From the East Room to the Rose Garden, the president relishes the opportunity to pull out a piece of paper printed by his staff to tick off names from a list to congratulate, admonish or just riff. It’s a running rhetorical bit for the president, who enjoys the opportunity to improvise during rigid, traditional White House ceremonies.
“I have a list…” the president has stated over a dozen times at rallies and White House events.
But it’s also a way the businessman-turned-politician tries to sell his administration’s work on any issue, touting big numbers or a large group of participants as proof of success. And Trump frequently frames the list — and its contents — in a selective manner, crafting the narrative he wants. Context is less important.