Donald Trump warned his social media followers that a Joe Biden presidency could mean “no ratings,” and asked: “Is this what you want for your President???”
Trump, in a familiar Monday morning Twitter tear, quote-tweeted a video of Biden shared by White House social media aide Dan Scavino. If Biden wins in November, Trump added, “media will go down along with our great USA!”
The Trump administration’s unending drama of crises, scandals, leaks and attacks on Democratic institutions over the last three and a half years have driven a surge in news audiences, almost certainly ensuring that the next president’s TV ratings will decrease.
Trump dominates the news with now-familiar storylines: his weak grasp on the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to records in daily infections; his disregard for his own government’s social distancing guidelines with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was “likely” responsible for a surge in coronavirus cases; his failure to respond to intelligence reports that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban for killing US troops.
Trump also has won a central place in coverage of the protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, which prompted a movement against racial inequality and police brutality. The president responded by condemning protesters, trying to shift the conversation to Confederate statues and rushing to Mount Rushmore for Fourth of July fireworks ― ignoring concerns about the coronavirus (and the protests of Native Americans who live in the area).
Books written by people close to Trump ― or who used to be close to him ― also feed the news media machinery. Mary Trump, his niece, alleges that Trump cheated his way into college and threatened to disown his son Donald Trump Jr. if he joined the military (among other things) in her memoir set to be published on Tuesday. Former national security adviser John Bolton’s book is rife with corruption claims, including the allegation that the president sought help from China to win reelection.
As for whether his prowess as a newsmaker translates to popularity with the public, the latest Gallup poll puts Trump’s approval rating at 38%. A poll by ABC News/Ipsos released last week shows that a record 67% now disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus,” while only 33% approve, Politico reported. This is “the widest gulf in public sentiment since ABC News and Ipsos started surveying on the pandemic in March,” the outlet wrote.