Donald Trump held a press conference after results from the Super Tuesday voting come in on March 15 — the third primary night in row that Trump has elected to stage a "press conference," preceded by a lengthy, impromptu speech, rather than the traditional victory party favored by most presidential candidates.
This "press conference" was different, however, because Trump left without taking questions from the press — after condemning members of the media as "disgusting.
Trump has reason to be confident that his press conference will come with the word "victory" attached. Polls show him leading comfortably in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Illinois. Only in Ohio, where Trump is locked in a statistical dead heat with the state's own governor John Kasich,
With polls closing in the five states voting Tuesday at either 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Trump is set to take the podium at his Mar-A-Lago estate — the 115-room Palm Beach Mansion he purchased in 1985 for between $10 million and $15 million and promptly converted into a private club with membership fees of $100,000 plus $14,000 in annual dues — at 9 p.m., possibly later if results in Ohio remain up in the air.
Watch a full replay of the Donald Trump Super Tuesday victory "press conference" in the video below.
According to political insiders, Trump has opted for the "press conference" approach rather that for the usual victory party in an attempt to appear "presidential." He usually appears in front of a phalanx of American flags.
"It is a smart move," Matthew Dowd, former chief campaign President George W. Bush, said in a CNN interview. "One, it sets him apart from all the others who give canned speeches. Two, it makes him look like the dominant force taking questions. Like a president at a press conference."
But not everyone on the political scene finds the Trump "press conference" setting impressive.
"He looks like a guy trying to play president, but his language and behavior still suggest the audacious circus with which we've become familiar," said former Barack Obama top campaign strategist David Axelrod. "It has the feel more of a Saturday Night Live cold open."At a press conference following his wins in the Michigan and Mississippi primaries on March 8, however, Trump appeared to undermine the "presidential" image that he was evidently attempting to construct, by using the occasion to boast about various products that he has marketed, including "Trump Wine" and "Trump Steaks."
Why would he even bother? Fake Trump steaks? Really? When Trump Steaks at a Trump Event Aren't Really 'Trump Steaks' https://t.co/x7fYHXF5hdWatch Trump tout his products — including the discredited Trump University — at his March 8 press conference in the video below.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 13, 2016
Trump's infomercial-style hawking of his products drew wide ridicule, with even the President of the United States joining the fun, taking a few off-the-cuff shots at Trump in a recent speech.
Obama mocks Trump steaks, wine....https://t.co/N7DGk6oQuj via @YouTubeNonetheless, from a political point of view, the press conference strategy appears to be a stroke of genius by Trump, as the ploy has captivated the media, with all three major cable television news networks — CNN, MSNBC and Fox News — covering Trump's speech and press conference in its entirety, ignoring a victory speech by Democratic frontrunner in the process.
— Emilien Bayette (@EmilienBayette) March 15, 2016
MSNBC later ran Clinton's speech on a tape-delayed basis.
The press conference approach fits with the Trump campaign's overall strategy of using free media coverage — that is, coverage on news programs, in newspapers and other outlets including social media — rather than paid advertising, to propel the real estate magnate's presidential bid.
According to a New York Times study published on Tuesday, Trump's campaign has been enormously successful with the free media strategy, thanks to the news media's fascination with his often outrageous antics.
In February alone, the Times found, Trump received the equivalent of $400 million worth of media exposure — free. That total is more than 2008 Republican nominee John McCain spent on his entire presidential campaign that year.
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"Over the course of the campaign, he has earned close to $2 billion worth of media attention, about twice the all-in price of the most expensive presidential campaigns in history," the Times reported. "It is also twice the estimated $746 million that Hillary Clinton, the next best at earning media, took in. Senator Bernie Sanders has earned more media than any of the Republicans except Mr. Trump."
Donald Trump has spent only about $10 million on paid media so far, compared to roughly 28 million each for Democrats Sanders and Clinton. Whether or not the news networks elect once again to carry the Trump press conference in its entirety once again, however, the whole thing will stream live right here, on this page, above.
[Featured Photo By Lynne Sladky / Associated Press]