Trump’s Showmanship Is Now Backfiring On Him

Donald Trump’s showmanship — a key ingredient in his unorthodox reality show-style approach to the presidency — is beginning to fail him, increasingly emphasizing his disconnect with many Americans and struggles to manage crises besieging the White House.

The President’s television producer’s eye leads him to seek dramatic tableaus that create his preferred image of himself — strong, defiant, tearing down establishment structures and trampling the normal etiquette of the presidency.
But his recent attempts to create arresting political imagery appear to be backfiring.
In the most recent example on Saturday, Trump’s attempt to wrap himself in the power and prestige of the military failed at a West Point graduation ceremony apparently put on for his benefit, when his creeping walk down a ramp triggered so much social media mockery that he felt the need to explain it in a tweet of his own.

And for all his tweets about law and order, he didn’t weigh in on the latest apparent incident of police brutality —

The fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in the back in Atlanta, which led to the resignation of the city’s police chief — while secluded at his New Jersey golf resort for much of the weekend.

The President’s now notorious march to an iconic church in Washington, DC’s Lafayette Square, after protesters were forcibly ejected, was meant to project strength to his supporters, but turned into an emblem of his mismanagement of the George Floyd protests and severely strained his relationship with current and former military brass. A high iron fence erected around the White House then turned into a symbol of the President’s disconnect with changes sweeping the nation. Trump’s instincts throughout the aftermath of Floyd’s death with a police officer’s knee on his neck have been to leverage the situation to advance his own political prospects — rather than to cool tensions and seek national reconciliation. Over the weekend, for instance, he pounced on Major League Soccer’s policy of backing the rights of its players to protest during the National Anthem.
“And it looks like the NFL is heading in that direction also, but not with me watching,” the President tweeted. Trump has long exploited the controversy over players taking a knee to protest police brutality to create a culture war issue to appeal to his supporters. But there is the possibility that when NFL games resume, his choice to escalate could turn against the President if more and more players take a knee and reflect a nation that is increasingly willing to reconsider some of its attitudes on race.

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