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Trump's too afraid to sit down for traditional Super Bowl interview

Donald Trump has made a lot of noise about black NFL players protesting police brutality, but he is now reportedly skipping a Super Bowl interview where he might be asked about it.

By Oliver Willis - January 19, 2018
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Donald Trump

Facing anemic approval ratings and an American public consistently opposing him, Donald Trump is again reportedly set to deviate from American traditions and skip the pre-Super Bowl interview this year.

The game will be broadcast on Feb. 4 on NBC. Variety reports that “according to a person familiar with the matter,” the White House has told NBC that Trump will not consent to be interviewed.

It’s an odd decision, given that Trump has spent months complaining about NFL players protesting police brutality against black Americans, but apparently isn’t willing to defend himself in an interview where the topic is likely to come up.

Trump may be gun shy after his last disastrous NBC interview. That was when he sat down with Lester Holt, the network’s lead anchor, back in May of 2017, and admitted he fired then-FBI Director James Comey because he wouldn’t clear him in the agency’s investigation of Russian election meddling.

Less than a week after that interview, special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to conduct the Russia investigation, which has seen two Trump campaign aides convicted, with two more indicted.

Trump or his team might worry about his inability to articulate himself without creating more legal headaches.

Trump could just be afraid of sitting down with an outlet that isn’t Fox News. His media strategy largely consists of giving interviews, especially televised ones, only to pro-Trump outlets like Fox News. When he has faced scrutiny from other networks that don’t speak from his pre-approved script, the encounters have flustered him and left him red-faced in anger.

Concerns about perceived hostility from NBC News don’t hold much water either. Fox News led the opposition to President Barack Obama, particularly via prime-time host Bill O’Reilly, who was later removed from the network for sexual harassment.

Obama sat for interviews with O’Reilly when Fox hosted the Super Bowl both in 2011 and 2014. Obama was able to handle a hostile interview in front of an audience of millions.

George W. Bush was also interviewed by CBS before the Super Bowl when he was in the White House, even though Fox was a much safer space for Bush during his presidency.

Trump, however, is apparently still hiding from the media. It’s been almost a full year since he held a solo press conference, and it’s been eight months since he gave a TV interview to an outlet other than Fox. Whatever the reason, it’s certainly a cowardly path for the president of the United States to take.

But his problems weren’t created by NBC or the rest of the media. Trump is his own worst enemy.


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