President Donald Trump continues to face impeachment proceedings from House Democrats, no matter his endless complaints about the process. Now, The Washington Post is reporting on the president resorting to photo ops as a strategy against that impeachment process, with the apparent idea that if he makes sure that he looks like he’s truly fulfilling the responsibilities associated with the presidency, he’ll end up ahead. The problem is — the vast majority of what Trump’s actually got is these photo ops rather than substantive developments for the American people. He’s sticking to them anyway!
The Post reports:
‘[Trump] and his aides also have staged photo opportunities and public events designed to showcase the president on the job — a strategy one year out from the election to convince the American people that he is hard at work for them at the same time that Democrats are trying to remove him from office.’
Photo ops have included a tour of a manufacturing plant in Texas (which was operational before he was ever elected) and fanfare surrounding the institution of animal cruelty as a felony, although that passed both Congressional chambers easily. Trump was rather explicit in his overall intent during a recent rally speech. He told the crowd:
‘I’m working my ass off. The failed Washington establishment is trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you and because we’re winning. It’s very simple.’
Actually, it’s not. Trump and his allies like to claim that Democrats are “do-nothing,” but the Democratic majority in the House has passed hundreds of bills that Republicans have ignored.
Still, Trump’s move is a strategy similar to President Bill Clinton’s response to Republican-led impeachment proceedings while he was in office. He mustered enough popular pressure to keep impeachment from succeeding in part, some say, through the strength of the economic gains that he presided over.
In Trump’s case, former Clinton staffer Don Baer says, it’s not so simple. After all, most of the most dramatic economic boosts from the Trump administration have gone to the wealthy. They’re the ones who got the largest tax cut in his 2017 tax reform plan, for instance.
‘There’s a huge difference between photo ops that are designed to give people the impression that work is getting done and really doing the work and actually demonstrating results. The Trump White House is going to have to figure out how it begins to put real results on the table for the public in terms of things it’s doing instead of just telling people that things are getting done.’
Perhaps Trump is cognizant of how utterly emptyhanded he is when it comes to engaging with the actual substance of the case that Democrats have brought against him. The Post cites example photo-ops enveloped into a White House deflection strategy including his surprise visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving and his trip to London for the 50th anniversary NATO summit this coming week. Trump has regularly disparaged that alliance, but he’s heading out anyway, and according to U.S. officials, top priorities will be pointing to threats from China and Russia — although to say that Trump is prone to go off script would be an understatement.