I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00pm.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
Trump previously advertised similar, decision-themed TV events pegged to U.S. participation in the Paris climate accord and the nomination of a Supreme Court justice.
I will be announcing my decision on Paris Accord, Thursday at 3:00 P.M. The White House Rose Garden. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2017
I have made my decision on who I will nominate for The United States Supreme Court. It will be announced live on Tuesday at 8:00 P.M. (W.H.)— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
The president also recently told the public to “stay tuned” for news about hostages held by North Korea.
As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani said on “Fox & Friends” the next day that “we got Kim Jong Un impressed enough to be releasing three prisoners today,” but the release still has not happened, and Giuliani later said he spoke without firsthand knowledge.
Not all teases work out perfectly.
But since his election, Trump has consistently sought to build suspense around his actions. Other examples:
Big-game trophy decision will be announced next week but will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Big TAX REFORM AND TAX REDUCTION will be announced next Wednesday.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2017
Working hard to get the Olympics for the United States (L.A.). Stay tuned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2017
I will be making my announcement on the next Secretary of State tomorrow morning.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
I will be going to Indiana on Thursday to make a major announcement concerning Carrier A.C. staying in Indianapolis. Great deal for workers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2016
Some of these moves are genuinely monumental and would receive extensive media coverage in any case. Trump, however, seems to enjoy showcasing his power to command attention.
The Supreme Court nomination, for example, required any network that wanted to carry it live to alter its prime-time lineup, something the major broadcasters are loath to do. On the day that Trump tweeted his plan for an 8 p.m. reveal, three of the four big networks would not say whether they would air the announcement in place of regularly scheduled shows.
Ultimately, they all ran it.
In the run-up to Tuesday's decision on the Iran nuclear deal, CNN and Fox News promoted the announcement in on-screen graphics, even when covering other matters. It is easy to imagine the president, a voracious consumer of cable news, watching approvingly.
The New York Times reported in December that “before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals.” On certain days, the television-show mentality is more apparent than others. Tuesday was one of those days.