The 45th president was fairly obsessed with ratings. Given Donald Trump’s experience as a TV reality-show star, that is not terribly surprising.
Between Feb. 20, 2020, and Dec. 6, 2020, Trump tweeted 44 times about TV ratings, according to Fast Company, or four times more often than about wearing a mask during that same span.
Trump also quote-tweeted this from The New York Times on Mar. 29, 2020, a time when the country was shut down and when confusion and fear about the novel coronavirus dominated the minds of many Americans: “President TrumpDonald TrumpHow the United States can pass Civics 101 Elon Musk asks Twitter for skit ideas ahead of ‘Saturday Night Live’ appearance States now flush with cash after depths of pandemic MORE is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news … .”
Understandably, this created tremendous and deserved backlash against the president at the time, as COVID-19 cases and deaths soared. But this was simply Trump’s reflexive DNA dating back to before he was president, which carried over to after he started calling the White House home, literally on Day 1. “It was the most-watched inauguration in history, period!!” White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerOvernight Health Care: CDC director calls on Michigan to ‘close things down’ amid surge in cases | Regeneron says antibody therapy prevents COVID-19 infections The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – Biden moves vaccine eligibility by almost two weeks Easter Bunny pays surprise visit to White House briefing room MORE told reporters the day after Inauguration Day on Jan. 22, 2017, in a statement from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
In April 2019, Trump focused on ratings again to attack MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, declaring: “Morning Psycho (Joe), who helped get me elected in 2016 by having me on (free) all the time, has nosedived, too Angry Dumb and Sick. A really bad show with low ratings – and will only get worse.”
You get the point. Trump saw big ratings as a sign of big love.
Truth was (and still is) that the former “Apprentice” star and real estate mogul was a modern version of the late Howard Cosell, who in a 1970s TV Guide poll was voted as simultaneously the most liked and disliked man in America. That sums up the ratings explosion during the Trump presidency, in which a rising tide (OK, a tsunami) lifted all media boats in terms of ratings and clicks, to heights we may never see again.
So, it was no surprise to see President BidenJoe BidenFires, smoke, floods, droughts, storms, heat: America needs a climate resilience strategy Sen. Susan Collins pushes back 28 percent corporate tax rate, saying jobs would be lost Biden economic adviser frames infrastructure plan as necessary investment MORE‘s ratings fall far short of Trump’s in the viewership department after he finally gave an address to a joint session of Congress. The differential was staggering: For Trump’s 2017 address to a Joint session, 48 million people tuned in. For Biden’s address, just 27 million tuned in.
For a guy who received more votes than any other presidential candidate in U.S. history, it would seem on the surface that this would be seen internally as bad news for Team Biden.
But this seems to be exactly what they want: a stealth presidency. One that is tightly scripted in taking the protagonist off the stage while maintaining all of the power he has as a “Leader of the Free World” whose party also happens to have control of the House and Senate. Despite the promises we heard at the beginning of this administration that Biden would be the most honest, transparent president we’ve seen in modern times, the plan appears to be to avoid being the center of attention. Given how poorly this president does when speaking away from a teleprompter, it is…