On Monday, Trump said in a Facebook post that he was revoking the Washington Post’s press credentials because of inaccurate coverage of his campaign.
“Is this openly adversarial relationship with the media a good idea? Will it pay off politically?” Schirach, director of the Global Peace Institute, said on Tuesday. “This narrative had some good traction during the Republican primaries. But now it is a different story.”
Trump, a New York billionaire, had successfully presented himself to Republican voters in the four month primary election campaign as an outsider to the party’s old political establishment, fighting the good fight, all alone and his strategy had met with great success, Schirach acknowledged.
“Trump wants to present himself as the New Leader who is fighting for America — and this is why the entire establishment… oppose him,” he said.
However, now Trump had to expand his campaign and fight it at a more sophisticated level to a very different national audience, Schirach pointed out.
“Trump has to craft a national campaign. This means creating a strong appeal way beyond his loyal — but narrow — base,” he said.
In the short term, Trump’s latest row with the Washington Post was likely to expand his core base, but its longer-term prospects were more problematical, Schirach cautioned.
“Attacking the liberal media may get him some new supporters. But making too many enemies may not be the best strategy for an outsider who wants to convince millions of Americans that he is absolutely the best person to lead the country out of the swamps of mediocrity and into greatness,” he added.
The size and complexity of US society meant that broad, often complicated and complex coalitions of many different groups were necessary to attract the scores of millions of voters necessary to win a presidential election, Schirach explained.
“In the end, Americans like politicians who reach out and build grand coalitions on the basis of broad new ideas,” he said.
Getting involved in a bitter, ongoing fight with a major news organization like the Washington Post could risk making Trump look petty and un-presidential, Schirach warned.
“At a minimum, fighting a daily guerrilla war [with the newspaper] will be a distraction for Trump. Worst case scenario: an overly belligerent, intolerant candidate will not be able to win over the millions of independent voters whose support he really needs in order to get elected president,” he said.
Trump believes that the liberal media are engaged in a conspiracy to distort whatever he says in order to discredit his candidacy and bring him down, Schirach concluded.
Trump was critical of the Washington Post for claiming that Trump connected President Obama to the Orlando massacre.