David Axelrod, former campaign manager for Barack Obama, put the blame at the feet of President Donald Trump for the reason that no positive news stories can gain traction about the White House.
In a panel discussion on CNN Friday, Axelrod said that the constant need for Trump to derail positive events with negative tweets must be “exasperating” to his staff.
“There is this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Tweet,” Axelrod continued. “It was a well-crafted message today, and they wanted that to be the story, all about jobs. And then you put out this incredibly inflammatory tweet tonight, and it hijacks the story. We talk about it, others will talk about it. He must know. He’s savvy in the ways of the media, he must know when he puts a tweet like that out, it’s going to eclipse everything out. I’m sure it’s a source of great frustration to people trying to keep him on message, trying to craft a message on the thing that works for him, which is jobs and the economy.”
New Yorker correspondent Ryan Lizza said that he spoke to a senior White House official, who told him that they spent the week trying to decide who the enemy of the White House is. Instead of that enemy being ISIS, terrorism or even North Korea, they thought about potential opponents like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democrats, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the media. Ultimately, they settled on it being the media.
“Somebody said it was a Steve Bannon solution,” Lizza said. “They had one enemy, Hillary Clinton, she’s gone and I think they’ve struggled to find someone to replace her.”
Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin explained that he isn’t idealistic about what he does as a member of the media, but to call the entire media an enemy of the state was “chilling.”
Lizza noted that the only other source Trump has attacked via Twitter and called an enemy is ISIS. Axelrod said that while many people might find the media annoying people generally don’t see them as the enemy.
“He said when you oppose me you’re an enemy of the people,” Axelrod said. “I think the American people will think that’s a bridge too far.”
Watch the full exchange below:
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