The Teddy Riley of Presidents Is Using Props at His Press Conferences to Rewrite History

Illustration for article titled The Teddy Riley of Presidents Is Using Props at His Press Conferences to Rewrite History
Photo: Jim Watson (Getty Images)

On Sunday—partially because the president knows he’s losing and maybe because he has to battle Babyface—the Teddy Riley of presidents came with video footage cut and spliced to show only moments of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praising the federal government’s coronavirus response.

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Anyone who has a good set of eyes and doesn’t believe that 5G is trying to buy the Disney Channel can tell you that Gov. Cuomo has consistently been one of the leading critics to the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.

According to Business Insider, Trump’s team dimmed the lights to set the mood and then proceeded to show a clip of Cuomo saying, “What the federal government did, working with states ... was a phenomenal accomplishment.”

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A note for US President Donald Trump regarding a clip of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sits on a ledge as he speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 19, 2020.
A note for US President Donald Trump regarding a clip of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sits on a ledge as he speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 19, 2020.
Photo: Jim Watson (Getty Images)

A second clip showed Cuomo saying: “These were just extraordinary efforts and acts of mobilization, and the federal government stepped up and was a great partner, and I’m the first to say it. We needed help and they were there.”

Trump claimed that he was playing the clips to show that both sides, Democrats and Republicans can work together in a time of crisis.

“This is not about Democrats, Republicans,” he added. “This is about a thing that hit our country, the likes of which has never happened to us before.”

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Business Insider noted that later, Trump read praise from a Wall Street Journal column, because Trump is nothing if not his own hype man.

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CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond wasn’t falling for Trump’s bullshit and wanted to know why the president had chosen to highlight his phony accomplishments on the same day that the “U.S. coronavirus death toll had surpassed 40,000.”

“You’re CNN, you’re fake news,” and, “You don’t have the brains you were born with,” Trump said, because nothing beats avoiding a question like a powerful insult.

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Business Insider noted that this Trump attempt at revisionist history to act as if he was at the forefront of curbing the spread of the virus is laughable. Trump’s new push to portray Cuomo as a fan has also got folks scratching their heads.

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From Business Insider:

New York is the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak, and Cuomo is one of Trump’s most trenchant critics.

Cuomo’s press conferences have rivaled Trump’s for the news coverage they generate, and in them Cuomo has laid bare the inadequacies he sees in the federal government’s response — notably in its failure to secure equipment for front-line medics and to roll out a comprehensive testing program.

Trump has argued that New York’s healthcare system appears to have had enough beds to meet demand and therefore got everything it needed. He’s also said Cuomo should take the fall for any problems in New York’s response.

The two exchanged open barbs Friday, with Trump tweeting: “Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining’. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!”

Cuomo hit back hours later at his state briefing, saying of Trump: “If he’s sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work.”

He said that in calculating the amount of hospital space required, New York had relied on federal government figures, and in response to Trump’s demand for gratitude, said: “What am I supposed to do, send a bouquet of flowers?”

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On Monday, “Stop Airing Trump’s Briefings” was trending on Twitter thanks to New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who argued that airing Trump’s full press briefings is “irresponsible” and “lazy.”

“Let me be clear: Under no circumstance should these briefings be carried live. Everything a president does or says should be documented but airing all of it, unfiltered, is lazy and irresponsible,” Blow wrote.

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And Blow is right. These press briefings aren’t even remotely informative. They are a dog whistle for his supporters every time he berates a reporter or bashes a Democrat or praises himself for an invisible effort that never happened. However, Trump excels at one thing and one thing only: making good TV. He knows that being a villain wins and these press conferences are no more helpful to the American public than Teddy Riley’s efforts were during the battle of the uncles, which might have been the most uncle-shit that ever uncled.

It’s all reverb and echo and this guy, always this guy:

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Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

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DISCUSSION

fuckercarlson
FuckerCarlson

Trump isn’t trying to “rewrite” history in any sense. He is trying to influence the COVID narrative by presenting a pro-Trump position to the public through his daily press conferences. Like or hate Trump, his use of Twitter, rallies, tv, and other unconventional outreach strategies (like these daily briefings) have been a hugely (bigly?) successful way to circumvent traditional media gatekeepers and present an unfiltered narrative to his audience. It already is and will continued to be studied by political science researchers for decades to come.