Election 2020

Media Melt Over Elizabeth Warren’s Selfie Line, but Where Is Praise for President Trump’s Handshake for Every Military Graduate?

Massachusetts Dem gets kudos for 'retail politics,' yet the president, well before this, made a commitment to remarkable Americans

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The “secret sauce” that is apparently fueling the 2020 presidential campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) right now — as she rises in the polls in late summer — isn’t her policy proposals about instituting universal child care, breaking up Big Tech, or trying to set capitalism upon itself. It’s not anything of that sort.

Rather, it’s apparently “an almost-compulsive penchant for taking selfies with supporters,” according to a recent piece in Refinery29.

That publication isn’t alone in reporting on the “phenom” that is driving some people wild for Warren.

The selfie count for Warren was 35,000 as of June 28, according to her campaign — so one can only guess at the current number nearly two months later.

It was Warren, reports explained, who insisted she start taking these cellphone selfies (and spend the hours required to do so) with supporters at various events across the country.

“She even recently fought against her staff’s insistence on having a rope line at campaign events because she wanted to be closer to the voters. ‘I’ve never been so proud to be so wrong,’ campaign manager Roger Lau said of their exchange. She convinced him with a people-power argument.” That’s how Refinery29 explained the phenomenon.

Related: Elizabeth Warren Offers Apology at Native-American Forum

Just look at some of these recent headlines, among many others, that express enthusiasm for Warren’s selfie snap process.

“105 Town Halls and 35,000 Selfies: How Elizabeth Warren Has Shaken Up the 2020 Race,” The Guardian reported.

“‘Selfie Strategy’: Candidates Have a Reason for Taking More Fan Photos Than Ever,” NBC noted.

“Selfies posted on social media,” that NBC article went on to note, “are literally free advertising, since campaigns pay good money for digital ads that insert smiling photos of their candidates into voters’ Instagram and Facebook feeds. And politicians, like famous people everywhere, are keenly aware that no matter how many photos they take, rejecting even one can sometimes turn into a public relations black eye.”

“How Selfies Became Elizabeth Warren’s Secret Weapon,” reported Refinery29.

The publication also noted the following: “For Warren, taking photos with her growing cadre of supporters is both a way to get to know them — and, to get a little cynical about it, a marketing tool. After a staffer snaps the photo, the campaign often posts it on social media, and encourages supporters to as well, which in turn floods our timelines with Warren’s smiling face. This is a powerful form of free advertising, and in a campaign that has refused to take corporate donations (and reportedly struggled financially early on), it’s an effective way” to share the candidate’s message.

“How to Get a Selfie with Elizabeth Warren in 8 Steps,” wrote The New York Times in its piece (which is behind a partial paywall — so if you’re not a subscriber, you’re out of luck on those tips).

“New Hampshire Gets a Taste of Elizabeth Warren’s Retail Politics,” declared an op-ed in TruthOut.org.

It also shared this insight: “By making the selfie line a campaign staple, Warren has struck a unique balance between intimate retail politics and present-day technological omnipresence.” The writer added, “I’d bet long money there are a dozen Democratic campaign managers kicking themselves for not having thought of it first.”

And then there was this find in the selfie line:

Fine and dandy. But contrast all of this with President Donald Trump’s remarkable commitment these past few years to shaking every single hand of every single graduate at our nation’s military academies during his attendance there and after his commencement addresses.

And he’s standing outside in some cases, in front of crowds of literally thousands and thousands of people.

Related: ‘You Chose to Serve Our Nation’: Trump Applauds Naval Academy Graduates

Where’s the praise, the pointed adulation for those actions on his part?

The pausing to shake the hands of military graduates — young people who have worked so hard for their degrees and even committed part of their lives to the protection and defense of our country — is a commendable action by Trump and a commitment by him to our young Americans.

It must be noted that respect for those actions can be found mostly in limited corners — not across a broad swath of publications or media outlets.

“Trump Shakes Hands with Nearly 1,100 Naval Cadets,” Fox Business reported in May 2018 of the president’s remarkable gesture during the Naval Academy’s graduation services.

(In his commencement address that day in May 2018, as LifeZette reported at the time, Trump told graduates, “Each of you inherits the legacy of the heroes who came before you, living history passed down from officer to officer and generation to generation. Each of you will make your own mark on the Navy, the Marine Corps and the history of our great nation … You are now leaders in the most powerful and righteous force on the face of the planet, the United States military. And we are respected again, I can tell you that. We are respected again.”)

“Trump Shakes ‘Every Single Hand’ of U.S. Air Force Graduates While Praising Their ‘Noble Road of Service,'” IJR also noted in May 2019.

“President Trump Shakes the Hand of Every Cadet Graduating from the Air Force Academy,” The Denver Channel also noted of that same Air Force ceremony in May 2019, adding that Trump personally congratulated nearly 1,000 cadets that day.

“Watch: President Trump Shakes Hands with Nearly 1,000 USAF Cadets at Commencement,” American Military News reported.

That outlet, by the way, went on to add this: “He [Trump] greeted the graduates in his remarks,” congratulating them and saying, “Most of all, to the nearly 1,000 cadets, who I have agreed to shake every single hand. They gave me a choice … They said, ‘You can shake one hand, to the one person, top of the class. You can shake 10, 50 or 100, and you could also stay for 1,000.’ And I’m staying for 1,000, OK.”

Comments on the president’s actions at the Air Force Academy that day also included this from a viewer: “God bless President Donald J. Trump, commander-in-chief and a true American. God bless our troops and God bless America.”

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LifeZette's Editor-in-Chief Maureen Mackey helped launch the site and previously served as managing editor. Before that, she held senior editorial positions at major publications, helping The Fiscal Times win a MIN Award for Best New Site as managing editor and Reader's Digest win an American Society of Magazine Editors Award for General Excellence as book editor. Her work has appeared in Real Clear Politics, CNBC, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, and The Week, among other outlets. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary. She can be reached at [email protected].

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