Dear Mr. President,
It’s been a while since I’ve written. But I feel like maybe there are some things the people around you aren’t telling you, so I thought I’d put them down here in the hope you’d read them.
First, the media is freaking out over your tweets about Joe and Mika. I don’t really care too much about it except to say that whatever else you did or message you wanted to push this week was lost because of it.
You had a great victory at the Supreme Court Monday – and set it on fire Thursday. Not that the American people care about Morning Joe. They don’t. But you gave your opponents ammunition to use against you. Maybe no one on your staff wants to tell you this, but it was dumb.
It wasn’t dumb because it was not presidential – though it wasn’t. It was dumb because the greatest political asset Republicans have is how unhinged liberals are. On campuses, in the streets, on TV, they say insane things, mostly about you (though not exclusively) on a daily basis. Your tweets sounded like their attacks on you.
No one cares if Mika had work done – almost everyone on TV either has had or will have work done at some point. But by using the word “face-lift,” you blew an opportunity to take them on based on substance.
Morning Joe is a joke, full of left-wing activists parading as journalists and serious commentators who are easy to dispute on the facts. You have a staff you could order to directly draft a point-by-point rebuttal to them and expose their lies. You didn’t do that; you went personal.
I know you used to be friends with them, long before they became a public couple and you were elected. But that day is done. And although it’s never fun when a friendship ends, you can’t let the person dictate your public actions.
You’re no longer a New York real estate billionaire; you’re president of the United States. You used to be able to be as public as you wanted to be, or as private. A quiet dinner with friends at a steak joint is a thing of the past.
When you wake up, you’re president. When you sleep, you’re president. When you use the bathroom, you’re president. And when you tweet, you’re president.
The newsworthiness of what you do is no longer based on what other celebrities did that day or the space available in a column. Everything a president does is newsworthy. There are teams of people whose job it is to follow every step you take and report it.
Yes, it’s a burden. Life was easier, and probably more fun, when you could just call Rosie O’Donnell stupid and know it’d get 150 words on Page Six the next day. Now what you say matters, because you’re not just Donald Trump but because you are the president. You don’t speak only for yourself anymore. You represent the country. Act like it.
Your ability to cause a media firestorm over petty garbage shows the power you have to dominate the national discussion on any given day. Rather than using it to settle scores, how about you use it to advance your agenda and let surrogates and friends settle scores?
But whatever scores you believe need settling, even new ones, know you’ve already won – you’re the president. Mika, Joe and all the left-wing media gang have to get up every morning and talk about what you do and say. You have the victor’s luxury of never having to mention them again. Completely ignoring them would be the best counterpunch.
They thrive on the attention. It gives them ratings they’ve never had before. Ignoring them would shuttle them back to obscurity faster than any dig you could muster.
Turn your total focus to the border, to health care, to jobs, to where your supporters want it to be. You’re moving on all those fronts, even with the distractions. Imagine when you could get done if those issues were your only focus.
Your swipes get a laugh, but laughs aren’t legislative accomplishments. You have an opportunity few presidents have had to effect important and significant change, and you’re wasting it. Your base will not abandon you, but your party will.
One of two things can happen from here: You ignore the garbage and accomplish great things, or your presidency gets even further consumed by distraction and becomes a cautionary tale.
Your supporters don’t want that, I don’t want that, and I know you don’t want that. And the country needs more.
Be bold. Speak frequently, not to the media but over them, to the people. Rally your voters to your cause, not just your side. If you have to toss some staff aside and remake your inner circle, do it sooner rather than later.
You have at least four years as president, and effective presidents build on success; they don’t come to it later in their terms. The clock is ticking. You need to start building now. If you don’t, you could lose the House and/or the Senate next year. If that happens you’ll have nothing but investigations to show for your victory. Well, that and a bunch of amusing tweets.