efforts to promote it, his Air Force Academy speech didn’t have anything noteworthy to say, aside from his embarrassing and repeated nonsensical claim that stealth planes are invisible. Trump knows things are only going to get uglier for him from here on out – particularly as congressional investigations begin to heat up and his own allies turn on each other.
Donald Trump is hoping that he can at least get some positive coverage to balance things out – a way he can appear statesmanlike and strong to his remaining supporters, a few of whom are probably growing tired of having to defend him all the time – but he’s out of ideas for how to get it. Either way, the novelty of Trump’s presidency has worn off, and it won’t be something he’ll have going for him in 2020.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making