The Similarities of Trump’s Rallies, Sports Press Conferences And PR Agency Pressers, Plus A ‘New Olympic Event’: Watching Naomi Osaka

Arthur Solomon

Now that the twice impeached former president Donald Trump, whose company has been criminally indicted for allegedly evading taxes has resumed his rallies, the similarities of his rallies to sports, brand and corporate press conferences are easy to detect: 

  • All have a maximum of lies or exaggerations and a minimum of truth.
  • Certain sports, like tennis and golf, are considered by the media as “niche sports” and only receive significant media coverage during major tournaments and are routinely ignored by the general press most of the year.
  • Ever since he was defeated by President Joe Biden, Trump’s rallies are considered “niche” by major media outlets, but not so by “niche” far right journalists. Reporters from main stream news organizations monitor the rallies but little is written about them because there is little bona fide news. 
  • Many aspects of the Trump rallies and sports press conferences also are similar to brand and corporate pressers. (More on this later.)

Soon, on July 23, Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games, even though calendars around the world say it’s 2021, will commence, devoid of spectators because of Covid-19 fears. Along with the athletic competition reporters will be writing about the biggest sports story of 2021, thus far. It is not about the Super Bowl, the plethora of no-hit games, Major League Baseball enforcing the rule against pitchers applying sticky substances to baseballs or the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s positive drug test. The media coverage will be about a “new Olympic event” that will not require a participant to win.  

The subject of this “new Olympic event” will concern an athlete in a little covered “niche sport,” tennis’ Naomi Osaka, who pulled out of the French Open and was fined for doing so, because she refused to participate in post-game media interviews. Receiving as much coverage of her tennis prowess in the Olympics will be how she performs during q and a sessions with the media, if she decides to show up at pressers. The tennis tournament begins on July 24. 

 (But even worse than the post-game interviews are the after-the-game presentation of trophies to winners of tennis matches, where the recipients thank the world, especially the organizers of the matches. Reminds me of those “Hail Caesar” scenes in those gladiator movies. This is reminiscent of the days when National Football League announcers would always describe team owners as “true gentlemen,” regardless of their history of turning their backs to revelations about how hits to he head causes brain damage to their employees, the players.) 

Ms. Osaka’s decision to not appear at a post-match TV interview raises a more important question than her refusal to participate: Why does the media attend them, knowing that their questions will be answered with untruths, regardless of the sport? In reality, the supposedly truth-seeking media, by attending these staged pressers, are accessories to a con game developed to get viewers to believe what the participants are saying is truthful. (Years ago, I suggested to a few sports writers that instead of attending these newsless shams that they assign one “pool” reporter in case, by mistake, a pitcher or coach says something unrehearsed, like, “I lost that game because the shortstop threw to the wrong base and that’s not the first time I’ve been victimized by his and others’ sloppy play.” 

But there is as much chance as the above scenario occurring as an athlete speaking honestly after a loss, because, as Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady said in late June on CBS Sports, “What I say versus what I think are two totally different things. I would say 90 percent of what I say is probably not what I’m thinking… I think there’s part of me that doesn’t like conflict. So in the end, I just always try to play it super flat.” 

And during media day at the Super Bowl in 2015, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch kept answering reporter’s questions by repeating, “I’m Just Here So I Won’t Get Fined.”

The comments by Brady and Lynch might be the most honest ones ever made by an athlete during interview sessions. 

It’s a fact that after game interviews, where athletes are forced to appear because of contractual obligations, hardly ever provide anything newsy. 

Viewers might not know why these hardly ever truthful pressers with athletes  survive since they are as dull as listening to speeches during an old fashion Senate filibuster (but not as amusing), but people in the business know why: Post game interviews are now a staple of television sports coverage. Sports marketers love them because the athletes who appear wear clothes that are easily identified as brands. Bottled water of sponsors are also positioned, as are banners of sponsors, so the TV cameras can disseminate them nationally, and in international tournaments, worldwide.

As a novice sports reporter, I was never assigned to cover major press conferences. My beat was scholastic sports, where there was never a staged press conference. After an event, reporters had to personally speak to participants, providing an enterprising journalist an opportunity to develop an “exclusive.” (It was after filing several stories as a stringer that was different from the run-of-the-mill articles by other reporters that I was offered a staff position at a New York City daily.)

When I transitioned to the PR business, after several NYC dailies went bust, large scale brand and corporate press conferences were the rage. The great majority of them produced less than the desired results, and as a former reporter and editor, I knew why: A “secular” range of journalists were invited by PR people fearful of having an empty room. Most of the attendees had no interest in the subject of the presser and attended because they were friends of the PR person, wanted a chance to get out of their office, saw it as an opportunity to gather background information for a future story that had nothing to do with the press conference subject, or if there was a celebrity presenter wanted to ask questions during the one-on-ones for a profile story. 

Filling the room with anyone, even if the reporter only wrote obituaries, was a must. Also, in most cases, the news value of the conference was mostly only in the eyes of brand managers and corporate PR people, some of whom insisted on a press conference because they were forced to by their higher-ups who had no news sense and believed their titles or the name of the brand or corporation would be enough to generate coverage. As a result, except for the few beat reporters who attended, the great majority of the articles contained no client talking points. (Management of PR agencies liked these mega press conferences because it offered loads of billing opportunities, including the writing and production of expensive press kits which the great majority of the attendees ditched when they returned to their offices. Even the beat reporters would only pull out one or two of the press releases and toss the remainder.) 

The lack of coverage after spending thousands of dollars on a mega presser reverberated from the disappointed CEO to the corporate PR person or brand manager to the client contact to the PR exec who reported to the client.

Once I attained some authority, I limited full scale press conferences to only the few times (over 35 years) that there was actually hard news, not a common occurrence in our business, whose job it is to create news. Instead I would arrange for smaller round table meetings for clients, only inviting reporters who covered specific beats. That technique not only saved thousands of dollars that could be used for other PR projects, but always resulted in major publicity.

There’s an important lesson to be learned from uncalled-for pressers: Whether the speaker is a former twice-impeached president, whose business was criminally indicted for alleged tax-related crimes, an athlete or the CEO of a major company, it’s not the title of the person speaking that will determine news coverage – it’s what the person is saying. Don’t take my word for saying so. Check the very limited coverage of Trump’s rallies since he was defeated for re-election and the almost non existent coverage of after-the-game pressers with athletes, as well as the minimum of client talking points after mega- client press conferences. #Ol


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




PART II – A Conversation with Brian Stelter on His Best-Seller, ‘HOAX: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth’

 

Join Michael Zeldin for Part II of his interview with CNN anchor and media analyst Brian Stelter on his best-seller, HOAX: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.

Even before the Trump administration, communicators have long been intrigued by the curious friendship forged by conservative commentators with conservatives in government. But this was the first administration where the friendship is so obvious in its mutual dependence and co-existence.

In this no-holds-barred discussion, Stelter reveals the surprising genesis of this strange friendship, how it is impacting the relationship, and how Fox News continues to chip away at our concept of Truth.

Listen to Part I here.

Guest

Brian Stelter

Chief Media Correspondent and Anchor of Reliable Sources

Brian Stelter is the anchor of “Reliable Sources,” which examines the week’s top media stories every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET on CNN/U.S, and the chief media correspondent for CNN Worldwide. Stelter reports for CNN Business, and writes a nightly e-newsletter.

Prior to joining CNN in November 2013, Stelter was a media reporter at The New York Times. Starting in 2007, he covered television and digital media for the Business Day and Arts section of the newspaper. He was also a lead contributor to the “Media Decoder” blog.

Stelter published The New York Times best-selling book, “HOAX: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth” in fall 2020, which tells the twisted story of the relationship between President Trump and Fox News. Over the course of two years writing the book, Stelter spoke with over 250 current and former Fox insiders in an effort to understand the inner workings of Rupert Murdoch’s multibillion-dollar media empire.

In 2013, he published The New York Times best-selling book, “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV”, about the competitive world of morning news shows. He is a consulting producer on Apple’s drama “The Morning Show,” which is inspired by his book.

In 2020, Stelter executive produced the HBO Documentary, “After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News,” directed by Andrew Rossi, who featured Stelter in his 2011 documentary, “Page One: Inside the New York Times.” Stelter was also named to Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30: Media” for three consecutive years, and Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40: Media & Entertainment.”

In January 2004, while he was a freshman at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, Stelter created TV Newser, a blog dedicated to coverage of the television news industry. He sold it to Mediabistro.com in July 2004, but continued to edit and write for the blog during the next three years until he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Journalism. He is on the board of Baltimore Student Media, a nonprofit that publishes Towson’s independent student newspaper, The Towerlight.

Host

Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings. 

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelZeldin




PART I – A Conversation with Brian Stelter on His Best-Seller, ‘HOAX: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth’

 

About

Join Michael Zeldin as he interviews CNN anchor and media analyst Brian Stelter on his best-seller, HOAX: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.

Even before the Trump administration, communicators have long been intrigued by the curious friendship forged by conservative commentators with conservatives in government. But this was the first administration where the friendship is so obvious in its mutual dependence and co-existence.

In this no-holds-barred discussion, Stelter reveals the surprising genesis of this strange friendship, how it is impacting the relationship, and how Fox News continues to chip away at our concept of Truth.

Guest

Brian Stelter

Chief Media Correspondent and Anchor of Reliable Sources

Brian Stelter is the anchor of “Reliable Sources,” which examines the week’s top media stories every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET on CNN/U.S, and the chief media correspondent for CNN Worldwide. Stelter reports for CNN Business, and writes a nightly e-newsletter.

Prior to joining CNN in November 2013, Stelter was a media reporter at The New York Times. Starting in 2007, he covered television and digital media for the Business Day and Arts section of the newspaper. He was also a lead contributor to the “Media Decoder” blog.

Stelter published The New York Times best-selling book, “HOAX: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth” in fall 2020, which tells the twisted story of the relationship between President Trump and Fox News. Over the course of two years writing the book, Stelter spoke with over 250 current and former Fox insiders in an effort to understand the inner workings of Rupert Murdoch’s multibillion-dollar media empire.

In 2013, he published The New York Times best-selling book, “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV”, about the competitive world of morning news shows. He is a consulting producer on Apple’s drama “The Morning Show,” which is inspired by his book.

In 2020, Stelter executive produced the HBO Documentary, “After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News,” directed by Andrew Rossi, who featured Stelter in his 2011 documentary, “Page One: Inside the New York Times.” Stelter was also named to Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30: Media” for three consecutive years, and Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40: Media & Entertainment.”

In January 2004, while he was a freshman at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, Stelter created TV Newser, a blog dedicated to coverage of the television news industry. He sold it to Mediabistro.com in July 2004, but continued to edit and write for the blog during the next three years until he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Journalism. He is on the board of Baltimore Student Media, a nonprofit that publishes Towson’s independent student newspaper, The Towerlight.

Host

Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings. 

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelZeldin




How To Make A PR Crisis Worse: An Abridged Trump Time Line Of The Twice-Impeached Former President’s Amateurish Publicity Failures, Including The Most Recent 

Arthur Solomon

I thought that my writing about the PR crises of Donald Trump would cease and that he would keep a low profile for at least several months after he lost the election in November. But I was wrong. Then I definitely thought he would keep a low profile after his encouragement of the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6. Again I was wrong.

Instead the ego-driven self-proclaimed “stable genius” decided to speak at the CPAC conference. His speech again revealed that Trump would flunk a course of PR 101 if it was given at his scam Trump University. The result of his speech was another PR crisis, proving that Trump is the PR crises gift that keeps on giving.

If in the future, historians categorize a list of political public relations crises that was made worse because of inept handling, several of President Donald J. Trump’s actions in 2020 certainly qualifies for being at the top of any list. In fact, an entire book could be devoted to the president’s amateurish PR 101 actions during the first six months of 2020. (It’s as if those advising Trump on public relations were drop-outs from Trump University.)

But even after he was defeated for reelection and fled to Florida the ineptness of his public relations skills became evident as his latest action again led to an unnecessary PR crisis — the revelation that he and his wife secretly received the coronavirus vaccine in January prior to leaving the White House. The news was kept secret until Trump urged people to get vaccinated when he spoke at the CPAC convention on February 28. 

The Handling Of The Coronavirus Pandemic Provides A Lesson On How Not To Make A PR Crisis Worse For All Types Of CrisesPublicly encouraging people to be vaccinated in January would have provided him with a modicum of favorable publicity. By keeping it secret for more than a month, as people continued to be infected by the virus and died, the result was another PR crisis disaster for Trump. His lack of alleged PR skills, that by now should be evident to everyone in our business, can occupy a wing of the Library of Congress. 

There are too many Trump PR flubs to write about. Certainly more than I can remember. But below are several ones that I believe led to the defeat of Trump’s re-election bid.

Trump’s inept handling of his first crisis of 2020 (he had many others PR problems previously during his presidency) occurred on January 22, when he said, “We have it totally under control…It’s going to be just fine.” 

Labeling the coronavirus a “hoax,” instead of immediately acknowledging it for what it  is and taking immediate steps to contain it transformed a problem that he did not create into one he now owns, which was used against him in the lead-up to the November presidential election, as were the other examples in this article. 

His second mistake was using military style action against peaceful protesters in order to clear a free path so he could stage a photo-op.

His third faulty PR attempt occurred on June 16, while the coronavirus continued its deadly march through the U.S., when the president had his justice department sue former national security adviser John Bolton, trying to stop publication of his former advisor’s memoir  about his time in the White House.

His fourth error was his inept attempt to damage the reputation of Dr. Fauci.

Here ‘s why I consider these four actions among the worst handling of PR crises  during the last few years; only the incompetent handling by Boeing and Wells-Fargo of their crises might challenge Trump for the public relations stupidity title.

The following are abridged reasons for my selections.

Trump’s coronavirus handling:

Trump’s original sin was denying that there was a coronavirus problem. But he exacerbated the situation by several of his actions:

  • On February 28, he said that the deadly coronavirus was a Democrat hoax. 
  • His press conferences were too long and were judged by many as a platform for him to replace his rallies. Most important, he   championed unproven scientific cures for the coronavirus. 
  • He contradicted his medical scientists.
  • He cut short the remarks of his medical scientists when he didn’t like what they were saying, and
  • He encouraged his followers to disobey safety rules set in place by governors of several states, still on-going, telling them to liberate your state. 

Trump’s protest handling:

His original sin in this situation was not permitting peaceful protests near the White House.

  • He exacerbated the situation by directing that the protesters be pushed back by use of force, including gas, rubber bullets and other means.
  • He advocated the use of U.S. military forces to quell protests. That resulted in numerous three and four star generals and admirals to criticize the president for saying that the military should be used against protesters.
  • He conducted a Sherman-like march to St. John’s Episcopal Church to stage a photo-op, and then to the John Paul II National Shrine for another photo op. In both instances he was criticized for using religion as a political tool by clergy of the church and shrine.
  • Even during his June 17 speech, which was supposed to address police violence, he announced several times that he was a law and order president and that the silent majority supported him and that some people didn’t even know that they supported law and order.

Trump’s handling of John Bolton’s book.

Trump’s original sin in this matter was his bad mouthing of Bolton, which led many people to believe that the president was blocking publication of the book, not because it contained classified information, as he said, but because Bolton didn’t praise Trump like Vice President Pence, Attorney  General Barr and the other presidential lackeys always did and still do. 

  • His attempt to stop publication of Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened” demonstrated a lack of media smarts when the president was enmeshed in a situation that he could not control.
  • His filing of a law suit after the books were already in stores and galleys were provided to book reviewers and political media was ill timed. The chance of the book’s contents not leaking, despite the lawsuit, was nil, and, of course, the leaks occurred and received major media coverage. Leaks from the book began even prior to the lawsuit. The president attacked the contents of the book, claiming it contained classified information that would compromise national security and that it was all lies, which raises the question, if it was all lies how could it damage national security? (After more than five years of listening to Trump denounce everyone and everything that he disagrees with by labeling them lies or fake news, it seems to me that the -president’s favorite readings might include the books and speeches of Adolph Hitler — on June 18 Facebook removed an ad from the Trump campaign targeting antifa and leftist groups because it included an inverted red triangle in a black outline, a symbol the Nazis used for political dissenters Benito Mussolini, Chairman Mao, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin ,and Idi Amin. Missing from his reading list obviously was “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by the Greek story teller Aesop.) 
  • By filing the lawsuit, it guaranteed that the sales of the book will be much greater than if Trump ignored it.

Trump’s attempt to damage Dr. Fauci’s reputation.

  • An article in the New York Times on July 13 detailed statements that Dr. Fauci made about the coronavirus that the White House said showed he was wrong. 
  • One example cited by the White House was from a February 29 interview during which Dr. Fauci said, “at this moment there is no need to change anything you’re doing on a day-to-day basis.” The Times article, as did other media outlets, pointed out that was not Dr. Fauci’s full statement, which said, “Right now the risk is still low, but this could change.” 
  • Disseminating misleading statements should never be done. Once they are fact checked and found to be false, whatever else you release will be treated with skepticism by the media.

What does the above actions by the former president show?

  • That he believes whatever he says and does will be accepted as the thinking of a “stable genius.”.”
  • That he flunked PR Crises 101.
  • That he is a hypocrite. By urging his followers to disobey shut down orders by governors of several states because of health concerns, Trump only believes in law and order when it helps him.
  • That “Trump The Media Genius” is a myth created by tabloids and cable TV networks, which catered to  Trump, not because of his PR savvy, but because it helped their ratings.
  • That as his keeping it a secret for more than a month about receiving the coronavirus vaccine reveals, his gut feelings about public relations are wrong.

There’s an important lesson from the above that people should remember: When things go smoothly, everyone is a star. But it is how an individual reacts during a PR crisis that shows real expertise. And President Trump responses to his PR crises demonstrate a lack of PR savvy and the temperament of a bully.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.




Trump & Cuomo: Different Politics, Different Approaches To PR Crises

Arthur Solomon

During my long PR career, I have had clients that have experienced PR crises nationally and also internationally, when I traveled as a media consultant worldwide with high-ranking government officials.

Also during my long PR career, I have always advised practitioners to pay close attention to the happenings on the political scene, because public relations tactics  are practiced there that are not in any PR texts or agency “how to” instruction guides.

But the differences of how the twice impeached former President Trump and Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State, handled their PR crises deserves its own chapter. Coincidentally, their major crises were about the same issue – their treatment of women.

Trump was confrontational to reporters when they asked an obvious question about a PR crisis that applied to him. He often would not answer the question, sometime abruptly ended the q and a session and would leave the room, would attempt to revoke the reporter’s White House press credentials and labeled any accusation “False News.” The result was that the confrontations between Trump and the media, except for his far right supporters, was a reoccurring saga during his presidency.

Cuomo’s initial response, in my opinion, was deficient. He denied the accusations and then said he would appoint an investigator to look into the charges. As with any entity appointing its own investigators to examine wrong-doings this was a major error, which he acknowledged when turning the investigation over to New York’s attorney-general, not an appointee of his.

After only issuing written statement for several days, on March 3, Cuomo finally did something correct. He held a press conference, apologized to the women who accused him of sexually harassing them and to the citizens of New York. Importantly, he then held a q and a session with reporters and answered questions without them being screened. 

During a PR crisis, I have always advised clients not to rush statements until the facts behind the situation are clearer because doing so ultimately leads to misinformation being disseminated. (Instead, I tell clients to say something like, “We’re looking into the situation and will get back to you once we have more details.”) Cuomo took that tact telling a reporter that except to apologize to anyone who felt harassed by his actions he’ll wait until the attorney-general completes her investigation before making other comments regarding the complaints against him.

Whether Cuomo’s mea culpa will save his job remains to be seen. But unlike Trump, who insisted I don’t have to apologize for anything because I never did anything wrong, at least Cuomo was able to admit that he is not infallible.

The Handling Of The Coronavirus Pandemic Provides A Lesson On How Not To Make A PR Crisis Worse For All Types Of CrisesThe great majority of people in our business will never have to deal with a PR crisis involving government officials. But whether you’re hawking “the best butter” or working on an account for a Fortune 500 company a crisis might occur.

Below are some important take-a-ways from the political scene that young PR people new to the crisis scene should heed when dealing with one. Ignoring them will make the crisis worse:

  • Tell the truth: Trump administration cohorts originally denying contacts with Russians, and Trump’s accusatory unproved tweets, led to Congressional investigating committees and continuing negative news coverage.
  • Limit replies to media stories: Attacking media coverage led to the media defending its coverage, resulting in additional stories rehashing the allegations.
  • Avoid the drip-by-drip method: After much denying contacts with Russians, Trump associates admitted, one-by-one, that they had contacts with the Russians. Being truthful from the beginning would have avoided the appearance of a cover-up.
  • Don’t have a press spokesperson who is antagonistic when asked media questions he/she doesn’t like: Instead of calmly disagreeing, Trump press secretaries too often attacked questioners for having an “agenda.” Personally attacking a reporter should be avoided. It accomplishes nothing and leads to a “you-against-me” atmosphere..
  • Limit exposure to the media: If you represent a company or individual in a PR crises limit media exposure to only when new and relevant information must be made public. Having frequent press conferences without new info to accommodate the press only results in the “old” negative news being rehashed, resulting in unkind stories. Trump continually held impromptu press questions with reporters on his way to boarding Marine One, often leading to “he said, she said” confrontations.
  • It’s the story that matters: Don’t expect soft ball questions from media buddies during a PR crisis despite having a past cordial relationship with them. Anticipate the questions and have prepared answers.
  • It’s the story that matters: Even publications that usually are in your client’s corner will run detailed negative stories during a media crisis. Don’t be pressured by your client to say that the information is inaccurate, unless you are willing to provide factual information backing up your claim.
  • It’s the venue that matters: Placing a CEO on friendly media to sugar coat a crises is tantamount to speaking to the choir. What is said is either discarded or scoffed at by neutral media.
  • Don’t Freelance Answers: Instead of giving incorrect information, which will led to additional negative questions and hurt the creditability of the spokesperson, it’s okay to tell a reporter, I’ll  check on it and get back to you. 

What young PR people should realize is that the above should apply to all engagements with the media, PR crisis or not.

Trump, as a candidate and president and his spokespersons have provided a living example of how to create a PR crisis and then make it worse day-by-day. For people in communications schools and those already in our business, paying close attention to the drama on the political scene should be required reading and watching. All the lecturing of PR professors and reading every text book on media crises can’t provide a better learning tool of what not to do.

I also am a firm believer that after a major PR crisis occurs an entity or individual should hold a press conference, not necessarily during the first day or two after the news breaks but definitely within the week, when circumstances might be clearer. It might not deter negative media coverage from continuing, but at the minimum it will dispel the appearance of a cover-up and has the possibility of gaining a modicum of favorable coverage if the spokesperson answers all the questions.

One of the most asked question by a client during a PR crisis is how can you stop the negative overage? Of course, any honest PR advisor would tell clients that getting the press to stop negative coverage is impossible until the situation is resolved. And even then the crisis becomes part of the client’s DNA and can be revived as examples during others’ PR crises.  “Look forward” is what I would tell clients. “Don’t make excuses. Explain why the problem occurred and how you are going to fix it. And when it’s fixed, make a big deal about what you did.”


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




The Trump Impeachment Trial: The Case For and Against Conviction

 

Former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg joins host Michael Zeldin as they deconstruct the case “for” and “against” impeachment of former President Donald Trump on the latest episode of THAT SAID WITH MICHAEL ZELDIN.

Guest

Chuck Rosenberg, Former U.S. Attorney

Chuck Rosenberg held numerous senior positions in the United States Department of Justice –as the United States Attorney in both the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Texas, as the senior counselor for national security to one Director of the FBI, and as the Chief of Staff to another FBI Director, as counselor to the Attorney General of the United States, as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and as the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration –a position from which he resigned in 2017.

Chuck joined the Department of Justice directly out of law school, through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, and quickly found the job he enjoyed most -as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, both in Norfolk and Alexandria. There, he tried dozens of criminal cases before juries and briefed and argued many of those cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Chuck prosecuted complex financial fraud crimes, public corruption, violent crimes, and national security cases.

Chuck currently works as a legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC, as a senior counsel for a Washington, D.C. law firm, and as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, where he teaches National Security Law and Policy at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. He is a graduate of Tufts University (BA), Harvard University (MPP), and the University of Virginia (JD). Chuck is also the host of the acclaimed podcast, The Oath, with seven million downloads, and counting.

Host

Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings. 

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelZeldin




Impeach, Indict, Heal? A Discussion of Post-Trump Washington

 

Joe Lockhart, White House Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton, and Former Congressman Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District. join Michael Zeldin for this timely conversation about the second impeachment of Donald J. Trump.

Guests

Joe Lockhart, White House Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton

Joe Lockhart is perhaps best known for his service as White House Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2000, during which time he managed daily press briefings, provided senior counsel to the President, and managed communications through the President’s impeachment proceedings. Long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas called him “a straight shooter,” and “one of the best it’s been my honor to work with;” Susan Page at USA Today found Lockhart “direct, well-informed and trusted;” and former CBS White House correspondent Peter Maer said “if Joe Lockhart knows anything, it’s how to control a narrative.”

Lockhart developed his knack for steering the conversation during his early career as an award-winning journalist, political strategist and public-relations consultant. Lockhart held posts as Assignment Editor at ABC News, Deputy Assignment Manager for CNN, and foreign producer reporting on the Gulf War for Skye News. He served as a press secretary for the presidential campaigns of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, an aide to Senator Paul Simon, a senior advisor to the John Kerry campaign, and an Executive Vice President at Bozell Sawyer Miller, where he advised a range of high-profile corporations and institutions on media relations and political strategy.

Lockhart is the founding partner and managing director of the Glover Park Group (GPG), a Washington, D.C. communications strategy firm. Under Lockhart’s leadership, GPG earned a reputation for providing its wide range of corporate and non-profit clients (including Microsoft, Visa and the National Football League) with agile crisis management, astute public affairs, policy, advertising and marketing counsel, and cutting-edge opinion research.

In 2011 Lockhart was named Vice President of Global Communications at Facebook, just as the rapidly-expanding enterprise was preparing to go public. Lockhart helped the company mitigate initial public backlash to its IPO, take ownership of its story, and refortify its brand.

In 2013, Lockhart returned to GPG, where that vision payed immediate dividends, in the form of a major expansion and move to a new headquarters. At GPG, he spearheaded the National Football League’s response to a series of public challenges. In 2016 the NFL named Lockhart Executive Vice President overseeing Communications, Government Affairs, Social Responsibility and Philanthropy. A graduate of Georgetown University, Joe is a native of New York City, New York. Follow Joe on Twitter: @joelockhart

 

Charlie Dent, Former Congressman, Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District

Congressman Charlie Dent currently serves as a Senior Policy Advisor to DLA Piper where he provides strategic advice and counsel to clients on the federal, state and local levels on issues ranging from appropriations, healthcare, defense and veterans, homeland security, infrastructure and energy to international investment, trade and commerce.  In addition to his role with DLA Piper, Congressman Dent is a Political Analyst for CNN, a Visiting Fellow for the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN), Perry World House and a Distinguished Advisor for Pew Charitable Trusts.

Prior to those positions, Congressman Dent served 7 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.  During his time in Congress, Congressman Dent distinguished himself as a strong, independent leader who is well respected on both sides of the aisle.  Congressman Dent was a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee where he chaired the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.  Additionally, he served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Ethics from 2015 – 2017.  In addition to his role as a senior Appropriator, Congressman Dent was the co-chair of the Tuesday Group, a caucus of more than 50 center-right Republicans, where he played an important role in many of the most challenging policy and political issues confronted by Congress.  Congressman Dent was a member of the Speaker of the House’s weekly cross section lunch and was a member of the Majority Leader’s Chairman’s Table.

Before his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Dent served for 6 years in the Pennsylvania State Senate and 8 years in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Congressman Dent holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Service and International Politics from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Lehigh University.  In 2015, Moravian College conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws upon Congressman Dent.  Follow Charlie on Twitter: @RepCharlieDent

Host

Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings. 

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelZeldin




OP-ED: Joe Biden’s Exigent Task: Cleaning Up Trump’s Quagmire. It Won’t be Easy. The Outgoing President Has Polluted Our Politics And Added To The Swamp

Author’s Note: This is the 18th in a series of occasional political columns that I wrote for CommPRO.biz  until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI: My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this final column of the series, I write about how history will remember the 2020 election and how Trump’s actions were similar to those of Adolph Hitler.)

Arthur Solomon

At 12 noon on January 20, President-elect Joe Biden became President Joe Biden. He has inherited many problems from his incompetent, delusional, egotistic, self- absorbed and fabulist predecessor that he will have to solve. The one that most immediately affects all Americans is stopping the spread of the coronavirus. But his most difficult task will be having the American public regain trust in America’s political institutions.

Despite President Trump’s evil and divisive efforts, democracy held. His attempted coup failed. But the results of his immoral and corrupt conduct, aided by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy over the past four years, will remain part of America for years. 

Joe Biden is now the president of the U.S., but the 2020 election proved that our democracy is fragile, as the overwhelming number of GOP elected officials stood mute while a fabulist, dictatorial-inclined president claimed that the election was rigged and stolen from him, even as more than 60 court filings were rejected for lack of evidence.

History will remember the 2020 election as the one that came thisclose to transforming the U.S. from a democratic republic into a dictatorial banana republic with Trump as the big enchilada. History will also remember Trump as the president who golfed while hundreds of thousands people died from Covid-19 and millions more suffered economically while the president probably cheated on his score card.

As Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University wrote in the December 10 New York Times, it wasn’t the written Constitution that blocked President Trump. It was our unwritten Constitution. “What really saved the Republic from Mr. Trump was a different set of limits on the executive: an informal and unofficial set of institutional norms upheld by federal prosecutors, military officers and state elections officials. You might call these values our “unwritten constitution.” Whatever you call them, they were the decisive factor,” he wrote.

The lies of President Trump, Rudy Giuliani and other Trumpists will be remembered for causing Americans to distrust the facets of our government, many of which are to protect us from foreign and American disinformation efforts. History will record Trump as the president who created mistrust in America’s elections, its election officials, courts, the FBI, CIA and any facet of media that opposes him. 

In addition, the impeached, disgraced, delusional president has blood on his hands for his inept handling of the coronavirus and discarding the advice of his administration’s own medical scientists by holding rallies and other ceremonies devoid of mask wearing and social distancing, and by convincing his followers to follow his advice rather than their state governors and medical experts. As of this writing on January 20, more than 400,000 Americans have died from the disease on his watch. According to many medical scientists, that’s a low figure; many more have died from Covid-19 that has not officially been reported, they say.

The thoroughly defeated former President Trump could help restore confidence in our government by telling his followers that he was wrong and that the election was fairly conducted. (But admitting failure is not in his DNA. Lying and finding scapegoats is.)

The election of Joe Biden, in our history books, will take a back seat to the propaganda techniques used by Trump, who copied the Nazi playbook that eventfully gave Hitler control of the German government and overthrew the democratic Weimer Republic in the 1930’s. 

In 2015, during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s campaign tactics mirrored those of Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, his minister of propaganda for the German Third Reich. Trump, as did the Nazi regime, falsely accused all who opposed him of being criminals, communists, socialists and enemies of the state. Trump, as did the Nazis, called for the jailing of his political opponents. He made the Nazi’s Big Lie and Fake News accusations a cornerstone of his presidency. Once Trump became president his autocratic beliefs became apparent to all but his fanatic adherents. (The pro-Trumpers that I personally know blindly dismissed his fracturing of American democracy, even though Trump made no effort to hide his intentions by demanding complete loyalty from those in his government, even if it meant disregarding the Constitution and breaking laws.)

Sorrowfully, the overwhelming majority of Republican congressmen failed to stand up for democracy during the four years of his deplorable reign. Sorrowfully, the overwhelming majority of Republican senators failed to stand up for democracy during the four years of his deplorable reign. Sorrowfully, most civilian supporters of Trump, as well as GOP elected officials, turned a blind eye to organizations like Republican Voters against Trump and The Lincoln Project that warned of his autocratic tendencies. 

Americans and a majority of the elected Republican’s in the House, 106 of them, and 17 GOP state attorney generals supported Trump’s efforts to overthrow an election in which Joe Biden won many more electoral votes and more than seven million more popular votes than Trump. That’s scary. It proves that there are a large percentage of Americans and elected officials who are willing to back an autocratic candidate and that our democracy should not be taken for granted. The Weimer Republic took their democracy for granted and it resulted in Hitler taking over what was a democratic government. It happened in Germany It can happen here. It almost did.

It wasn’t until after the Electoral College voted for Biden on December 14 that leading Republican members of the Senate went public and acknowledged that Biden was the president-elect. But by then the damage that Trump had done to American democracy over the past four years was evident: Democratic members of the Electoral College had to meet in secure facilities, and needed police protection from Trump fanatics who threatened them, so that they could fulfill their constitutional obligations.

Apologists for the silence of the GOP leadership, until after the Electoral College voting was concluded, say “better late than not.” My take is that the Republican’s not acknowledging that Biden was constitutionally elected for almost six weeks after November 3 is that their finally speaking up is “better late than never,” but they now have the stain of Trump markers in their DNA for contributing to the distrust of American institutions both prior to, during and after the election.

Even worse was Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric that led to the storming of Congress on January 6 during the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes. It was the low point of his attempted coup to change the United States from a democratic republic to a country ruled by a deranged autocratic would-be ruler. There were many actions during his flawed presidency that Trump deserves to be legally punished for. Hopefully, he will be.

Before the 2020 election, many anti-Trumpers worried that the damage Trump has done to American democracy might be impossible to repair if he is reelected. A major task of Joe Biden will be to convince the American public to not believe in Trump’s “dark state” and to trust the government. It will not be easy. It will probably take more than the four years of his presidency. But if trust cannot again be regained, our democracy will remain as fragile as it was under Trump.

During World War 2, Americans came together to defeat the Axis of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and the empire of Japan, in a war that threatened to put the world under the control of totalitarian governments. 

Beginning right now, Americans must come together to erase the totalitarian poisonous weeds that have sprouted under the Trump presidency. It must be rooted out never to grow again. And it must start right now.

In a previous column, I compared some of Trump’s actions to characters in William Shakespeare’s dramas. But there’s a more modern play that I saw whose protagonist reminds me of President Trump. It is “The Madness of George III” on Broadway in 1993. It is a fictionalized play by Alan Bennett, which imagines the battle the king who lost America had with mental illness during the last half of his reign. As I recall the comedy-drama, the lead character reminds me of Donald John Trump, whose delusional 

actions during the last days of his presidency, from November 3 to January 20, will surely be recreated in movies and Broadway plays, as well as being the subject of medical books written by psychiatrists who study people with abnormal personality disorders.

Some months ago, a pro-Trump relative of mine said, “No matter what you think of Trump politically, don’t you agree that he has to be respected because of the office he holds?” “Not respecting the person doesn’t men disrespecting the office of the president,” I replied, “and I most definitely do not respect the current office holder.”

Along the same vein, some right wing pundits are now saying that prosecuting Trump for illegal activities once he leaves office would make the United States similar to the banana republic that so many anti-Trumpers accuse the president’s actions of imitating. I reject that fallacious argument. After Trump attempted to rule like an autocrat and destroy American democracy, I believe that if the evidence shows him committing crimes he should be held to the same standard of justice as anyone else. (A good argument can be made that he should be held to a higher standard because he committed crimes against the U.S. as president.)

Dramatizations show the British playing the tune “The World Turned Upside Down” after surrendering at Yorktown, the pivotal battle of the U.S. Revolutionary War.

While there is no historical record proving the above is more than a fable, there is overwhelming current evidence showing that President Donald John Trump created a universe in which “The World (was) Turned Upside Down” during his presidency. His legacy will be that of a president who believes lies are truth and truth are lies, that honest elections are rigged and those who conduct honest elections are thieves, that lawbreakers are patriots and true patriots who uphold the Constitution are the law breakers.

As I remember his presidency, there are too many of what are his most reprehensible actions to list them in one article.  So, I’ll just nominate the one that I believe deserves to top the list: Donald John Trump’s numerous attempts to change the United States from a constitutional democratic republic into an autocratic country ruled by a delusional, egotistic, deranged, dangerous, dishonest, scam artist would-be dictator.

Even before he was inaugurated, on January 19 the difference between a Biden and Trump administration was seen by millions of Americans who tuned in to witness the tribute to the 400,000 Americans who died of Covid-19. Whereas Trump had to be the center of every TV event, Biden spoke for only several seconds, letting the memorial ceremony speak for it self.

The stark difference between the new and former president was also evident during Biden’s acceptance speech on January 20. Biden’s talk was delivered in a calm manner, asking for Americans to unite. Trump’s speeches were always confrontational, accusing his opponents of being enemies of the state that were out to destroy him and America, saying that “only I can save the country.”

The twice-impeached Trump began his campaign for the presidency with a lie on June 16, 2016, by accusing Mexico of sending people bringing drugs, criminals and rapists to the U.S. 

At 10:30 a.m. on January 20, the Associated Press reported, “In his final remarks as president, Donald Trump tried to take credit for accomplishments of his predecessor and even those to come under President Joe Biden. 

Falsehoods suffused his farewell remarks Wednesday morning and the night before, though he was spot on with this: “We were not a regular administration,” said the article.

Trump began his quest for the presidency with a lie and ended it by telling more that 3500 lies, according to the Washington Post fact checkers. (Regardless what you think of him no one can say that he was inconsistent.)

President Biden’s inauguration ended the most shameful episode in U.S. history. There have been awful presidents, good presidents, so so presidents and great presidents. There have been honest presidents and dishonest presidents. But not until President Trump has there been a president who attempted a coup in order to remain in office after losing an election. 

While this is the last in the series of political columns that I have authored until the swearing in of President Joe Biden, stayed tuned. Surely Trump’s post-president activities will lend itself to future columns. And he must be watched. He was a danger to our democracy while in office, and still is, just as Hitler was when he was jailed.

German history shows that Hitler was jailed for treason in 1924 but when he was released he continued his campaign to radicalize the German people. I have no doubt that from his Redoubt not far from the Everglades swamp, filled with alligators, snakes and other dangerous species, with die-hard slimy Trump supporters nearby adding to the danger, the disgraced former president will continue his quest to undermine American democracy.

While I don’t wish him ill health, if there is such a place as Political Hell, he should be confined there forever.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.




Analyzing Trump’s Second Impeachment with Congressman Eric Swalwell & Professor Michael J. Gerhardt

 

Join THAT SAID podcast host Michael Zeldin for this timely conversation about the second impeachment of Donald J. Trump.  Michael’s guests are Congressman Eric Swalwell, House Impeachment Manager, and Professor Michael J. Gerhardt, Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina School of Law.  

Guests

Congressman Eric Swalwell

Growing up in what now is California’s Fifteenth Congressional District taught Eric Swalwell a lot about hard work, strong principles, and planning for a brighter future.

The oldest of four boys and son to Eric Sr., a retired police officer, and Vicky, who works as an administrative assistant, Swalwell was raised and attended public schools in the East Bay. A Division I soccer scholarship was his ticket to becoming the first person in his family to go to college. During college, he worked as an unpaid intern in the office of his representative, Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, and so was on Capitol Hill on September 11, 2001. This inspired his first legislative achievement: using his Student Government Association position to create a public-private college scholarship program for students who lost parents in the attacks.

After earning undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Maryland, he returned to the East Bay to serve as a prosecutor in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for seven years.  He also served as chairman of the Dublin Heritage & Cultural Arts Commission, on the Dublin Planning Commission, and was elected to the Dublin City Council.

Eric Swalwell in 2012 was elected to represent California’s Fifteenth Congressional District, which includes a large part of the East Bay. Now in his fourth term, he’s working hard to bring new energy, ideas, and a problem-solving spirit to Congress, with a focus on advancing policies that support equality, opportunity, and security.

Congressman Swalwell serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and believes protecting Americans is Congress’ most solemn duty. He chairs the Intelligence Modernization and Readiness Subcommittee, which oversees overall management of the Intelligence Community: the policies and programs focused on making sure that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have the workforce, infrastructure and services they need to succeed. This involves fostering greater collaboration and better use of resources across the entire Intelligence Community in personnel management, security clearance reform, information technology modernization, and other areas.

He also serves on the House Judiciary Committee, where his experience as a prosecutor and as a son and brother of law enforcement officers informs his perspective on criminal justice reform while he also address issues including voting rights, LGBT equality, comprehensive immigration reform, and protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. 

A leader in the House, he is co-chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which makes committee assignments and sets the caucus’ policy agenda. He also founded and is chairman emeritus of Future Forum, a group of almost 50 young Democratic Members of Congress focused on issues and opportunities for millennial Americans including student loan debt and home ownership. 

But in keeping with his promise to work across the aisle, in his first term, Congressman Swalwell co-founded the bipartisan United Solutions Caucus to bring new Members together; the group meets regularly to advance common-sense solutions and overcome the partisan divide. And in his second term, Swalwell cofounded the bipartisan Sharing Economy Caucus to explore how this burgeoning new economic sector can benefit more Americans.

Congressman Swalwell’s first-term legislative accomplishments include two of his bills signed into law – tied for the most bills signed from any freshman Member of his class – including one that incentivized charitable giving after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines. And, while serving on the Homeland Security Committee in his first term, he led a successful effort opposing a TSA proposal to allow certain knives aboard airplanes and advocated for enhancing airport perimeter security with innovative technological solutions.

Even while addressing national and international issues, Congressman Swalwell remains rooted in the region he represents. He flies home almost every weekend, and has been a leader in adopting social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as well as technology like Skype to stay in constant contact with constituents.  

 

Professor Michael J. Gerhardt, Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina School of Law

Michael Gerhardt joined the Carolina Law faculty in 2005 and serves as the Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence. His teaching and research focuses on constitutional conflicts between presidents and Congress. Gerhardt is the author of seven books, including “Lincoln’s Mentors” (Harper Collins, 2021), and leading treatises on impeachment, appointments, presidential power, Supreme Court precedent, and separation of powers. He has written more than a hundred law review articles and dozens of op eds in the nation’s leading news publications, including SCOTUSblog, The New York Times, and Washington Post. His book, The Forgotten Presidents (Oxford University Press 2013), was named by The Financial Times as one of the best non-fiction books of 2013. He was inducted into the American Law Institute in 2016. Gerhardt attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he graduated order of the coif and served as a research assistant to both Phil Kurland and Cass Sunstein and as one of the two student editors of The Supreme Court Review. After law school, he clerked for Chief District Judge Robert McRae of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Tennessee and Judge Gilbert Merritt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He served as Deputy Media Director of Al Gore’s first Senate campaign, practiced law for three years for two boutique litigation firms in Washington and Atlanta, and taught for more than a decade at William & Mary Law School before joining Carolina Law.

Gerhardt’s extensive public service has included his testifying more than 20 times before Congress, including as the only joint witness in the Clinton impeachment proceedings in the House; speaking behind closed doors to the entire House of Representatives about the history of impeachment in 1998; serving as special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee for seven of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices; and as one of four constitutional scholars called by the House Judiciary Committee during President Trump’s impeachment proceedings. During the Clinton and Trump impeachment proceedings, Gerhardt served as an impeachment expert for CNN. In 2015, he became the first legal scholar to be asked by the Library of Congress to serve as its principal adviser in revising the official United States Constitution Annotated. In 2019, the Order of the Coif named Gerhardt as its Distinguished Visitor for 2020, an award given to only one law professor each year for outstanding legal scholarship.

 

Host

Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings. 

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelZeldin

 

 




The Content of His Character: Reflections on Donald J. Trump on MLK Day

Helio Fred Garcia

Today we commemorate the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

On this day it is important to note that the man who for two more days is the sitting president has spent nearly a decade systematically attacking the very dream Dr. King described in his 1963 Lincoln Memorial Speech.

 

National Archives, Public Domain

 

Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency were themed to evoke an America before the civil rights wins that began to dismantle some of the worst abuses of the Jim Crow era. And it happened right before our eyes, as Trump embraced white supremacist policies and normalized white nationalism.

And twelve days ago, on the Elipse just a mile from the Lincoln Memorial, Trump inspired a crowd filled with white supremacists to invade the U.S. Capitol, where some hoped to assassinate the Vice President and Speaker of the House. 

 

Capitol police in the House chamber protecting members of Congress.

 

That evening, after watching the Capitol assault on television, Trump told the attackers, “We love you. You’re very special.”

Dancing with White Supremacists

In my latest book, Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It, I track what I call Trump’s dance with white supremacists. Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump has followed a recognizable pattern: He signals to white supremacists, and they signal back. Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, has frequently referred to it as a “wink-wink-wink” relationship.

It began nearly ten years ago, when private citizen Trump addressed the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and declared he would run in 2012 to unseat President Barack Obama. He revived the long-discredited birther conspiracy that Obama was secretly Kenyan and Muslim. This got the attention of white supremacists. He continued pounding the birther theme for six years, straight through to the last month of his 2016 campaign. 

White supremacists perked up even more in his 2015 campaign launch when Trump declared that Mexicans are rapists, when he called for a wall on the southern border, and when he later promoted a total and complete ban of Muslims entering the United States.

In early 2016 Former Klan leader David Duke endorsed Trump and urged his followers to volunteer for his campaign. He said, “Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.”

In late August 2016, Trump named Breitbart News co-founder Stephen Bannon to lead the Trump campaign. Bannon had previously said that Breitbart was the “platform for the alt-right.” The phrase “alt-right” was coined in 2010 by Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who later was one of the Charlottesville organizers, as a less menacing phrase for white nationalism. After the election Trump named Bannon his senior White House strategist. In this way, the alt-right had a direct channel into the White House.

God Emperor of White Supremacists

On the day Trump was declared president, white supremacists celebrated and took credit for putting him in office.

The Daily Stormer wrote:

“We won, brothers. All of our work. It has paid off. Our Glorious Leader has ascended to God Emperor. Make no mistake about it: we did this. If it were not for us, it wouldn’t have been possible… And the great news is, we’re going to be given credit for it.”

David Duke tweeted:

“This is one of the most exciting nights of my life -> make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump! #MAGA”

Richard Spencer tweeted:

“For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback. #Trump.”

Making Whiteness Great Again

Ten days after the election, in an auditorium of the Ronald Reagan Office Building several blocks from the White House, Spencer addressed the white nationalist group he ran. He said, 

“We willed Donald Trump into office. We made this dream our reality. . .  And this Trumpian dream is only the beginning . . .  We demand to live in the world that we imagine… For us it is conquer or die. This is a unique burden for the white man, that our fate is entirely in our hands… That is the great struggle we are called to. We are not meant to live in shame and weakness and disgrace. We were not meant to beg for moral validation from some of the most despicable creatures to ever populate the planet. We were meant to overcome—overcome all of it. Because that is natural and normal for us. Because for us, as Europeans, it is only normal again when we are great again.”

Spencer closed his speech with a rousing call,

“Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory.”

Spencer raised a glass up high with his right hand, in an apparent toast. Members of the audience rose and gave a Nazi salute extending their right arm out to the front. One man gave the salute multiple times, shouting “Sieg Heil!” – literally, “Hail Victory” in German.

In August of Trump’s first year Richard Spencer, David Duke, and other white supremacist leaders organized the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. 

Trump and others insisted that the Charlottesville protest was about the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. But it was much more.

On its website, The Daily Stormer admitted that the Charlottesville protest was not simply about a statue:

“Although the rally was initially planned in support of the Lee Monument, which the Jew Mayor and his Negroid Deputy have marked for destruction, it has become something much bigger than that. It is now an historic rally, which will serve as a rallying point and battle cry for the rising alt-right movement.”

One of the organizers, Michael Hill, president of the white nationalist group League of the South, tweeted to his followers:

“If you want to defend the South and Western civilization from the Jew and his dark-skinned allies, be at Charlottesville on 12 August.”

The Daily Stormer posted on its Facebook page:

“Next stop: Charlottesville, VA. Final stop: Auschwitz.”

“Battle cry” is not a casual reference. The Daily Stormer live-posted during the protest, including this:

“THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A WAR! WE HAVE AN ARMY”

After counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed by a neo-Nazi, President Trump said that there was hatred and bigotry on many sides. The Daily Stormer wrote:

“Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate… on both sides! So he implied the antifa are haters. There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all. He said he loves us all. Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.”

Two days later President Trump said there were “very fine people, on both sides,” David Duke tweeted a thank-you to the President.

Daryl Johnson, former domestic terrorism expert at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, wrote a Washington Post column in which he noted the alignment of the white supremacist agenda and Trump’s policies and priorities:

“Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, militia extremists, and other radical right-wing zealots march side-by-side at pro-Trump rallies across the country. Trump’s endorsement of the border wall, the travel ban, mass deportations of illegal immigrants — these ideas were touted on white supremacist message boards merely 10 years ago. Now they’re being put forth as official U.S. policy. Such controversial plans have placated white supremacists and anti-government extremists and will draw still more sympathetic individuals toward these extremist causes along with the sort of violent acts that too often follow, like Charlottesville.”

Fifteen days before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump declared himself to be a nationalist. He addressed a rally crowd and said,

“You know, they have a word, it sort of became old fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am, I’m a nationalist, OK. I’m a nationalist. Nationalist! Use that word!”

The following year, when Trump called for four congresswomen of color to “go back to where you came from,” The Daily Stormer wrote,

“This is the kind of WHITE NATIONALISM we elected him for.”

The Final Days

In Trump’s final days in office the twice-impeached president has said he will not attend the inauguration, which Twitter interpreted as,

“[E]ncouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a ‘safe’ target, as he will not be attending.”

And now Trump has an army: groups of white supremacists – Proud Boys, Boogaloo movement, QAnon, and others – who are mobilizing to replicate what happened on January 6. The FBI is warning about possible violent armed attacks on the January 20 inauguration and on symbolic targets in all 50 states. 

 

A scaffold with a hangman’s noose assembled outside the Capitol on January 6.

 

The Lincoln Memorial is locked down, as is the National Mall up to the Capitol, protected by fences, razor wire, and more than 25,000 national guard troops in full combat gear including automatic weapons. 

The Dream, Deferred

Dr. King’s dream was that we would judge people by the content of their character. 

At the end of the Trump presidency, we see that he fails the character test. The tone is set from the top. Trump has spent a decade trying to dismantle Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy. In his celebration of white supremacists and glorification of violence, he is the very antithesis of Dr. King. 

 

 


Helio Fred Garcia discusses: Contrasts in Leadership: Cuomo v. TrumpAbout the Author: About the Author: Helio Fred Garcia is the president of Logos Consulting Group, and teaches crisis management, ethics, leadership, and communication at both New York University and Columbia University. His most recent book is Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It.

 




Tuition-Free PR Lessons You Could Have Learned From The Political Scene By Watching Trump, Biden, Pelosi, Cuomo and Fauci

(Author’s Note: This is the 15th in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll  be writing for CommPRO.biz  until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI: My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column I write about PR lessons from the political arena that are transferable to none political agency accounts.)

Arthur Solomon

Despite the more than four years of his inflammatory rhetoric; despite his more than four years choreographing the mob action which led to the storming of the Capitol on January 6; despite his much more than 22,000 lies that he has told without shame; despite his slandering any person who didn’t follow his depraved, decadent, corrupt and wicked leadership, there were important lessons that PR people who paid attention to the political scene  could transfer to their none political agency clients. And the lessons came from the voices of the five most significant persons in the political arena during 2020 and, thus far, in 2021 – President-elect Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and from President Trump himself. 

Public RelationsMy first PR job was with a political agency, where I worked on campaigns ranging from local to statewide and a couple of presidential elections before deciding that I didn’t want to spend my life being asked to promote candidates and their positions that I didn’t agree with. During my days at the political agency, when I told the owner of my negative feelings about a candidate, he always said, “If you don’t agree with a candidate, let me know. I’ll never ask you to go against your beliefs.” But the most relevant factor in my leaving the political world behind was the early death of the firm’s owner, the most generous, creative and caring PR individual I’ve ever known in a cut-throat industry not known for the niceness of its top brass and their lower-level group supervisor lackeys.

So when I was asked to head up the publicity arm of a nonpolitical agency after his death, I jumped at it. There were important PR lessons from my political days that I incorporated into my work at my new agency, where I toiled for 10 years before being recruited by Burson-Marsteller, where I spent almost 25 years.  

The most important of the PR political lessons I utilized was to not follow the run-of-the-mill PR tenets that were created eons ago and still are 

taught in communications schools. When considering tactics, I always attempt to think out of the box, and still do. (FYI: I never attended a communications school. In college, I majored in English and minored in philosophy and history, believing those courses would expand my ways of thinking. I did take a few journalism causes toward the end of my college days, because they were easy, but my best journalism lessons were self-learned, from reading seven newspapers a day and studying different approaches to story telling The school I attended didn’t have a public relations course. Those of us who were interested in PR learned it by what I still consider the best way – purchasing an inexpensive book that details PR approaches, pay attention to how PR problems of individuals and entities are covered by the media and, most important, using common sense.)

But for people in our business without the ability to think creatively, there are nuts and bolts take-a-ways from the past year’s political landscape that doesn’t require a person to be inventive in order to use them.

Below are a few PR lessons from the five people who dominated and influenced the political media scene in 2020 and who I consider provided valuable PR tutorials that were not taught in communications schools — Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo and Anthony Fauci. 

President Trump: No matter how you feel about Donald Trump’s politics he stood out from the crowd by being different. It helped him get elected as well as being the reason for his unsuccessful reelection attempt.

The main take-a-way from him was not to lie; to always tell the truth. His constant lying damaged his reputation with the media. During his four years, whatever he said was fact checked for accuracy and proven wrong more than 22,000 times. Closely following and damaging to him was his thinking that he is always the smartest person in the room and denigrated the advice of his own medical scientists regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, perhaps the major reason for his defeat, as well as disregarding advice from close associates.

Lesson To Remember: Once you lose creditability with the media it’s gone forever. Don’t lie. And never assume that your title means that you know more than those who report to you, or that you are the smartest person in the room.

President-elect Biden: He proved that just because you are not promoted you should continue to do your best. For Biden, the third time was the charm. He previously ran for president two to other times before being nominated in 2019 and winning the presidency in 2020. Importantly, Biden also was not adverse to seeking the support of his primary opponents and rewarding them. Unlike Trump, he never assumed he knew more than the medical scientists during the election campaign. And all during the primary and general election campaigns, Biden did what many PR people do not do: In every speech and presser, he always restated his talking points, which every PR person should do.

Lesson To Remember: In our business, it is not unusual for an individual who is passed over to reach the heights at another agency. That because it’s important to remember that more often than not, the true ability of an individual is often clouded by the group concept and office politics. Another lesson learned from Biden is to not hold a grudge against others seeking the same promotion you are. Ours is a small world, and the person you disparage today might be the individual that can help you another day.

Rep. Pelosi: Unlike President Trump, Ms. Pelosi acted like a confident leader. She was never afraid to share the spotlight with others in her caucus and defended the right of others to state their opinions even if they disagreed with her, again unlike President Trump who belittled and fired those who expressed an opposing viewpoint.

Lesson To Remember: Never attempt to stifle the opinions of people you supervise who have a different opinion than yours regarding tackling a PR problem; they might be correct. Also, belittling those under your supervision accomplishes nothing. A true leader doesn’t resort to threats or humiliating others, as President Trump has done from the first day that he announced for the presidency until today. Instead of denigrating others, offer to help. (Unfortunately, in our business, many supervisors cannot offer to help because they attain their positions because of office politics, not because of their PR smarts. That’s the dirty secret agencies attempt to keep from clients.)

Governor Cuomo: The way Gov. Cuomo handled his pressers should be used as a template for every press conference. Unlike too many press conferences where one individual wants to be the star (remember Trump at his pressers where he contradicted others who said something that differed from his script?), Cuomo always permitted others to share the spotlight.

Lesson to Remember: During a press conference, reporters want new information. The more speakers who can deliver information the greater chance of the press conference achieving its purpose – getting out the company message. 

Dr. Fauci: From his first talk about the coronavirus to his most recent, Dr. Fauci did what every PR person should do: Not be afraid to change their mind if a program is not working. As the science changed, so did Dr. Fauci’s advice. I believe that at a certain point, a PR person should tell the client that the approved program is not receiving the desired results and should suggest ways to amend the program. In my long PR experience, too many PR people are fearful of letting a client know that the plan is not working.

Lesson to Remember: Letting the client know of problems is a must. There are few things worse than letting a client think everything is on track when it is derailing.

Perhaps the most important lessons that PR people should take-a-way from the political scene is to avoid doing what Trump did – making promises to clients that he could not keep or had no intention of keeping.

Early in his tenure he promised to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it and kept insisting that they would. That was a promise he should not have made because he had no control over Mexico. But most damning was a promise that he made on January 6 – the day his supporters stormed the Capitol – that he had no intention of keeping, when he said he would join the march to the Capitol. Instead, he retreated to the safety of the White House and watched the onslaught on a TV set.

All of the above lessons from the political scene are transferable to none political client agency accounts. As in 2020 and prior years, 2021 will provide additional tactics that were never taught in communication school classes. Pay attention. There are definitely lessons to be learned – and used.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




Op-Ed: Things We Learned From The Trump Presidency

Politics Aside, He Is A Truly Terrible Person

(Author’s Note: This is the 14th in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll  be writing for CommPRO.biz  until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI: My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column I write about Trump’s personality and lack of character and the appalling reaction to the president’s autocratic actions by the Republicans in Congress.)

Arthur Solomon

In a few days from today, on Wednesday, January 20, Donald John Trump’s depraved presidency will come to an end at noon and president-elect Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States.

Future generations will have to wait until presidential historians write books about the years of the Trump Administration, between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021,(unless he steps down sooner) to understand why he was beloved by many citizens but loathed by so many more. 

But for those of us who have lived and observed Trump, the first draft of what historians will say about his administration has been written and told by journalists on a daily basis. Despite the claims by Trump and his followers that what is reported is “Fake News,” the “Fake News” is Trump’s claim that it is “Fake News.” We have witnessed it daily as it happened, on TV, and it has been preserved on tape for both you and historians of the future to see.

In his “Julius Caesar,” William Shakespeare wrote, “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” In Trump’s case, there will be very little good to be interred and much evil that lives on after him.

There are so many negative and illegal things that we have learned about Trump that it would take more than an entire wing of the Library of Congress to catalogue them. (Alcatraz might be more appropriate for a Trump Library.)

Until January 6, when he egged on his supporters to storm Congress during their counting of the Electoral College votes, I thought that the more than 22,000 proven lies he has told would provide the most important basic research for Trump biographers. Now, his leading an insurrection will surely be their main theme.

Instead of rewriting what happened, present and past, I’ll just list several of the most important and obvious lessons to be remembered about Trump and his administration.

The lessons:

The two most important ones were: 

  • That despite his supporters insisting that Trump is a reality game showman, he was much more. He was the producer of an insurrection, and,
  • He couldn’t have done it alone.

Also,

  • His own self-interest was always his number one priority.
  • He had no respect for democratic traditions.
  • He ruled by fear.
  • He is a crook.
  • He could not take criticism.
  • He believes that he is the smartest individual on earth.
  • He is incapable of not lying.

(An October 10, 2017 Bloomberg Opinion article by Timothy L. O’Brien, said of Trump: “He believes that he is the smartest individual on earth…”: “President Donald Trump has challenged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to a duel, suggesting that he and his beleaguered adviser match scores from their respective IQ tests to see who’s smarter.”

“Trump’s always been the world’s leading gladiator when it comes to IQ smackdowns,” the article continued.  “In 2016, he challenged London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, to compare IQ tests after Khan dismissed Trump’s take on Islam as “ignorant.”

Trump has also boasted that he has a higher IQ than George W. Bush, Barack Obama, George Will, Karl Rove and the entire staff of the Washington Post. Lest he missed anyone, Trump has also issued blanket warnings to those who might question his intellectual chops, as he did in this Twitter post from 2013: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”)

In one of his famous “fireside chats,” another president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said,” I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” If Trump had the intelligence to think like FDR, the country wouldn’t be in the mess it is now in.

As you might have noticed, this list did not include his political decisions. The list emphasized Trump’s personal traits, which reveal him for what he is, a truly frightful excuse for a human being, who was aided by other terrible human beings, headed by many Fox News commentators, like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, all of whom have blood on their hands for their defending Trump’s handling of Covid-19, as does the president and others in his administration like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who have defended the president’s lies. 

But most appalling was the reaction to the president’s autocratic actions by the Republicans in Congress; more than 99% of them marched in lock step with Trump during the past four years. Even after protesters, egged on by Trump and other speakers like Giuliani and Trump. Jr., stormed Congress, resulting in five deaths as of this writing on January 9, only a handful of GOP members stood up for democracy. The great majority, about 150 members of the House, refused to condemn the president for his actions and nearly two- thirds of them, 139 members, joined by eight GOP senators, refused to certify Biden’s election.

To this day, the overwhelming number of Republicans in Congress, who were mute for the past four years, still refused to condemn the president. And that’s a red flag warning for people who believe in democracy.

As he was leaving Constitution Hall in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin responded “A republic, if you can keep it.”

The fascist elements in the Republican Party, together with Trump’s autocratic tendencies, prove that Franklin was correct when he said, “If you can keep it.”

As those of you who have read my past columns about Trump over the years know, I have long believed that his actions (many of which resembled those of Hitler’s as he destroyed Germany’s democratic Weimer Republic) was evidence of his autocratic beliefs and was a danger to our republic. 

For years, most “respectable” news outlets and public figures would not use the word “lie” to describe Trump’s fibs. I called him a liar before they did, because a lie is a lie no matter who utters one.

For years, comparing Trump’s tactics to those of how Hitler destroyed Germany’s democratic Weimer Republic was not to be written or talked about. The comparison was evident and should have been written and talked about from the early days of Trumpism. Now, after the storming of the Capitol the comparison is written and spoken about, years after I wrote about it. 

History reveals that many Germans did not believe that Hitler would do what he said he would do. They were proven wrong.

Recent events show that many Americans did not believe that Trump would do what he said he would do. They were proven wrong.

I wish I was proven wrong.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




How To Survive The Donald Trump At Your Agency: A Few Characteristics You Will Certainly Recognize

(Author’s Note: This is the 11th in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll be writing for CommPRO.biz  until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI: My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column I write that many agencies have a Donald Trump type executive, and ways to deal with such an individual.)

Arthur Solomon

Donald Trump’s nightmarish assault on American democracy and our Constitution is soon to end. Thank God! Hopefully so will his involvement in politics. I never wish poor health on anyone, but I do hope that the soon-to-be former president and would-be dictator never again has a golf game that results in him having less than 200 stokes a round. If that causes him to have high blood pressure or an ulcer, it’s his own doing. Instead of playing lousy golf, he could have prayed for forgiveness for the damage he has done to American society.

For many in our business, the flawed Trump characteristics that were exposed daily since 2015 was nothing new, because there was and will still be at least one Donald Trump at your agency.

If you were fortunate to stay at the same  PR agency for more than a cup of coffee, as I was before starting out on my own (full disclosure: 10 years at a fairly large agency, no longer in business, before being recruited by the mammoth Burson-Marsteller firm, where I toiled for almost 25 years) you certainly have known of or worked for the Donald Trump at your agency. It’s the supervisors who lie, bullies, threatens, takes all the credit for your good work and blames you for their mistakes.

Here are some characteristics of the Donald Trump at your agency, hopefully not at your expense.

  • Have you ever toiled to craft a new client program and when it was completed and ready to be submitted for client approval a higher-up, who added nothing to the program’s elements and remained quiet during its crafting, said, “I don’t like it. Redo it.?” That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • A supervisor’s dismissal of anyone that disagreed with him: .That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • A supervisor’s discarding the advice of staffers when crafting a program or media strategies because he/she thinks no one is smarter. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency. 
  • A supervisor refusing to admit that things went wrong because of his or her screw-ups. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • Promoting individuals because of their loyalty. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • Thinking that lashing out at lower level people will result in their doing better work. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • Belittling people. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • Supervisors writing “team concept” reports to management, instead of giving credit to individuals. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • Supervisors rejecting ideas from people in their groups. Then making trivial changes to give the impression that they developed all the ideas and let higher management believe it was so. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • Supervisors threatening staffers with dismissals for not showing enough loyalty to a manager. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • Supervisors setting unrealistic time frames for the completion of a project without offering a helping hand. That’s the Donald Trump at  your agency.
  • Supervisors giving poor evaluations to people who are smarter than they are for fear of being exposed that they lack the skills of people lower down the ladder. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • Supervisors making false promises to staffers to keep them from leaving. That’s the Donald Trump at your agency.
  • But, perhaps, the most upsetting Donald Trump characteristic to a low level account staffer at an agency is when a manager resorts to playing office politics, rewarding favorites or drinking buddies, at the expense of those who deserve to be rewarded. That’s a supervisor’s Donald Trump trait that many people at agencies have surely witnessed,

If you are unfortunate enough to report to the Donald Trump at your agency you must protect yourself.

Here are a few ways to do so:

  • You can become a supervisor’s lackey.
  • You can become the office spy and report any griping to management.

But I don’t approve doing the above; it’s self degrading. Also, you will lose the respect of other employees and when management shifts occur, all your ill conceived hopes for advancement will disappear. (No one, except the actual Donald Trump, likes a conniver.) 

Instead do the following: 

  • Keep detailed notes after every conversation or group meeting with your supervisor and write a memo for file.
  • If your ideas are constantly being appropriated by your supervisor you must let management know or you will never get the recognition and promotion you deserve.
  • Ask a client who complements you to please put it in writing and to specifically mention you in the client’s year-end evaluation to agency brass.
  • As a last resort, you must go over your supervisor’s head by preparing a memo detailing how you have helped accounts and send it directly to top management. This will upset your supervisor. But let’s face it. Despite the in-house agency propaganda of “we’re all in this together,” agency life is similar to being ship wrecked and then trying to out swim chasing sharks, of which there are plenty at your agency.

Remember: At an agency, there are five rules to commit to memory: 1) It’s every person for themselves, because if you can be replaced with someone who will work for a lower salary than you, it’s only a matter of time before management will find reasons to terminate you.  2) On a merry-go-round, there are only so many brass rings to go around. 3) At an agency, the green eyed jealous monster is alive and thriving at promotion time. 4) Good work is no guarantee of long tenure and 5) As Niccolo Machiavelli wrote in “The Prince,” “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present”. Remember that when management makes a promise.

It is also important to understand that H. R. people are not your friends. Their job is to protect the agency. So never complain about being treated unfairly to H.R. personnel. Chances are that you’ll be listed as a “complainer” by the H.R. person whose traits are like former Trump Attorney General William Barr.

Yes, in addition to the Donald Trump at your agency, there is also a William Barr type, who is a devotee of another Trump-like person at your firm – Kellyanne Conway, the former Senior Advisor to President Trump, better known as the originator of “alternate facts,” which surly is used often by supervisors at your agency.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and nonsports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 

 

 

 




OP-ED: Remembrance Of Things Current: The Disgraceful Legacy Of President Donald John Trump, A Would-Be Dictator

(Author’s Note: This is the tenth in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll be writing for CommPRO.biz until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column I list a few of what I consider some of Trump’s most disgraceful actions.) 

Arthur Solomon

As Donald Trump is nearing the end of his disastrous presidency, there are many actions that he will be remembered for on the national and international scenes.

Below is a sampler that should be accepted by all non-partisan Americans, as they certainly will be by non-revisionist presidential historians.

A Few Major Disgraceful National Actions

  • He will be remembered for his bungling of the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in the deaths of more than 318,000 Americans as of this writing on December 21.
  • He will be remembered for being the most divisive and racist president in U.S. history, making Andrew Johnson look like a boy scout.
  • He will be remembered as a president who has probably lied more than all the other presidents’ lies combined in our history.
  • He will be remembered as a president who has caused many people to distrust our legal system.
  • He will be remembered as a president who enriched himself at the expense of tax payers.
  • He will be remembered as a president who ran the White House like a family employment organization.
  • He will be remembered as the president who demanded complete loyalty, firing people who had different opinions. 
  • He will be remembered as the president whose vitriolic comments about a stolen election resulted in his supporters engaging in violent actions, including a riot in Olympia, Wash., where one person was shot, and did nothing to calm them down.
  • And most of all he will be remembered as the president who attempted a coup to keep him in office.

A Few Major Disgraceful International Actions

  • He will be remembered as a president who cozied up to dictators.
  • He will be remembered as a president who has frayed relations with our long time allies.
  • He will be remembered as a president who pulled the U.S. out of the World Health Organization during the time of an international Covid-19 pandemic.
  • He will be remembered as the president who said that NATO was no longer viable.
  • He will be remembered as the president who scuttled an Asian compact, meant to keep China in check by pulling the U.S. out of it.
  • He ignored the exposure that Russia has offered money to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops.
  • He will be remembered for ignoring Russian hackings of U.S. government departments.
  • He will be remembered as the president who asked Chinese President President Xi Jinping to help him win reelection, as former National Security Advisor John Bolton reported.
  • He will be remembered as the president whose famous telephone call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, during which he said, “I would like you to do us a favor, though” led to his impeachment.”  

From the moment he was inaugurated as president in 2016, and all during the 2015 campaign, President Trump has shown his true persona. It encompassed traits of egotism, dishonesty, deception, slander, hyperbole, mendacity, and vilification. But the most frightening aspect of his character was his totalitarian instincts, which he has never attempted to hide 

After he soundly was defeated on November 3 by Joe Biden, Trump commenced on a campaign to undermine the democratic American election process. Republican power-brokers in and out of government excused the president’s actions, saying that they just want to give him time to grieve and that all will be well in time. But that didn’t happen.

Trump’s many statements that the election was stolen from him are reminiscent of Hitler’s Big Lie technique that vaulted the Nazi to power: Repeat the lie often enough and people will believe it.

Trump has encouraged violence among his supporters. Many of his actions are carbon copies of Hitler’s rise to power by using the Big Lie technique and constantly blaming scapegoats. He still is a threat to American democracy. His totalitarian instincts must not be forgotten now that he has been kicked out of office by voters who have had enough of his dangerous actions. History will remember him as America’s would be dictator, abetted by what was one of America’s great political parties.

(As I wrote in a previous column, the comparison of Trump’s actions and what occurred in the early days of Nazi Germany is chronicled in books written by reporters and historians who were on the scene (and the similarity is scary to everyone who believes in democracy). I suggest the following books, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” and “Berlin Diary” by William Shirer, and the story of the  American ambassador to Germany in the 1930’s,William Dodd, told by Erik Larson in his “In The Garden of The Beast.”)  

There weren’t many, if any, bright spots that occurred during the Trump administration. One was the speed at which a vaccine that can inoculate people against the coronavirus was developed. But that accomplishment needs a footnote: His “warp speed” program was necessitated because of his originally declaring the coronavirus a “democratic hoax,” keeping the seriousness of it from the American public for many weeks, and by telling his supporters to disregard the advice of medical scientists urging everyone to wear a mask and to practice social distancing. 

Other bright spots were the anti-Trump responses to his attempted coup by Republican office holders in Georgia, dozens of judges at local and federal levels and, especially, by a conservative Supreme Court (which included three justices appointed by President Trump) that twice rejected his efforts to rule that the election was rigged against him and was unconstitutional.

Historians will also remember Trump as the “Fake News” president, whose claims of “Fake News” was directed at reporters and publications, when they ran an article that he didn’t like. (Fact checking the stories he didn’t like showed that the “Fake News” was his declarations of “Fake News.”) Of course the impeached president had allies among right wing news outlets that backed up whatever ridiculous lies he told. The best known among them were the Fox News trio of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, all of whom defended the president regardless of the facts regarding the “democratic hoax” coronavirus (even though Carlson also urged his viewers to take the virus seriously before other right wings commentators did.)

History books normally give little space to one term presidents. President Trump will be the exception. He will be remembered for mishandling the coronavirus epidemic in the U.S., as well as spreading a virus of his own, which has polluted the political scene and the American landscape by espousing totalitarian, undemocratic positions and sought to undo a democratic election. The damage he has done to our democratic traditions will take years to repair. 

Historians will remember Trump as a dictator in wanting, who instructed his allies to disregard legal subpoenas, supported anti-democratic allies, caused distrust in American institutions, whose job it was to protect us from domestic and foreign anti-Americans foes and organizations, deliberately created a rift among Americans, urged Americans to liberate themselves from their democratically elected state governors and attempted to install himself as an autocratic president by attempting a coup to change the outcome of the 2020 election, which is still on-going.

He will be remembered as the president who attempted to kill the democratic republic we live in.

He will also be remembered as the “scam president,” who enriched himself by instructing government agencies to take their business to his hotels, established the rip-ff Trump University, and misused funds from his Donald J. Trump Foundation to pay off his business debts and promote his presidential campaign. (Legal actions forced the closure of both the foundation and his so-called Trump University). But his newest scam continues by his falsely asking people to donate money so he can continue his fight to prove that he was the true winner of the 2020 election.

But politics aside, Donald John Trump will be remembered as the appalling, vindictive human being that he is.

On January 20, 2021, President Donald Trump will become citizen Trump. But the political plague of his essence will not soon disappear. His name will live on, but not in the manner that he will like. 

A Few Hopeful Signs

  • Trump’s autocratic style of governing was rejected not only by the margin of his Electoral College defeat, but by more than 7-million voters who preferred Joe Biden over the would-be dictator. The popular vote differential was the most since the 1932 election, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover.
  • Republican judges, including three Trump appointees to the Supreme Court, decided election cases on their merit, ignoring their personal political beliefs.
  • So did Republican state elections officials in battleground states, despite the pressure that emanated directly from the White House.

But the bottom line from President Trump’s 2020 election defeat is that our democracy is fragile and when a candidate’s rhetoric sounds autocratic, as Trump’s did in 2015 when he was campaigning for the GOP nomination, it should not be considered “campaign talk.” It should be taken at face value.

A reading of history shows that Hitler’s poisonous speeches were not overly worrisome by many democratic political leaders in Germany until he took office; neither were President Trump’s until he attempted to put them into practice after his election. But once Hitler took over the reign of the Weimer Republic, he did what he said he would so. Trump attempted to, but was prevented from doing so by a free press and the courts, despite his efforts being supported by more than 100 members of GOP congressmen and 18 Republican state attorney generals, while less than a handful of Republican senators spoke in support of democracy. 

This time the fabric of our democracy, while tattered, held. American’s must remember that what happened in the totalitarian countries that Trump so frequently admired can happen here.

During his lifetime, Benjamin Franklin made many memorable statements. The one that should be most remembered was said in 1789: “Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” 

The Trump administration and his autocratic attempt to overturn the 2020 election must be remembered as a Lesson Learned that should never be forgotten: Our democracy is only assured by the actions of people who believe in democracy. Donald John Trump does not.

On January 3, news stories broke that President Trump threatened the Secretary of State of Georgia for refusing to change the votes of its citizens so that they would show a Trump victory. But even after that story broke, none of the more than 100 GOP House members and 11 Senators who said that they would challenge the Electoral College vote on Wednesday condemned the Trump threat. They, along with Donald Trump, will forever be remembered as foes of a democratic election.and proves that  U.S. democracy can not be taken for granted.
Margaret Atwood the Canadian poet and novelist said, “The fabric of democracy is always fragile everywhere because it depends on the will of citizens to protect it, and when they become scared, when it becomes dangerous for them to defend it, it can go very quickly.” Americans should not forget that.

The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author:  Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




The Tragedy of Donald Trump’s Presidency And His Indelible Blood Stain. (With Thanks To William Shakespeare)

(Author’s Note: This is the 9th in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll be writing for CommPRO.biz until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column I opine on why President Donald John Trump is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans.)

Arthur Solomon

In his” Macbeth,” believed to be written in 1606, William Shakespeare wrote one of his most famous lines, having Lady Macbeth say, “Out, damned spot! out, I say!,” while not being able to wash indelible blood from her hands, which she imagined because of the horrible things she and her husband had done to satisfy their ambitions.

The full title of “Macbeth,” was “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” The storyline is similar to “The Tragedy of Donald John Trump,” whose ambitions left him with a stain of indelible blood on his hands, the difference being that Trump’s actions helped kill thousand of Americans; the similarity, like “Macbeth,” being that Trump wanted to rule like a king. 

Only the sloth-like supporters of President Trump can truthfully believe that he is not responsible for the deaths of many Americans. His statements about the coronavirus is tantamount to pleading guilty to murder.

  • He originally insisted that the coronavirus was a “Democratic hoax.” 
  • When a few people were infected with the disease, he said it was under control.
  • Fearing that if the seriousness of the virus became known, it would have an adverse affect on the economy, which was the cornerstone of his reelection campaign, he urged Americans to continue normal activities because the serious of the coronavirus was “fake news.”
  • Similar to his statement that “I know more than the generals,” he assured people that they were not at risk and to disregard the advice of medical scientists.
  • When medical scientists publicly disagreed with him about the seriousness of the coronavirus, he either fired them or disagreed with them during coronavirus task force telecasts, which he eventually discontinued.
  • He mocked mask wearing and social distancing guidelines.
  • His administration refused to permit the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from issuing recommendations before being edited to coincide with administration’s public relations objectives.
  • True, he pushed for a vaccine, but refused to have himself vaccinated to show the pubic that he had confidence in it. Instead, he threatened to fire Stephen Han, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, unless the vaccine was approved several house prior to its scheduled approval, causing more distrust among a large percentage of the public who thought the vaccine was being prematurely approved because of political pressure.
  • Trump’s attacks on the media, calling every story critical of him “Fake News,” resulted in millions of his followers from believing truthful news reports about the seriousness of the coronavirus, resulting in thousands of deaths that he is responsible for.

But there was enough blood on the president’s hands to go around.

  • A few years prior to Shakespeare writing “Macbeth,” he wroteHamlet, Prince of Denmark,” which contained characters named Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend, and  Polonius, described as the  bootlicking lord chamberlain of King Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and stepfather, both roles that Vice President Mike Pence can play with perfection. His leadership of the White House’s coronavirus task force was imbued with politics in mind, instead of science. (A prime example was in late April when the vice president disregard Mayo Clinic policy by refusing to wear a mask while touring the facility, because he feared that doing so would be used by Democrats against President Trump, who refuses to wear one.)
  • Also having blood on their hands were Trump’s defenders in the right wing media, led by, but not exclusively limited to Fox News, whose lead commentators defended the president’s coronavirus strategy as the deaths of Americans continued to increase. These media lackeys urged Americans to go about their business as usual while the chief Trump propagandists — Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — worked from the safety of their homes, as do some of the most ardent Trump supporters at the Wall Street Journal. (Until the death toll became too great for even the Fox News fabulists to ignore, the trio were echoing Trump’s counterfeit claims that the degree of the virus was being exaggerated to harm him politically.)
  • “King Lear,” first performed in 1606, is another Shakespeare play that has elements resembling what is occurring in the White House today. In the drama, considered one of the Bards greatest plays, King Lear goes mad, a role that the President can play without direction, as he attempts to circumvent the U.S. democratic Constitution and remain in power. In the show, King Lear’s actions results in a civil war, leaving it up to others to re-organize his kingdom, just as it will be up to others to restore the Republican Party to sanity, if possible, and more important, lessen the divide among Americans.

Lord Byron, in his 1823 satirical poem “Don Juan,” wrote, “Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.” President Trump’s behavior corroborates that, but its similarity to certain plots in Shakespeare plays also shows that fiction sometime resembles truth. 

After Vice President Pence and his wife publicly received the Covid-19 vaccine on December 18, he said, “As President Trump often says, we are rounding the corner. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Unfortunately, for more than 300,000 Americans the tunnel led to the cemetery and for thousands more to the ICU beds.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author:  Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




Donald Trump: America’s Fabulist Destroyer Of Democracy

(Author’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll be writing for CommPro.biz until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column, I write on why President Trump and his legal team’s post-election behavior demonstrate their disregard for America’s reputation and heritage.)

Arthur Solomon

Benjamin Franklin is undoubtedly one of the greatest of our Founding Fathers. He is famous not only because of his efforts during the colonies fight for independence, but because of his many epigrams. And importantly for a quote that he allegedly said when a woman asked him when he left the 1787 Constitutional Convention, “what kind of a government did you give us a monarchy or a republic?” Franklin replied “A republic, if you can keep it.”

When historians in the future write about Donald Trump’s presidency, surely he’ll be regarded as the first American president who tried to destroy our republic and rule as a monarch. 

Absolute authority has been the hallmark of Trump’s administration ever since he was sworn in on January 20, 2017. But his “my way or the highway” autocratic approach to governing was undeniably on display during the weeks after he was soundly beaten for re-election by Joe Biden, who believes in our democratic form of government.

Ever since his defeat, Trump has attempted to undermine the votes of the almost 80-million Americans who preferred him over Trump. He will be remembered as the most lying, dictatorial, divisive, and openly racist president in our history — as well as the only one who deliberately tried to shred the Constitution. 

Led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and aided by Attorney-General William Barr and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Trump team has no compunction about trying to destroy America’s greatest democratic tradition – the acceptance by a president that he has been defeated and allows a peaceful transition to the president-elect.

Despite their claims of a rigged election and fraud when speaking to the media, the Trump legal team claims no such thing in court. They claim  voting irregularities, without providing evidence. And the courts have consistently ruled against them. At least 30 times so far.

The most fabulist claims, thus far, by Giuliani and Powell were made during a a press conference on Nov. 19, when Giuliani called the election a “massive fraud,” and Powell said Biden won because of an international rigging of the election powered by a “massive influence of communist money.” 

Disappointedly only a few Republicans of note have spoken out on the conduct of Trump’s lawyers. The most recent as I write this on November 22, were former New Jersey governor Chris Christie on ABC’s “This Week,” and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on CNN’s  “State of the Union.”

Christie called Trump’s legal team a “national embarrassment” and said it’s time for Trump to admit that Biden won the election. Hogan said, “We were the most respected country with respect to elections, and now we’re beginning to look like we’re a banana republic,” … “It’s time for them to stop the nonsense. It just gets more bizarre every single day, and, frankly, I’m embarrassed that more people in the party aren’t speaking up.” 

Thus far at least 30 rulings in court have been thrown out because of lack of evidence. Unfortunately, it seems like more unfounded legal challenges are still to come, despite both Republican and Democratic election officials saying many times that there have been no voting irregularities or wide spread fraud.

Some news reports have said that Trump is acting like this because he’s fearful of being prosecuted for crimes once he leaves the office and was hoping that by winning a second term the statue of limitations would have prevented legal action against him. That tactic, thank God, is not going to work.

Other reports say that Trump is acting like this because it’s part of his plan to galvanize his race for a re-run in 2024. The problem with that strategy is that it will also galvanize the Democrats and independents to vote against him again.

What cannot be disputed is that Trump couldn’t care a plug nickel about destroying America’s reputation or democratic traditions. He is a traitor to America’s democratic heritage and so are his cohorts.

The 2020 election campaign has punctured the myth that Trump is a master politician. His first mistake was calling the deadly coronavirus a “Democratic hoax.” 

His second mistake was not taking Joe Biden seriously.

His third mistake was thinking he was he was invincible.

But his biggest mistake was thinking that he could lie his way to a second term.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com and ArtSolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




Op-Ed: Trump’s Threat To Democracy; It’s Not A Fairy Tale And Can Happen Here

(The Resemblance To What Happened To The Democratic Government of Germany That Vaulted Hitler to Power Should Not Be Forgotten)

(Author’s Note: This is the third in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll be writing for CommPRO.biz until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column, I write on why it’s obvious that President Trump has and is displaying his dictatorial instincts that must be taken seriously.)

Arthur Solomon

From the moment he was inaugurated as president in 2016, and all during the 2015 campaign, President Trump has shown his true persona. It encompassed traits of egotism, dishonesty, deception, slander, hyperbole, mendacity, and vilification. But the most frightening aspect of his character was his totalitarian instincts. It has always been at the forefront of his decisions, many of which have been rejected by the courts. In fact, it’s only the courts that have kept him at bay. (The same was true during the early days of the Hitler era.)

But now, as I write this on November 16, Trump’s dictatorial instincts have reached an alarming level: He seeks the destruction of American democracy by voiding the results of an election.

In his desperate effort to remain in power, Trump has continually said the election was stolen from him and has launched a bevy of law suits claiming voting irregularities. Courts have said otherwise and have dismissed the lawsuits. But he keeps on shouting “fraud and stolen election.”

Now the president has instructed his loyalists to turn to individual state legislatures, hoping that they would set aside the wishes and votes by citizens of their states and appoint delegates to the Electoral College who would vote to keep Trump in power on December 8.

Egged on by right wings commentators as Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, the president’s loyalists have urged state legislatures to disenfranchise the rightful electors and replace them with pro-Trump ones. Joining the anti-democratic throng was Donald Trump Jr., who is just another loud mouth provocateur tied to his daddy’s aprons. But what was truly fearful was the comment by a high-ranking elected official, Florida Governor Ron DeSanits who asked legislatures with Republican majorities to “provide remedies.”

President Trump has also demonstrated his dictatorial instincts by refusing to let president-elect Joe Biden’s reps proceed, as in past elections, in transition talks with the current administration.

Republican power-brokers in government, and particularly in the U.S. Senate, have excused the president’s actions, saying that they just want to give him time to grieve and that all will be well in time.

To students of history, that scenario is familiar and dangerous. In the early 1930’s, the political leaders of Germany’s democratic Weimar Republic believed that they could control Hitler by giving him a limited role in government. Six months later he became dictator.

It’s not unthinkable that the same situation could happen here. Trump has already shown admiration for dictators in China, Russia, North Korea, Turkey and other countries. 

Trump has continually told members of his administration to disobey legal subpoenas. He has continually dismissed members of his administration for thinking for themselves; other have resigned, for disagreeing with him. He has continually called for his political opponents to be jailed. He has refused to condemn white nationalists and other neo-Nazi groups. (So did the democratic leaders of Germany, who believed once they controlled Hitler that they could control the Nazi Storm Troupers.) Trump has consistently demonstrated that his loyalty to him is the pathway to an important government job.

On November 14, when a group of pro-Trump defenders gathered for a march in Washington, D.C., Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as the White House Director of Communications in 2017, but has since become a critic of the president, said on CNN that the marchers were a small group of maybe 15-to 25,000 people and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.. The marchers included member of the Proud Boys, the far-right, neo-fascist organization, white supremacists, Women for America First, right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists, according to news reports. 

I disagree with what Scaramucci said about the event. It included marchers who have resorted to violence in the past. Saying that it’s not a problem is similar to what German politicians said about the Storm Troopers in Hitler’s early days — “they’re a small group that can be controlled.” There’s an English proverb that says, “Large streams from little fountains flow, Tall oaks from little acorns grow.” Extremist groups of both the right and left are a danger to our democracy. They must be taken seriously.

(Reprising her daily “I cannot tell the truth” role, the Wall Street Journal reported that “White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a Twitter message more than 1-million people participated in the pro-Trump gathering, although reporters estimated the crowd as ranging from several thousand to over 10,000 people.” Some observers pointed out that Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, also lied to the media about the number of people attending the president’s inauguration and that Trump’s administration is ending with his latest press secretary also lying about a crowd size. A permit for the space designated for the rally was issued for 10,000 people but can accommodate about 13,000.

(“Accounts on the ground suggested that her estimate was wildly inflated,” reported the New York Times. “It’s not like the Fourth of July or anything,” said a police officer who was stationed near Freedom Plaza at 13th and G Streets. He declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. “But yeah,” he added, “there’s a crowd down there.”

(And The Hill, the politically-oriented Washington website, reported, “While the number of protesters did not appear to reach that total capacity, some of the president’s supporters and staff celebrated the turnout as a success.)

Trump’s many statements that the election was stolen from him are reminiscent of Hitler’s Big Lie technique that vaulted him to power: Repeat the lie often enough and people will believe it. Many of the pro-Trump supporters at the march repeated the president’s remarks, despite assurances from Department of Homeland Security officials responsible for voting integrity nation-wide refuting the president’s false claims of voter fraud. A joint statement from the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council & The Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, issued on November 12 said, “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result.”

“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” said the statement.

Nevertheless, despite knowing that his words can cause violence by his supporters, by his words, by his deeds, the president is a threat to democracy. His actions prior to his securing the Republican nomination for president, and to this day, are not only shameful, they are the antithesis of democracy and are dangerous and inflammatory.

Mr. Trump’s delusional and destructive personalities were never more evident than on Sunday, November 15, when he tweeted at 7:47.a.m. that Biden won. But at 9:16 a.m. he tweeted, “RIGGED ELECTION. WE WILL WIN!” And at 9:19 a.m. he tweeted that Biden “only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!” (Time to consider the 25th Amendment?) 

After the 1960 election, in which John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon, there were accusations of voter fraud. In Nixon’s memoir, “Six Crises,” he wrote, “If I were to demand a recount…the orderly transfer of responsibility from the old to the new might be delayed for months. The situation within the entire federal government would be chaotic.”  Nixon did not demand a recount. No matter what you think of him, he put the interest of the United States above his own self interest – the exact opposite of Trump.  

The hallmark of the Trump administration is “Me first, country last.”

 Yes, Trump, Giuliani and other fascist-leaning Republicans are correct when they say this election has “fraud” written all over it.. But it was they who did the writing.

By his words and actions President Trump has acted as the dictators he has so admired.

Actions – He has refused to admit that he was defeated by Joe Biden and insists the election was stolen from him.

Words – On August 17, he said, “We are going to win four more years.”… “And then after that, we’ll go for another four years because they spied on my campaign. We should get a redo of four years.” On September 12 he said, he is entitled to a third term “based on the way we were treated.”

Americans of all political persuasions who believe in democracy must call out the president for what he is – A Delusional Dictator In Wanting.


Addendum — The comparison of what is happening in the United States today and during the early days of Nazi Germany is chronicled in  books written by reporters and historians who were on the scene. For readers wanting much more information than is in my column, I suggest the following books, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” and “Berlin Diary” by William Shirer, and the story of the  American ambassador to Germany in the 1930’s,William Dodd, told by Erik Larson in his “In The Garden of The Beast.”  Also of interest to Olympic enthusiasts might be how prominent Americans unsuccessfully fought against the U.S. Olympic team from participating in the 1936 Nazi Olympics. I’m not familiar with any book on this subject but details are available on the web.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




The Television Industry Might Have An Opportunity To Atone For Helping Elect Trump in 2016

(Author’s Note: This is a column that I didn’t intend to write. Previously I authored 16 political articles for CommPRO.biz  leading up to Election Day. I thought # 16, written the morning of November 1, would be my final article until after the election, and said that between November 4 and Inauguration Day, January 20, I’ll be writing an occasional political column. But something happened later in the day of November 1 that brought me back to the computer. It was an exclusive article by Jonathan Swan of Axios. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns.)

Arthur Solomon

The first two lines of Mr. Swan’s article read, “President Trump has told confidants he’ll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he’s “ahead, according to three sources familiar with his private comments.” 

And I have no doubt that he will do so.

If the president follows through with what he said, the industry that has played a large part in poisoning the American political scene – the television business, with emphasis on the cable TV networks – will be first to report Trump’s comments. If the election is still in doubt at that time they should immediately make it clear that the president’s remarks are not based on facts and keep saying so until a clear winner is obvious.

That is the least the networks can do and should do, given their sorry political reporting history, which in a large way helped elect Trump in 2016. And CNN and MSNBC deserve as much blame as Fox News for Hillary Clinton’s defeat:

  • Remember how the cables covered Trump’s rallies as if they were hard news instead of what they were, political rallies?
  • Remember how they played up every Trump tweet as if it was news, without explaining that the overwhelming majority were lies?
  • Remember how cute they though it was to let Trump call-in to shows, giving him unlimited time to express his views, without challenging what he said?
  • Remember how long it took them to use the word “lie” when referring to Trump’s statements?
  • Remember how they credited him with being able to change the news topic of the day, when in reality the cable networks made it possible.
  • Remember how they played into Trump’s trap by continually reporting on Trump’s emails accusation against Hillary Clinton, without challenging his facts?
  • Remember how they let Trump surrogates consistently lie without having program hosts or reporters call out the Trump supporter’s lies. 
  • Remember what Politico reported: Les Moonves, the CBS chief, said of Trump’s 2016 act, on February 29, 2016. “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” Moonves said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, according to The Hollywood Reporter — perfectly distilling what media critics have long suspected was motivating the round-the-clock coverage of Trump’s presidential bid.”

The above are only a few examples of how the television industry helped elect President Trump.

The American political scene is now poisoned. If it can be repaired it will take decades. And the cable networks’ 2015 and 2016, and thereafter, reporting have played a large part in making it so.

The least the TV business, especially the cable networks, can do to gain a modicum of respect is to continually report on the Axios story on election night and keep doing so until a winner is declared, not by the president, but by the entire vote of the public.

Doing so will not cleanse the TV business from its sins, but at least it will be a starting point for them to atone for them.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com and artsolomon4pr (at) optimum.net.




Using Social Science to Explain the Behavior of Trump and His Followers

Author’s note: This article reflects my interview with John Dean about his and Bob Altemeyer’s book, Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers. I was unable to speak with other sources or people from the Trump or Biden camps, so this article is not intended to be a complete analysis of the extremely broad topic. Rather, I hope that readers will digest this thoroughly and, on whichever side of the aisle you may sit, feel the irrepressible urge to vote.


Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

I recently had the chance to speak with John W. Dean, former White House counsel for President Richard Nixon, who testified before Congress during the Watergate scandal and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

In January 2020, The Hill reported that Dean’s lengthy statement was a devastating indictment of President Nixon. At the time, Senator Howard Baker wanted to prove Dean wrong and asked, “My primary thesis is still, what did the president know, and when did he know it?”

Now, with the presidential election on Tuesday, this same question, with logical corollaries, has been repeatedly posed to Trump about his last negative COVID-19 test. What did he know? When did he know it? Did he knowingly expose big money donors to the virus without warning them of the potential health risks? To date, there’s been no response.

Other unanswered questions on a broader scale are, why the CDC’s request for contact tracing was denied, why medical experts and public health guidance are being ignored, why the virus is spiking, and how masks and social distancing have become a political positioning statement rather than the basic health safeguards that they are?

Beyond COVID concerns, there’s widespread social unrest, a sharp divide between whites and people of color and the panoply of frequently discussed issues that have characterized this presidency: healthcare, fake news, conspiracy theories, the economy, climate change and the future of democracy.

In Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers, Dean and Bob Altemeyer analyze the social science behind authoritarianism to explain the President’s rise to power, what drives his actions and why his base continues to be faithful to him despite actions which, in another time may have been considered egregious offenses for someone holding the esteemed office.

I asked Dean if he thought his book would change people’s minds. “People are locked in. By and large, we’re not going to change their minds, but we want to inform people and urge them to get out and vote,” he said.

Like clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, the authors analyze Trump’s moral upbringing, his schooling, personality, his business dealings and his uniquely loyal supporters.

Altemeyer is the author of The Authoritarians and Enemies of Freedom: Understanding Right-Wing Authoritarianism. His body of 40 years of research on the psychological makeup of authoritarian leaders and followers, his development of the Right Wing Authoritarian (RWA) test and scale and his concentration on authoritarianism have made him a leading expert in the field.

Dean, of course, has first-hand experience about the inner workings of the White House, specifically during the Nixon presidency, the Watergate scandal and decades in politics which he covers in his books: Blind Ambition: The White House Years, Lost Honor: The Rest of the Story, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush and Conservatives Without Conscience.

Together, the authors’ combined expertise attempts to show us how to make sense of Trump’s base. Their research centers around three different types of authoritarian personalities:

  • Social Dominators who are determined to gain power;
  • Authoritarian Followers who are fearful and blindly follow leaders who they believe will protect them and
  • Double Highs who are a combination of the most disturbing traits of dominators and followers.

A core test utilized in the book is Altemeyer’s Right-Wing authoritarian scale created in the 1980s. To more closely represent registered voters for the 2020 election, Dean, Altemeyer and the Monmouth University Polling Institute worked together in late 2019 to include questions in a nationwide survey of 1,000 registered voters.

The goal was to identify respondents with authoritarian tendencies including extreme conservative values, radical progressiveness, prejudices, religious fundamentalism, evangelism and others.

The authors relied on social science findings and psychological diagnostic tools including the “Power Mad Scale” and the “Con Man Scale” as well as analysis from the Monmouth University Polling Institute. They uncover the attitudes and behaviors that characterize social dominators such as: opposition to authority, amoral tendencies, high prejudice, desire for personal power and behaviors that are manipulative, dishonest, intimidating and bullying.

Interestingly, the findings were assimilated in 2005 by Dean before he even knew of Trump. With the caveat that surveys can be biased or reveal overgeneralizations, Dean concluded that Trump’s followers tend to be people who lack critical thinking skills, possess compartmentalized thinking, use double standards and are ethnocentric, dogmatic and militant in their views.

The first half of Trump’s presidency was dominated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 election, which ended in 2019 when the Mueller Report was sent to General William Barr.

On April 26, 2019, Dean met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while he was well into analyzing Trump’s behavior for the project. He told Pelosi, “Madam Speaker, Donald Trump is a public version of the private Richard Nixon. These men are authoritarian personalities. You can count on Trump engaging in worse behavior than that which Mueller reported, and that behavior may call out for impeachment, which will be appropriate.”

At that time, Trump and former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani were allegedly involved in a scheme to extort the newly elected President of Ukraine. Trump was, of course, acquitted by the Senate, with the vote predictably following party lines with the notable exception of Senator Mitt Romney.

This is only one example of the many scandals that have occurred. With the election fast approaching, the authors describe several possible tactics that Trump will likely use and continue to use in the final weeks of his re-election campaign:

  • Fear and loathing
  • Smearing Biden
  • Creating Democratic disarray
  • Targeting the undecideds
  • Suppressing voters
  • Undermining validity of mail-in voting

Four more years of President Trump will see the destruction of the Constitution as the foundation of our country. He and his authoritarian supporters will have undercut and overpowered the protections against absolute rule that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and the other founders of the United States fought for.

It was the overriding goal to keep the country from ever having a king. Yet, a re-elected Donald Trump in 2021 would feel as powerful as James I, who believed he was appointed by God, or Louis XIV, who simply said, ‘I am the State.’

The authors leave us with an urgent plea:

This November 2020 is the biggest election of our lives. The Constitution, the rule of law and American democracy. America has not stood so clearly at a fork since the 1860s. The route laid out by our founders is clearly marked. The other road has dangerous signs of leading us in that direction.

We all have a rendezvous with destiny once again to see if our government of the people, by all the people, and for all the people that will cherish from the earth.


#SXSW - Wendy GlavinAbout the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 30-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B2C marketing communications, executive writing, PR and social media advisory. Her website is: https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her at: wendy@wendyglavin.com

 




What Place Should A Candidate’s Character Play In Voting For A Politician? My Appraisal Of A Few Presidents Character, And Why I Distrust Trump And Voted For Biden

How To Lose The Presidential Election, Again

(Author’s Note: This is the 11th in a series of political articles for CommPRO.biz that I’ll be writing leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column, I opine why I believe that voting only on policy matters can result in electing a flawed president.)

 Arthur Solomon

All during this election season, and those of the past, the subject that most dominates political talk are the issues that separate candidates.

What is hardly mentioned is the character of a candidate. (Oxford Dictionaries definition of character: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.) 

This year’s election is unique. A candidate’s moral values might be the deciding factor in who people elect. But as in past elections to many voters it doesn’t mean beans.

As an individual whose first job in public relations was with what today would be called a boutique PR firm, I know that for many political operatives’ character and issues mean very little. What matters to those operatives are who they are currently working for. Like large service firms who might have staff working for opposing interests, some political firms have staffers who work for Republican and Democratic candidates, proving for them it’s the money that counts, not the moral fiber of the candidates.

But, in my opinion, not taking into consideration a candidate’s character can lead to disastrous outcomes.

The first presidential campaign I worked on was for Richard Nixon. I thought many of his policies were what the country needed signing into law the civil rights act of 1970 that extended voting rights protection to  minorities, launching a war on cancer, initiating or approving the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Water Pollution Control Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Office of Consumer Affairs, Amtrak and “revenue sharing” with local governments. Today, he’d be called a socialist or worse by the current Republican president.

I still believe that Nixon’s political accomplishments would have given him a place among the greatest of our presidents – except for one important reason: A lack of character. And to me that’s important because candidate’s who lack principles are willing to win at any cost, even destroying their perceived enemies with false accusations, as Nixon and Joe McCarthy did. As a young politician in California Nixon threw around the word “subversive” as frequently as a chef in a diner flips a hamburger. Winning at all costs mattered to him. As president, he had his “enemies list,” which included names of his political opponents and, of course, his involvement in the Watergate affair, which led to his resignation.

Even though I supported many of Nixon’s political stances, would I have been a fan of his if I knew about his character flaws – I don’t think so, because I believe that a candidate who wants to win at any cost is as dangerous as having a tiger as a house pet. You never know when it will decide not to like you.

Contrasting Nixon was President Jimmy Carter, whose presidency in terms of accomplishment was zero, when compared to Nixon’s. But Carter has one attribute that Nixon, whose character changed according to the phases of the moon, lacked.  Carter had character. Whether you agreed with him on political matters or not, and I am not a fan of his administration, you knew that he wouldn’t stick a knife in your back if you disagreed with him. The same goes for President Barack Obama, an obsession with our current characteristically-flawed president.

But that’s history. In a few days most of the nation’s voters will go to the polls. Will character play a part for whom they cast a ballot? Probably not for too many voters. In my opinion it should.

Here’s why:

Trump: During my lifetime I have met what I call “users and givers.” “Users” are people who are nice to you only when they think you can help them. “Givers” are people who excuse the actions of “users.” Thus, they are taken advantage of. President Trump, by his actions goes further than merely being a “user.” It’s impossible to classify his personality with one word because he’s an egotistical, narcissistic, egomaniacal, narrow-minded, self-interested flawed person. In addition, he has a “continuous lying personality disorder,” to coin a phrase. And don’t take my word that he can’t be trusted. Just google the list of people who he has fired or disparaged because they had the audacity, in his flawed mind, to not agree with him. 

When he was asked if re-elected he would do anything different by Savannah Guthrie during the October 15 town hall, he said, he did nothing wrong. “I’ve done a great job. We have the strongest economy in the world. We closed it up. We are coming around the corner. The vaccines are coming out soon, and our economy is strong. We are at a level with jobs like we’ve never been before. We’ve rebuilt our military. We’ve rebuilt our borders. We had no borders. We had no nothing. We’ve rebuilt so much. We’ve given you the greatest tax cut in the history of our country. Greatest regulation cut, equally as important. And we created new levels of jobs that nobody thought was possible. And next year is going to be better than ever before.” Trump’s answer includes so many lies that’s enough of a reason to vote against him. (Check out the facts of what he said. Don’t take the word of your favorite pundit. And you’ll see for yourself his lies.)

Trump cannot be trusted. That was reason enough for me to vote against hm.

Biden: In contrast to Trump, Biden, over the years, has shown that he is a good, caring, empathic person. As someone who has had to overcome a stuttering problem he gives his personal telephone number to others who stutter to try to help them. And after the October 15 town hall, instead of rushing off the stage once the cameras were turned off, he remained behind to answer questions from the audience who hadn’t had the opportunity to question him during the telecast. While I disagree with some of his political decisions in the past, he is not afraid to say that he was wrong, unlike Trump who throughout his town hall showed that despite the evidence showing he was wrong about the coronavirus, refused to admit he made a mistake and still will not admit that he was ever wrong about anything. But being empathetic is not enough of a reason to vote for a candidate. Unlike Trump, Biden’s policy proposals will help the great majority of Americans. Trump’s helps the wealthiest.

Biden has demonstrated time-and time again that he has the character trait that should be most important to voters – he can be trusted.  

With Biden you know what you will get as president. With Trump, his four years show what you will get if he is re-elected – me first government.

The two most flawed presidents during my lifetime are Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, but there is no comparison between the two. Nixon did what he though was best for the country; Trump does what he thinks is best for himself.

That’s why even though Joe Biden was not my first choice for president, or my second or third either, I enthusiastically voted for him. By his actions he has shown that he can be trusted. He has character. Trump doesn’t and can’t be trusted.

I’m not the only person who believes that a candidate’s character should be considered before voting. Never before have so many hundreds of former government workers, some at the highest levels, including important Republican officials and high-ranking military officers, have publicly thrown their support to a political candidate. It’s not that they approve of Biden’s policies. It’s because that they believe that a president without moral values is a danger to the country. And so do I.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.