Donald Trump: Come out, come out, wherever you are
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President Trump hosted an electric, bombastic, confrontational and unscheduled press conference in February.

It is now May. 

And while he's hosted joint press conferences with foreign leaders, answered questions aboard air force one, and sat down for one-on-one interviews, we have not heard from him in a traditional press conference setting since — and we need to. 

Who is advising him to lay low? 

It’s bad advice and he should stop taking it.

Instead, we hear from a communications team that is forced to react to different messaging from Trump, creating disorganization and mixed messaging, and then they come under siege. 

Stress and frustration wears on their faces and has shown shockingly through Sean Spicer’s presentations this week in the White House briefing room. These symptoms are not necessarily a negative reflection on Team Spicer. 

Sean is tasked with the impossible — speak on behalf of the man who freely changes his mind, is not an ideologue, and seems not to care what was said yesterday. 


Add the headlines of Russia, Comey, and impeachment, combined with a Staff that leaks like a sieve, and you have a full-blown communication nightmare. The idea that the press team could effectively speak for Trump, with 100 percent accuracy, in response to every single question is simply ludicrous.


It's preposterous. 

It's time for a tactical pause. Stop spraying bullets, take cover, and figure out a way to get out of the perpetual kill zone that is the press briefing room. 

This does not mean cancel the press briefings, but there must be a reset and they must be handled more effectively, or no one is going to survive tomorrow, let alone four years, let alone a reelection.

Step 1: rely more on "I'll have to get back to you on that." And then follow up religiously. Confirm with POTUS directly, follow up in writing, or address at the top of the next briefing. Not every sentence has to be a perfectly programmed soundbite that fits neatly into a White House communications talking points memo.

Step 2: Less is more. Spicer has effectively mastered "the tweet speaks for itself" when asked about a tweet, even if the tweet doesn't speak for itself, because no one can explain Trump's tweets but Trump. Sometimes it's OK to say "I don't know" or "We haven't spoken on that topic in detail yet."

Step 3: Bring out POTUS. President Trump dangled the possibility of canceling the daily briefings and coming out once every two weeks. In the words of the president, that would be SAD! Shutting down your message and becoming an introvert will not stop any of the bad press. Instead, it will let a two-week news cycle go by (in a 24-hour news cycle world) without any comment from the president. And reporters will happily close each article with "The White House declined to comment."

Imagine the scenario where Trump came out and explained the Comey firing, explained their private meeting, and discussed the circumstances behind Russia. 

Why not just come out today?

Why not come out most days?

If his message cannot be effectively conveyed by his team, he certainly could resolve the problem by conveying it himself. 

Mr. President — Be transparent. Get control of your message. We need you answering questions and speaking for yourself. You control the message, so start delivering it.


Ronica Cleary is a political reporter for Fox 5 News and co-host of Fox 5 News On The Hill. Follow her on Twitter @RonicaCleary.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.