A challenge unlike any other

Politico has a ridiculous piece about Hope Hicks (which many shockingly cynical people are suggesting is based on what Hope Hicks wanted them to say).

For Hope Hicks, it marked a challenge unlike any other — trying to develop a communications strategy for the president to carry with a wartime footing in an election year. As one of the few aides Trump implicitly trusts, the former White House communications director urged the president to act as a frontman for the coronavirus crisis — a leader who could offer calming messages, critical health information and important updates on the progress of the White House’s response efforts, instead of delegating those responsibilities to health officials or the vice president.

You see what I mean. What could be sillier? “a leader who could offer calming messages, critical health information and important updates on the progress of the White House’s response efforts” – IN WHAT UNIVERSE? In what universe could Donald Trump do any of that? A generic “leader” could, sure, but we’re not talking about a generic leader, we’re talking about Donald Trump. It’s as if they were reporting that Hicks urged a rabbit to write a brief on the virus for the New England Journal of Medicine.

It’s an approach in perpetual flux, thanks largely to a mercurial president who acts on his own instincts, prefers the spotlight in the crisis and offers up rhetoric often designed more for his base than the masses in the midst of an unprecedented situation.

Which Hope Hicks already knew, and that’s a very sanitized version anyway. Trump “acts on his own instincts” which tell him to talk about himself constantly, talk over everyone else 70% of the time, make shit up, get everything wrong, shout at reporters, repeat himself, and fail to talk like an adult.

[S]he has been a key figure in encouraging Trump to be front and center at briefings and events during the coronavirus response, viewing him as the voice that could break through and capture the most attention.

So she’s been a key figure in making everything much worse than it needed to be. It’s a bad thing that Trump has made himself front and center at briefings and events during the coronavirus response, because he’s ignorant and reckless, because he bullies reporters instead of answering their questions, because he burns up the time talking about himself and about his fatuous ideas on how to deal with the virus instead of giving the time to people who know something. All of that is bad, so Hope Hicks is not admirable or impressive for encouraging him to do it.

“Look, the briefings were clearly created and designed to try to fix the president’s political health and had very little to do with public health,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary under President Barack Obama who now serves as senior counsel for Bully Pulpit Interactive Media. “Even before Thursday’s disinfectant fiasco, the level of misinformation and contradictory messaging at a moment when the country needs clarity has been jarring and dangerous.”

To put it mildly.

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