There was a time when presidential candidates would go on vacation while the other party held its convention.
That tradition has faded, but Donald Trump took things to a new level today, holding forth at a 75-minute news conference to break into the coverage of the Democratic convention. And the three cable news networks carried it live.
Over the previous two days, Trump did interviews with Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and the Hollywood Reporter.
Skeptics might say the media cannot break their Trump addiction. But it’s really about providing a sliver of equal time.
Had Hillary Clinton held a presser during the Cleveland convention, I’m sure the cable channels would have taken it. In fact, Trump took a swipe at her by saying she has gone 235 days without facing the press in that format.
The usual reason for laying low is that a candidate’s message would get drowned out by the huge megaphone afforded the rival convention. But Trump has his own megaphone, including Twitter, and of course the media are always happy to amplify all things Trumpian.
During his appearance in Doral, Fla., Trump said, in no particular order:
Barack Obama is the most ignorant president in our history.
It would be nice if Russian hackers could find Hillary’s 33,000 deleted emails. (That seemed sarcastic.)
He just got a bump in the polls.
John Hinckley should not be released.
Hillary is flipping on the Pacific trade pact because of him.
The police can handle 100,000 cases right, but one bad case will get enormous coverage.
His son Don Jr. won’t run for New York mayor.
The Baltimore prosecutor in the Freddie Gray case is a disgrace and should prosecute herself.
Huma Abedin should not be receiving classified briefings because she might share the information with her husband Anthony Weiner, a “sleazeball” and “pervert.”
Love him or hate him, the man makes news. And he took just about every question in the room.
He can push things too far or be all over the map—Anthony Weiner, really?—but he grabs attention. And that is part of a candidate’s mission. And that’s why the outside media attention Trump receives is not a gift, but something he earns through endless availability.
Will Hillary Clinton be forced to take up the challenge and actually meet the press?