[guest post by Dana]
Earlier this month, an article looked at how “ratings” drive President Trump:
“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for . . .”
It was quickly followed by this: “being a movie star-and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich and Hillary.”
The reaction was utterly predictable. Democrats — and even some Republicans — wondered why Trump was fixated on the ratings for “The Celebrity Apprentice” on the day that he was set to receive a briefing from intelligence officials about the depth and breadth of Russian hacking during the 2016 election.
Adding to the evidence of him being consumed by ratings and numbers, one really only has to consider Trump’s obsession with the size of crowds – whether at campaign rallies or at the Inauguration. It makes sense for a reality star and showman. And to this day, even while seated in the Oval Office, Trump remains the reality star and showman.
However, understanding that about the president does not make his decision to announce the pardon of Joe Arpaio on Friday night when Hurricane Harvey made land fall any less disturbing:
Addressing the specific timing of his pardon — which seemed to embody a classic “news dump,” coming as the nation focused on the impending storm — the president said he actually imagined the controversial pardon would have attracted even more media attention, because of the Harvey coverage.
Upon facing criticism about the timing of his announcement, the president admitted that he intentionally made the announcement then because lots of people would be watching the news:
“I assumed the ratings would be far higher than normal with the hurricane just starting,” Trump said.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)