On June 16, 2015, the future president and his wife rode down the escalator at Trump Tower in New York City and the political world will never be the same. The occasion was the presidential announcement speech of Donald Trump. Previously, Trump had considered running for president in 1988, 2000 and 2012. Each time, the allure of his real estate and media businesses kept Trump away from the race. This time, he realized it was his last chance to run and he seized the opportunity.
The announcement speech was made before a packed crowd of boisterous supporters. The speech was pure Trump. He railed against bad trade deals and open borders. It was surely politically incorrect, and the media was appalled.
As a television personality and real estate mogul, Trump was not a threat to the media, in fact, he was an amusing curiosity who garnered mostly positive coverage. As a presidential candidate, Trump was a risk to the political system controlled by an entrenched establishment of both parties and supported by the corrupt news media.
As an independently funded businessman turned presidential candidate, Trump was a wild card. He did not need to make deals for donations. He gave voters his unvarnished opinion on the issues and that made him incredibly popular.
His initial foray into presidential politics infuriated the politically correct media. For example, regarding Mexico, Trump said, “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Immediately he was criticized and ostracized by NBC and the Miss Universe pageant. Amazingly, he stood firm and did not apologize, what most Republican politicians do during a controversy. One month later, he refused to express regret despite being eviscerated for criticizing the war record of U.S. Senator John McCain. Both controversies would have sunk any other candidate.
Trump faced universally negative media coverage and constant hostility from the establishment of the Republican Party. The party elders were in favor of any of the 16 candidates running against him. To their disbelief, they could not defeat him, and Trump garnered enough delegates to secure the GOP nomination.
It did not stop party insiders from trying to steal the nomination from him at the convention. Fortunately, he prevailed and strode into the general election against a very underhanded opponent, Hillary Clinton.
During the presidential campaign, the media and the Democrats unveiled a secret weapon they were convinced would finish his campaign, the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Trump’s controversial comments were taped without his knowledge on a bus at a TV production in 2005. It was released at a time to maximize damage to Trump. Surely, his opponents thought this would finally destroy him.
Instead, he fought back at the next presidential debate and brought with him three women who had accused Bill Clinton of varying degrees of sexual assault, including rape. He defused the scandal but in the final weeks faced a news media arrayed against him, social media bias and search engine manipulation engineered to harm his candidacy. To make matters worse, Clinton outspent him by a 2-1 margin.
Not surprisingly, the media never gave Trump any shot of beating Hillary. This surely diminished his turnout, which was their goal. Reporters touted the polls showing Hillary comfortably ahead of Trump. On Election night, when Trump was declared the victor, their anguished faces will always be remembered with delight by the president’s supporters.
Most winning presidential candidates receive a honeymoon, but not Donald Trump. He was harassed from the very beginning. From the efforts to overturn the results of the Electoral College to the boycott of his inauguration to the women’s march in Washington D.C. to the phony Steele dossier being revealed by a deceitful media, Trump was under constant attack.
It has never gotten any easier for the president. The Steele dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign, led to a two-year Mueller investigation to determine whether Russia colluded with the Trump campaign. It found no collusion and proved no obstruction of justice.
In the investigation, Trump colleagues were badgered, indicted, and imprisoned for activities that had nothing to do with “Russian collusion.” In contrast, Hillary Clinton was exonerated for sending top secret and classified emails on an unsecured computer. Members of a biased Department of Justice who attempted the de-facto coup d’état of the President were never penalized with criminal indictments.
While the Mueller probe was ongoing, investigations were launched into his relationship with Stormy Daniels, his tax returns, his businesses, and his private foundation. All were conducted by a partisan House of Representatives.
Eventually, his phone call with the president of Ukraine was leaked and investigated. This led to hearings and his eventual impeachment by congressional Democrats, without a single Republican vote. The Senate trial resulted in a partisan effort to convict the president that generated only one GOP vote, well short of the necessary margin for removal.
Immediately thereafter, the Covid-19 crisis forced the government to shut down and the president was blamed for everything from virus deaths to the economic woes of the country.
Thereafter, the George Floyd murder sparked countrywide protests that often degenerated into disastrous riots. As the President tried to restore order, he was blasted by critics for threatening to use the U.S. military.
No matter what he does, his many opponents will criticize him. Independent analysts show that the mainstream media coverage of Trump has been 95% negative.
Recently, the media have returned to hyping the threats of Covid-19 and criticizing the president for staging his Tulsa rally, even though they commended the Black Lives Matter protesters.
As he faces re-election, powerful forces are arrayed against him and the polls show him losing to the unimpressive and clueless Joe Biden. Make no mistake, there will be a full-court press to defeat him in November.
Nonetheless, Americans would be wise not to count out the man who has defied all expectations from the day he came down the escalator.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award-winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org