the cheeto says he’s writing his speech…
Sooooo… Donald Trump tweeted a photo of himself this afternoon holding a pen and a legal pad and said that it was a photo of him writing his inaugural speech three weeks ago… It’s not really news worthy. At all. But it instantly rubbed me the wrong way for some reason.
So as you’ve probably experienced… writing is difficult.
That’s why people hire ghostwriters and politicians get speechwriters.
It’s a thing and not really a bad thing at that.
A List of Presidential Speechwriters
- Judson T. Welliver wrote for President Warren G. Harding in 1921 and is considered the first official presidential speechwriter. However Alexander Hamilton may have written speeches for George Washington.
- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote for President John F. Kennedy.
- Theodore “Ted” Sorenson wrote for President John F. Kennedy.
- Richard N. Goodwin wrote for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
- Pat Buchanan wrote for President Richard Nixon.
- Ken Khachigian wrote for President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan.
- William Safire wrote for President Richard Nixon.
- Ben Stein wrote for President Richard Nixon.
- James Fallows wrote for President Jimmy Carter.
- Chris Matthews wrote for President Jimmy Carter.
- Bob Shrum wrote for Senator Ted Kennedy.
- Peggy Noonan wrote for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
- Christopher Buckley wrote for President George H. W. Bush.
- Michael Johns wrote for President George H. W. Bush.
- Tony Snow wrote for President George H. W. Bush.
- Michael Waldman wrote for Bill Clinton.
- Charlie Fern wrote for First Lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush
- David Frum wrote for President George W. Bush.
- Michael Gerson wrote for President George W. Bush.
- William McGurn wrote for President George W. Bush.
- Marc Thiessen wrote for President George W. Bush.
- Jon Favreau wrote for President Barack Obama.
- Cody Keenan wrote for President Barack Obama.
People get speechwriters. This isn’t news. We know this. We’ve known that high-ranking politicians have had help with their speeches for a very long time.
We also know that people don’t mind that fact very much… I personally feel it’s because people have experienced difficulty writing in their own lives and understand the struggle. I also think that the fact that politicians don’t actively go around taking credit for the work of others changes the equation for people. What a speechwriter appears to people as… is just one person helping another to get things done.
But that is the rub. Right there.
The feel of Trump’s statement is different from that sort of reasoning.
It does not sound like, feel like, a person asking for and getting help.
It feels more like somebody taking credit for work they didn’t do. It feels braggy and staged. It feels like Trump didn’t ask for help… but demanded it… and who he demanded it from doesn’t matter. What matters is his name is on it.
And while President elects have had help before… they never tweeted a photo like Trump’s. You can google what the different photo-ops looked like for the different President elects… I promise you Trump’s looks weird as hell compared to theirs. (They instead seem to prefer to wait for the glam photo opportunities that the oval office offers them)
To add to the negative feeling of Trump’s photo, while I do not know this, that legal pad looks brand new with nothing written on it. Which honestly reminds me of the prop folders used at Trump’s press conference. I don’t know about you… but I am firmly against public servants using props to make it appear that they are doing work that they are not in fact doing.
There is a fundamental difference here. There is a difference between asking for help… and taking credit for other people’s work. I think that’s what bothered me the second I read Trump’s tweet.
But hey. Feelings are weird. Who knows.
The Reaction to Trump’s Tweet For Added Humor
Update (1/18/2017) – More Commentary on Trump’s “Writing” Picture
So there seems to be a small and growing consensus on twitter that Trump’s tweet about writing at Mar-a-lago is in fact just more egotistical puffery out of him. Sad!