As we get closer to the president’s 100th day in office, throughout the week the White House is hosting briefings and events to provide several opportunities for many folks in the press to hear from the administration and our officials on what we’ve achieved in the first 100 days and what we are looking to continue to achieve on days 101, 102, 200, etc. Throughout the week, the president, Cabinet officials and senior White House staff will be talking about the president’s agenda on national, local media and various platforms.
That's right. The 100-day benchmark is so unimportant that the White House is launching a week-long media blitz aimed at convincing voters that Trump's presidency has been a smashing success so far.
If appraising the first 100 days is such a “ridiculous” endeavor, why the big push? Spicer was asked this very question, and he claimed the reason is to satisfy media inquiries.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in this room that hasn’t lodged a request to say, 'We’re writing a story on the 100-day mark. We’re doing this on the 100-day mark,'” Spicer said. “So, you know, we want to make sure we answer your questions as truthfully as possible and as thoroughly and comprehensively.
“We're givers,” he added, drawing laughs from the White House press corps.
Spicer was half-right.
A White House that views the media as the “opposition party” does not do anything simply to make reporters' lives easier. But it is true that the media traditionally takes stock of a presidency after 100 days. During a campaign, journalists often ask candidates about their priorities for the first 100 days. Fox News has a nightly show called “The First 100 Days.” The Washington Post publishes a daily briefing called “Trump's first 100 days.”
In the media, the first 100 days are a thing. The White House knows this and is doing its best to influence the coverage that it knows is coming.
Recall that when Trump reflected on the early weeks of his presidency, in a February interview on Fox News, he said that “in terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C-plus. In terms of achievement, I think I'd give myself an A because I think I've done great things, but I don't think I have — I and my people, I don't think we've explained it well enough to the American public.”
Messaging is a self-identified weakness for the Trump administration. The Obama administration occasionally acknowledged public relations failures of its own.
Crafting policies is not easy, and shaping the narrative about policies is not easy, either. Narratives are important, however, and Trump is smart to try to make the inevitable wave of 100-day stories as favorable as possible.
He should just drop the pretense that he doesn't care.