Memo to president-elect Trump
Dear Mr. President-elect,
Everyone else is giving you advice, so why can’t we? (Then again, the last time you asked for our advice, we told you over lunch that winning was not in the cards, so you might be hitting the delete button before this sentence is complete. But here it comes. Five thoughts.
1. Relax. This campaign’s over. It was brutal, with haymakers start to finish (and yes, we’ll say it: a few sucker punches, too). But it’s over; you won against all odds. And what odds they were. The entire establishment was arrayed against you and did everything to vilify you. It was the establishment Republican Party. You were a direct threat to their fiefdoms, so they tried to destroy you. When they failed, most headed for the tall grass rather than to support you — now, of course, while they were with you all along. Let ’em squirm.
Establishment Democrats? Even better. When the swamp is drained, they’re headed down the commode with the rest of the sewage, and they know it. Enjoy the scene. It will be something out of “Night of the Living Dead,” except in this case the zombies that have been feasting on America will be headed over a cliff. Hollywood? Academia? They won’t be able to build safe spaces fast enough for this crowd. In fact, they’ll probably come to you for infrastructure funding. Resist. Suggest they work out their aggressions with therapeutic wall-building.
2. Laugh. Nothing infuriates the left more than to see someone who not only is not intimidated by them but also bursts out laughing at them when attacked. (See Rush Limbaugh.) Watch your popularity soar. It won’t be just that supposedly “angry” base that will chuckle along. This will transcend your base. Your political enemies in Washington will attack you viciously and personally. Don’t take the bait. Go Reagan and laugh. You will bring millions to your side. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, especially when my friend is ridiculing my enemy.
3. Pick and choose your TV spots. President Obama could safely navigate TV at will because the entertainment industry unanimously slobbered over him, unlike any president in modern history. That ain’t gonna happen with you. The Stephen Colberts and Bill Mahers despise you and will low-blow you at every opportunity. Refuse their invitations for appearances. More importantly, demand that no one in your administration give these leftists the time of day.
That said, there are those in that industry who will poke fun at you without the ugly edge — Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, etc. You’ve shown a thick skin with them. Keep it up. Take a page from President George H. W. Bush. No one laughed harder at Dana Carvey’s devastating impersonation of him — and that was at the White House with Carvey as his guest.
4. Stop tweeting! @realDonaldTrump #itisgettingreallyold. You were right to say that tweeting is a terrific way to communicate directly with the American people. You showed your marketing brilliance by employing this weapon before anyone. It worked beautifully for you. But enough. You’re the president-elect now. It’s so beneath the office! It’s sad! The public expects leadership and gravitas. It could be embarrassing! You don’t need to use this medium. It’s unnecessary! When you need to say something formally, let your staff release a statement. Want to personalize that statement? Conduct an interview. You’ll never disappoint.
5. Pay attention to the experts — not. The editors at The New York Times and the Washington Post have serious thoughts on the direction your administration should take. There are profound ideas coming from seasoned political observers at PBS and NPR. I know it doesn’t appear this way, but the anchors (and producers and reporters and executives) at NBC, ABC and CBS do want to help. By all means, have them in for a chat. Hear them out. Then laugh out loud while you throw them out. Watch as they pull out their cellphones on the sidewalk to furiously tweet their feelings to the world:
“@realDonaldTrump hurt our feelings! #needasafespace! #whereismygriefcounselor? Sad!”
Bozell is the president of the Media Research Center. Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.