Some have suggested that Trump’s response is a continuation of his basic media “strategy” of changing the subject in the face of bad news. In general, this is not genius in crisis communications; “Mad Men’s” Don Draper was fond of saying that if you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.
In particular, one might consider Trump’s alternatives. Trump failed to respond to the substance of Hillary Clinton’s attacks on his judgment and temperament to be president. He also largely failed to address the recent report from the State Department’s inspector general, which was highly critical of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to handle classified information. Trump also spent less than a day on a disappointing jobs report. Any of these conversations would have been better than one about whether it is proper for a presidential candidate to suggest a federal judge is incapable of doing his job based on his ethnicity.
In sum, since his rivals’ withdrawal, Trump’s comments and conduct are not those of the media genius he was so often mythologized to be during the primaries. Rather, they seem more like the counterproductive tantrums of a novice nominee who does not understand that his brand is currently unappealing to people outside the GOP. Worse, Trump seems to have forgotten that the reason he cultivated the media for decades was because they are more powerful than he is.