Thursday, July 14, 2016

Trump Bungles Veep Anouncement

This is beautiful. Today the Indianapolis Star reported that Governor Mike Pence will be Trump's vice presidential pick. They know this because he;s dropped his gubernatorial reelection bid. But this revelation came today, 24 hours before Trump planned on announcing his choice. Of course, that means the Trump campaign had to deny these reports. [The linked article has now been updated.]

If Pence is indeed the pick, this was a disaster of PR. Announcing your veep is the one thing a campaign can do as predictable theater to help put messaging on their own terms. You own a news cycle or two, and you can rely on generally positive reporting. Unless you bungle it and word goes out a day earlier--in which case you lose control of the timing and the messaging.

Trump is mercurial and impulsive, so even if he had settled on Pence, he may change his mind in order to recapture the element of surprise. (And that would be amazing, too--switching your choice just to win a news cycle.) And in that case Pence would be out of politics, another casualty of someone who went into business with Trump.

The whole thing is a train wreck. This is the genius leader who's going to oversee the federal government and a $4 trillion budget. A very, very smart man, we're told by the man. Right. What a maroon.

Update: "Donald Trump has called Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and offered him the vice presidential slot on his ticket, CNN has learned. Pence has accepted. Trump said Thursday evening he's postponing the official announcement, previously set for Friday morning. 'In light of the horrible attack in Nice, France, I have postponed tomorrow's news conference concerning my vice presidential announcement,' he tweeted."

This is not the work of a strategic mastermind.

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