Outgoing French Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud came out in support of President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter to sidestep the press because some outlets are “so anti-Trump.”
President Trump has long been criticized for his distaste for the mainstream press in the U.S., especially for his claim that some reporters are “the enemy of the people.” Under his administration, the White House has kicked the tradition of attending the White House Correspondents Dinner and greatly reduced the number of press briefings.
Instead of the traditional forms of communicating with the press, Trump has opted to hold many small press gaggles directly with reporters and turned to Twitter as his main form of communication with the American people.
Araud told the New York Times that he doesn’t blame Trump for changing up the traditional interactions with the press because he believes some are biased against Trump.
“The press, to be frank, is so anti-Trump that I do understand that the natural reaction of Trump is to go over the head of the press,” Araud told Times reporter Maureen Daud.
Araud himself is not a huge Trump fan, calling him a bigmouth and being forced to delete an election night tweet that said, “A world is collapsing before our eyes. Vertigo.”
Still, he acknowledged that Trump faces an uphill battle with many in the press. Despite the booming economy, press coverage of Trump has been overwhelmingly negative, even more so than the coverage of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
One report found that 92 percent of press coverage of Trump from mainstream outlets was negative.
Araud claimed the “genius” of Trump was that he could see the discontent of middle America and was able to tap into that while navigating the press.
“I do think the genius — and I’m using the word genius — of Donald Trump is to have felt the crisis,” said Araud.
Araud claimed that Trump has transformed not only the way presidents manage the press but the political system as a whole. He noted that he thinks the 2020 election will be difficult for Democrats because they must also redefine their party.
“You had a Republican Party that was really free trade, interventionist in foreign policy, connected to budgetary restrain. And suddenly you have a Republican Party that is shifting to protectionism, nationalism, defense of the identity. Exactly the same thing is happening to conservative parties across the Western democracies. Social democracy is in a coma in Europe, so I do think the elections in 2020 will be totally fascinating in America because the Democratic Party will be obliged to answer the question, ‘What does it mean to be on the left in America?’”
Araud has served as the French ambassador to the U.S. since 2014.