Trump has been extremely calculated when it comes to who he does interviews with. It has been this way even before getting into the White House. Recently, President Donald Trump responded to a long-standing request from ABC and sat down with George Stephanopoulos as the 2020 campaign launched.
Why is this a big deal?
In the past, Trump has worked almost exclusively with friendly opinion shows. He has worked with Fox News and Fox Business. However, he has excluded the various broadcast networks. In fact, he has only done interviews for two Sunday shows.
In past presidential administrations, sitting down with a news anchor from a major network wouldn’t be a big deal. However, Trump’s decision to give access to Stephanopoulos is a big deal. Much of it has to do with Trump’s desire to reach beyond his base in order to prepare for the 2020 campaign launch, which will begin this week.
What ABC Covered
ABC has been granted almost exclusive coverage for a portion of Trump’s campaign trail, including a trip to Iowa. The ABC news team was able to travel to Iowa on Tuesday on Air Force One. They were also able to sit in the front cabins, separating them from the rest of the press corps. One of the cameramen rode in Marine One, too, to go to Joint Base Andrews. This is particularly important because it’s not a trip that many journalists get to make. Stephanopoulos himself was also able to ride in the president’s limousine.
Stephanopoulos conducted an interview, which aired on Sunday.
The interview aired across a variety of ABC News programs. This ensured that the information reached Americans who don’t typically sympathize with Trump or tune into Trump interviewers such as Laura Ingraham or Sean Hannity of Fox News.
The interview came at an important time, too. The Democrats looking to triumph over Trump in 2020 has been dominating the airwaves for months. With the first DNC debates taking place in late June, Trump needs to make sure that his voice is heard.
As one former administration official explained, social media has been an important part of Trump’s political rise. ABC News and Time Magazine are critical for him.
The Relationship Between Trump and Stephanopoulos
There are likely a number of reasons as to why Trump chose to give Stephanopoulos access as opposed to any of the other major network anchors. Perhaps one of the biggest is the fact that Trump and Stephanopoulos have a good rapport.
Decades earlier, Stephanopoulos was one of the high profile officials within the White House when Pres. Bill Clinton was in place. Trump also made a cameo on good morning America in 2011 when he was one of the “Manhattan wise men.” During this time, he offered encouragement to Stephanopoulos when he was racing up the stairs of the Empire State building.
Trump is no stranger to Twitter, either. He knocks a number of TV news stars regularly, including Chuck Todd. He’s only jabbed at Stephanopoulos once when he tweeted to him about “stupidly” believing that Hillary wants to run against him.
Typically, Trump is quick to defend Stephanopoulos, especially after he has conducted hard interviews.
This isn’t the first time that Trump has sat down the Stephanopoulos since becoming president, either. He sat down with him once before in Singapore after meeting with Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea.
There is a lot of respect between Trump and Stephanopoulos. Trump introduced George Stephanopoulos as “The Great” George Stephanopoulos to the “America First” dinner in Iowa. He also assured the crowd that he’s a “nice guy.”
Stephanopoulos had been very closed about what the interview is focused on or what it will contain. A number of ABC News spokespeople declined to comment as well. They hadn’t spoken about where they have traveled or how they have traveled when asked, either.
It was an eye-opening experience to see what is included and how Stephanopoulos portrayed Trump to America.
Considering this was one of the first times that people saw Trump without the biased shades of social media, it may have changed some of the Democrats minds about just what a vicious politician he is.
It should help him with the 2020 campaign, which is, of course, what Trump is counting on.