“Part of the strategy is to suck out all of the oxygen in the room,” said Michael Steele, the former Republican National Committee chair and Trump critic, adding: “The substance of the thing is not always the thing that matters. What matters is how the spotlight is hitting my forehead.”
Like no president before him, Trump fixates on his media coverage, intent on not just winning a news cycle but winning any single moment’s social media headline or cable news chyron, according to three current or former campaign officials not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.
That emphasis on tactics rather than strategy, gunning for a short-term win without consideration that it could also lead to long-term trouble, has allowed the Republican president to survive threats that imperiled his presidency but also may have contributed to the polling slide that began soon after the coronavirus pandemic reached American shores…
“It’s all tactics, not strategy,” said Republican strategist Alex Conant. “Trump’s background is in TV. In TV, when the camera’s not pointed on you, you’re not relevant. His strategy has always been to keep the cameras pointed at him all the time.”