On Thursday evening, the New York Times published excerpts from an impromptu interview with President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he forecast the media industry’s downfall as evidence that he’ll win again in 2020.
Noting “no aides were present” and that the president “sat alone” with the reporter conducting the interview, the Times piece is not, as one might expect, Trump at his frenzied, frenetic worst. Instead, the president comes off as an enormous simpleton. Toward the end of the interview, Trump’s enormous ego makes an appearance when he argues that he’ll absolutely be re-elected in 2020 because the entire American news media industry simply wouldn’t survive without him.
Trump told the Times:
Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times.
So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.’ O.K.’”
Like many of Trump’s egotistical ramblings, there’s a grain of truth here (an astronomically small one, but a grain nonetheless). Since announcing his candidacy back in June 2015, Trump has—for better and worse—dominated the media landscape to an astonishing degree, although the notion that the media as a whole requires Trump’s antics to survive is patently ludicrous.
So does that mean the entire industry will, in fact, “tank” should he fail to win reelection? Probably not! But it’s a chance I’m more than willing to take.