From: Politico

Trump Turns a Crisis Into His New Nightly TV Show

To anybody suddenly tuning into the president’s news conference this Monday evening, it might have seemed like the leader of the free world was channeling an off-hours televangelist, taking advantage of a pandemic to offera hazy tale of a miraculous cure.

“… a gentleman,” Donald Trump intoned from inside the White House, invoking anantimalarial remedy calledhydroxychloroquine, “they thought he was not going to make it. He said goodbye to his family. They had given him the drug just a little while before, but he thought it was over. His family thought he was going to die. And a number of hours later, he woke up, felt good. Then he woke up again, and he felt really good. And he’s in good shape. And he’s very happy.” The drug, if it works on Covid-19, would be, he said, “a gift from God.”

Stripped of the weapon of his rallies, of “chopper talk,” of the sorts of set pieces to which the populace had grown accustomed over the three-plus years he’s been commander in chief, Trump as a president in crisis has engineered something different.While governors from New York to California have staged almost daily briefings, offering a traditional mixture of stern warnings and words of comfort, Trump has created something more like a show built on narrative surprises and populated with familiar characters—the good doctors, the bad reporters, the loyal lieutenants. And in the middle of it all, playing the role of the ringmaster, the marketer and the brander, and the self-professed expert, is Trump.

But the program he now has constructed out of the news briefings has drawn an audience far beyond even what he found with his invariably provocative tweets or his rallies packed with MAGA-capped fans. The enormity of a worldwide plague has galvanized the attention of the entire nation, every corner of which has been touched by the spreading disease. For the public, a portion of which had tuned out or become numb, these briefings have amounted to a reintroduction of sorts to the man who is their president—“the most present human being I ever met,” as a Trump associate told biographer Wayne Barrett some three decades back, “the episodic man,” as psychologist Dan P. McAdams writes in a book out just last week.

“What he’s doing in these briefings is not that different than what he’s ever done,” McAdams said in an interview. “The difference now is that we are in a unique historical period … and so everything that the president does in a situation like this gets magnified”—the airy, unfounded assurances, the casual advocacy of untested potential treatments based on “just a feeling,” the intensely personal sparring with Peter Alexander from NBC, his snide comment about the self-quarantining Mitt Romney. It all might kind of feel more or less like typical Trump shtick—if not for the relentlessly grim stakes. Whatnext?

Read the whole story: Politico

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