Politics

The False Narrative of a Vindictive Trump

His meetings with Romney, Cruz show a side of the president-elect the media do not want to be seen

At this time three weeks ago, the media hordes were getting ready to cover the incoming administration of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Fawning profiles of Huma Abedin, Bill Clinton, and John Podesta were all queued.

The press has a terrible relationship with the president-elect … But the bigger sin is they didn’t even try to understand the people in Trump’s column.

And stories of an “awesome” campaign that slashed and undercut Republican businessman Donald J. Trump were all in the chute.

Then the world of the mainstream media collapsed.

Narratives were destroyed in seconds around 9 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2016. Like wet tissue paper, the tales ready to tell were pulled apart.

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And on Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, a bleary-eyed media had to cover something that was previously unimaginable to them: President-Elect Donald Trump.

In a state of shock, but also possessing an immediate need to fill space and air time, the media were left to stand outside — and later, inside — the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

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The best indication that the media don’t know how to cover President-Elect Trump is not the constant negative nattering about the state of the transition. The best indication of incompetence is the media’s odd narrative about Republican Mitt Romney.

Romney is likely to meet with Trump on Saturday or Sunday to discuss … something.

But the media insist on over-hyping the event. The suggestion is that Trump is looking at Romney, a bitter foe in the 2016 presidential primaries, for secretary of state.

It seems as if every person meeting with Trump is only meeting about secretary of state. But that’s not always the case.

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Anything is possible, of course. But in this case, the media are missing the larger, better picture. Trump’s meetings with his former opponents show the media narrative about Trump as vindictive is just plain wrong.

Trump has already met with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who was Trump’s leading foe in the GOP presidential primaries. The race turned bitter toward the end, but Trump came out on top when Indiana gave Trump a win on May 3.

Cruz did not endorse Trump until late September — and was famously booed at the Republican National Convention.

The meeting with Cruz is fairly remarkable. Cruz could be under consideration for a number of positions. But first and foremost, it appears that Trump is wisely mending some fences with the Republican Party. This is not something the media want to confess.

Related: Trump Unity Tour Could Throw Off Needling Press

The mainstream media, predominantly liberal, do not want to admit Trump may be good at diplomacy and relationships. Trump famously loathes the apology, they say.

Yet here Trump is, at Trump Tower, meeting with former rivals and even bitter critics. And the media are in the lobby, standing near the elevators — clueless as ever.

They hawk quick and easy stories about Romney being secretary of state, or Ted Cruz being a possible attorney general pick. All because they really don’t know.

The press has a terrible relationship with the president-elect, and deservedly so. They loathe Trump. But the bigger sin is they didn’t even try to understand the people in Trump’s column. They didn’t understand the ongoing economic struggle in the flyover counties. There’s no indication they will try to fathom it.

On Friday, The Washington Post’s media columnist, Margaret Sullivan, re-tweeted commentary linking the Ku Klux Klan with Trump’s cabinet picks. Sullivan was previously the public editor of The New York Times.

They still don’t get it. Maybe they never will.

All they’ve got is Romney for secretary of state, Ted Cruz for attorney general, and David Duke likes Trump.

And so it goes.

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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