As the impeachment proceedings against him continue to move forward, Donald Trump has adopted a new strategy to persuade the American public that he should not be removed from office. According to a Washington Post report on Saturday, Trump has decided that he must stage frequent photo opportunities in which he appears to be “hard at work” while Democrats take steps to get him out of the White House.
On Tuesday, Trump will travel to London to take part in the NATO summit meeting. In a Twitter post, Trump attempted to draw a contrast between his own activities and the impeachment process.
“I will be representing our Country in London at NATO, while the Democrats are holding the most ridiculous Impeachment hearings in history,” Trump wrote, claiming that the “Radical Left” was “undercutting our country” by scheduling impeachment hearings on “same dates as NATO!”
The NATO summit is scheduled for December 3 and December 4. The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled its first impeachment hearing for December 4. The House Intelligence Committee, which held two weeks of televised hearings, will hold a hearing to issue its report on the impeachment proceedings on December 3.
On Thanksgiving, Trump made a surprise trip to Afghanistan where he served turkey to troops and delivered a speech touting his accomplishments.
The trip to Afghanistan was “a way of signifying that he is still in command, doing the job, rather than on the run,” political consultant David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, told The Washington Post.
Last week, during televised impeachment hearings, Trump visited an Apple Computer plant in Austin, Texas, where he also staged a series of photo opportunities. The trip was intended to demonstrate that Trump is “focused on doing his job while Washington Democrats chase the great white whale of impeachment,” Republican political strategist Michael Steel told The Washington Post.
According to the report, Trump’s photo op strategy is an attempt to copy the “playbook” used by President Bill Clinton during the impeachment proceedings against him in 1997 and 1998, when Clinton went out of his way to appear “relentlessly focused on doing the business of the American people.”
But Clinton had a significant advantage over Trump. During the impeachment process, Clinton maintained presidential approval ratings over 60 percent, as recorded by FiveThirtyEight, peaking at 67.4 percent in late 1997.
Trump, on the other hand, has struggled to push his approval rating out of the low 40 percent range. Trump has not reached higher than 43.1 percent since September 24, according to the FiveThirtyEight average of all approval rating polls. That is the same day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the opening of the “formal impeachment inquiry” into Trump’s alleged abuse of power.