Five Media Tips for Donald Trump

U.S. stock markets are at record highs, unemployment is at its lowest in seven years, and consumer confidence hit its peak in nearly 17 years.

All good for Republican Donald Trump, right?

Maybe not. The president has one of the lowest approval ratings of any U.S. commander in chief since Harry S. Truman. Making matters worse for the GOP, the Democratic Party won big in recent state races, perhaps a precursor to next year’s mid-term elections.

Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night watch party in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 23. Credit: Getty Images.

Aside from his own political agenda, many would argue that the problem with the president, well, is the president himself. So much so, that many online daters are telling Trump supporters to swipe left.

In addition to the need of being media trained, here are five simple communications suggestions for President Trump to possibly help boost his approval ratings:

Stop tweeting. No surprise here. While the president’s tweets resonate well with his base, and put him upfront in the daily news cycle, they alienate him from the rest of the country. Mr. Trump needs to expand beyond current supporters, especially if he decides to run for re-election. Since this is unlikely, possibly use an editor to soften the rhetoric, and spell check too. The good news is that he now has 280 characters to do it in.

Be gracious. Humility is not one of the president’s core character traits, at least publicly. Mr. Trump should refrain from “reminding” voters of his election victory or mixing politics with less partisan presidential duties. Remember the Boy Scouts debacle? Also offering a mi culpa from time to time can go a long way and will not diminish any notion of “coming from a place of strength.”

Watch CNN, objectively. Whether or not the president thinks the cable network reports “fake news,” it’s always good to understand how the White House is being covered so that credible, reactive messaging can be developed and implemented. Believe it or not, CNN is far less biased than MSNBC or Fox News.

Do your homework. In other words, be prepared. This will make the president appear more knowledge on key legislative issues such as health care and tax reform. Practice Q&As with key staff on topics relevant to his agenda.

Get a dog. Although it may seem trivial, and not communications related, the president playing catch with man’s best friend on the White House lawn can make for a great photo opportunity. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump has broken a long-held tradition of U.S. presidential pet ownership of being the first head of state since President Millard Fillmore to not have domesticated animals.

Only time will tell if the president can turn the tide and become a great communicator like his idol President Ronald Regan. The trick is to get out of his own way, a task easier said than done.

Why Can’t We Stop Talking About Donald Trump?

No time in recent American history has one president been regularly talked about online, in the press or at the proverbial water cooler as much as Donald Trump.

One thing for certain is Donald Trump knows how to make news, which usually is done in 140 characters or less. Policies aside, many factors contribute to this phenomenon, such as Trump’s unorthodox style, recklessness or lack of a media filter.

President Donald Trump during a signing ceremony for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

But all publicity is not good publicity. A recent Harvard Study found that 60 percent of Trump’s media coverage during his first 100 days in office was 80 percent negative, at times hitting the 90 percent mark. Even GOP-friendly Fox News had him at 52 percent negative.

No doubt all this is taking a toll on Trump’s approval ratings. According to FiveThirtyEight, only 37 percent of Americans say President Trump is doing a good job, the lowest of any U.S. commander in chief since Harry S. Truman.

The Pew Research Center finds a majority (58 percent) of Americans do not like the way Trump conducts himself as president, and nearly half (45 percent) do not agree with him on any or almost any issue.

Trump’s conduct also is having a negative impact on his fellow Republications. Forty-six percent of GOPers expressed mixed feelings on Trump’s behavior, while 19 percent say they do not like his conduct.

As support dwindles among those that helped him get elected, President Trump is finding it harder to get key legislation passed even with a Republican-dominated Congress, as several attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act fell flat.

Not so says Donald Trump. He boasts his administration has accomplished more than any other president except Franklin Delano Roosevelt, citing his own election as historic, stretching the truth and transparency.

Political pundits have called him a liar, many times. But it’s this behavior that lands Trump on the front pages. Forget about the old ad age of kids saying the darndest things, Donald Trump has made comments as president that go beyond any logical reasoning.

Whether it’s threatening nuclear war with North Korea or blaming Arnold Schwarzenegger for bad ratings on “Celebrity Apprentice,” Trump says and does things – good, bad or indifferent – that makes news and prompts reactions from people.

Unfortunately, that’s bad for Trump … and can be bad for America too.


Donald Trump, like Sarah Palin, Share Same Course to Presidency

Donald Trump in "The Celebrity Apprentice"

A look at this morning’s interview on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley,” one can get a glimpse of Donald Trump, candidate for president.

While the “Don’s” credibility to be president rings similar to former Alaska governor  Sarah Palin’s quest for the White House, no one can deny Trump’s ability to make news.   During the ten or so minutes of the aired interview, Republican Trump reignited the issue surrounding President Obama’s American citizenship.

Even though the issue has gone and went, both the GOP and Tea Party continue to hammer away at it in advance of the 2012 elections.   Trump said himself that his focus should be on the economy, but still couldn’t steer away from the topic.

No doubt Trump is clamoring for headlines.  Like Palin, many watch and listen to see what Trump is going to say or do next.  No wonder why millions of viewers tune in each week to watch the boardroom drama play out during Trump’s hit show, “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Headlines for the most part are not enough to win elections.  Americans want their presidents to be “presidential.”  Even though candidates are imperfect people like everyone else, the office of the president is definitely apparitional.

It’s really a matter of opinion if Donald Trump is presidential material.  His outspoken nature may be a hindrance to his chances of receiving the GOP nomination, let alone winning the general election.  He does have fans however, 218,395 on Facebook to be exact, although this pales in comparison to Palin’s 2,872,937. 

Gritty, hardnosed and a shoot from the hip commentary style are some of Donald Trump’s attributes.  While these qualities can be helpful to running a business in the private sector, politics is an entirely different animal.  Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, for instance, shares a very similar style to Trump.  While Giuliani is considered a good administrator however, he’s been unsuccessful at achieving higher office, losing badly in the 2008 GOP primaries.

Every person has the right to seek public office and it’s up to the American voters to choose the best candidate.  Kudos to Donald Trump for putting his hat in the proverbial ring of politics.   We’ll just have to tune in next week to see what happens next.

The Trump Network: A McDonald’s Brand in the Making?

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s net worth as a billionaire always seemed to be in question.  Real estate mogul turned network TV star habitually disputed his ranking on Forbes’ annual list of richest people.  News articles and even a book titled “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald,” looked to uncover the real story inside the Donald’s wallet.

A listing on Forbes’ rich list really doesn’t hold that much water to the everyday person. Even a net worth of $10 million is far greater than that of the average American citizen, who quite frankly, can live a fairly luxurious life with that amount of wealth.

For Donald, however, the Forbes list is important because it generates news headlines. This means more articles about Donald Trump, who certainly is no stranger to the media, probably bordering on oversaturation. Be that as it may, he’s very media savvy. Trump knows how to leverage his celebrity with the media to help generate awareness for his “organization,” which bears his name, even referring to it as a “global super brand.”

Trump himself has been quoted in the past saying his brand alone is worth $5 billion. This statement undoubtedly has raised an eyebrow or two, but it’s hard to argue the value of any intangible, especially if the name is Trump. That’s why he’s now licensing the Trump name with real estate developers, rather than investing his own money, essentially getting paid for putting his name on the door. This is smart business by anyone’s standards. He’s even leveraged the Trump name with network television, enjoying much success of the hit reality show “The Apprentice.”

Donald Trump’s latest endeavor is the Trump Network, basically a multi-level marketing company promoting wellness and entrepreneurialism. The obvious notion is that this new company runs counter to what the Trump brand represents, which is more about opulence and wealth, rather than recruiting friends and family to sell or buy product.

“The Apprentice” however may have changed all of this, and Donald Trump today is more celebrity than he is a super-wealthy icon, although he’s still very rich. Brands change as they evolve. Donald Trump’s brand is changing, maybe more into a McDonald’s-like kind rather than a Rolex.

Plugging into a troubled economy offering opportunities for millions of unemployed makes good business sense, not to mention a really good idea. Moreover, the stigma of multi-level marketing may also be changing, as more people look for new financial opportunities during the country’s recession. Trump may be ahead of the curve here. Although he needs to tread carefully, because too much of anything is always not a good thing.