On Episode #122, Rich Klein was joined by Shel Holtz, Ruth Sherman and Greg Brooks as they analyzed the news conference held earlier in the day by President-Elect Donald J. Trump and had a larger discussion about the communication abilities of the incoming administration.
Brooks said that aside from Trump facing crises before taking office, that the media and the Democrats were also in crisis mode.
Holtz pointed out that President Obama has taken his message directly to the public and that the White House press corps often complained about access to the President, but that Trump had taken both to a new level.
Sherman noted that some of her business clients are concerned about Trump’s verbal attacks on business and the impact that may have on their own businesses and industries.
Klein expressed surprise that Vice President-Elect Pence and incoming Trump press secretary Sean Spicer opened Trump’s first news conference in six months by attacking news media outlets connected to the hacking crisis.
The group also touched on the confirmation hearings of some Trump nominees. Sherman said when it comes to speech communications, that “if the way you look and sound contradicts what you say, people will believe the way you look and sound instead of what you say. ” She said, for example, that Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions came across as likeable. Holtz noted that, similarly, Vice President-Elect came across as more presidential than former VP candidate Tim Kaine in their debate.
Klein asked the group about the communication skills of Trump’s key spokespeople. Brooks said that Kellyanne Conway is very good at her role of promoting Trump’s messages, particularly on the nightly news programs. He said the incoming Trump administration is still challenged in communicating policies and finding the right spokespeople (“policy wonks”) in those roles. Klein expressed concern that Conway said not to listen to what comes out of Trump’s mouth but to listen to what’s in his heart. He thinks that statement was a significant mistake that will come back to haunt her and the Administration.
But all agreed about her overall effectiveness in carrying Trump’s messages and Pence was also recognized as an able spokesperson on behalf of Trump.