It has been a question in limbo for a few weeks now, and CNN has gotten official word from the White House. According to an administration official – on condition of anonymity, for some reason – the President will forgo the annual sit-down interview prior to the Super Bowl game.
The broadcast network of the game, NBC, has confirmed that their request for the interview have been declined. They are leaving the invitation open. CNN describes this as “An American tradition”, but frankly it has only been in regular practice for about a decade, beginning with George Bush. Frankly, my family has drinking traditions older than this practice. (HMU if interested in cocktail ideas for the Supe– I mean, “For THE BIG GAME”.)
Initially it seems an odd decision to make for the man who is so focused on self-promotion and adulation. This is the biggest audience available — possibly bigger than his record-setting ratings he had for the State Of The Union speech. (ahem) However bypassing the chance at such a mammoth viewership is not too out of character for many reasons. As we all know The President is vainglorious, but he has also shown to be petty when he feels slighted.
One issue is he has been in a contentious battle with the media, and he frequently has sighted NBC News in his accusations of “Fake News” being delivered. He has singled out NBC reporter Katy Tur, for instance, and during the Matt Lauer controversy asked if any other news personalities would be fired over his perception of reporting malpractice.
Another reason for The President to sidestep this “tradition” is his season-long snit with the NFL. He has been vocal about the protests during the national anthem, and even Vice President Mike Pence famously walked out of a Colt’s game when players were kneeling. This has led to more players declaring they would commence kneeling in protest of the President. So this lack of mutual affection could contribute to his avoidance.
And of course there are no lack of contentious issues sure to be brought up that Trump may prefer to side-step entirely. That “The Memo” being released this weekend would surely be brought to the fore, as well as his recent “Sh** Hole” comments, and the ever-obsessed press is sure to press him on their beloved Russian collusion storyline.
Balance these divisive subjects against the fact that just days ago he had a relatively positively-received SOTU speech and it becomes more obvious why he would choose to avoid what is likely to be a negatively-structured interview. So hey, you’ll get to enjoy the game without your living room devolving into a squabbling mess of familial political strife.
Yell at each other over the teams, in a more healthy fashion.