We have a brief seven days until the GOP convention in Cleveland, and a mere 14 until the Democrats descend on Philadelphia. Both promise to be huge TV events, but till then, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are carefully limiting their TV exposure.
Being cautious on TV may be more significant for Trump, as the GOP finalizes its platform. Having been accused of not adhering to basic conservative tenets, veering off the party line now will be more damaging for Trump, as the convention approaches.
Accordingly, Trump’s staff has heavily cut down on his TV appearances, limiting almost all of them in recent weeks to Fox News or Fox Business.
A significant issue he would likely be asked about on less-friendly networks is that of gay rights. The GOP platform committee rejected a bid to include an acceptance of same-sex marriage. It didn’t change its stance on transgender rights, either.
Trump said during the campaign that he gets “tremendous support” from gays, and has a “tremendous friendship” with them. Likewise, he disagreed with the North Carolina law banning transgender people from using the bathroom of the sex they identify with.
It may sound a bit unintuitive to limit Trump’s TV exposure.
He has clearly leveraged the medium to great success, but with the convention squarely on the horizon, it does make more sense to limit the gaffes. This change of pace may also be a result of new hires in the communications department, as well as additional input from his family.
Hillary Clinton also has a hot topic on her hands. She faces an awkward decision on whether to speak to the press about the results of the FBI’s inquiry into her private email server. While Secretary Clinton has held over 300 interviews in 2016, she hasn’t held a press conference since December 2015.
Following FBI Director Comey’s hearing in Congress last Thursday, it became clear that some of what Clinton said about her email server was untrue. Despite the lack of criminality, Clinton will face renewed accusations of cover-ups and carelessness.
Some Republicans have even suggested that she perjured herself when testifying before the Benghazi Committee, though the effort as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested in October 2015, was motivated by partisan politics.
To date, there have been eight Benghazi investigations, mostly led by Republicans in Congress, without any charges levied.
A press conference is overdue, but probably not preferable before the Democratic convention. Clinton recently received the loud support of former rival Bernie Sanders and overall, the outcome of the FBI investigation is a help to the campaign.