The Trump presidency has descended into full-on farce. The president is now hawking Goya Foods in his latest cynical attempt to attract Latino voters and distract from his horrific COVID-19 failures.
Trump’s Goya saga, like every ridiculous thing he purposely plays up, gets more attention than a state’s governor overturning local mask mandates or a major city’s police force continuing to brutalize and arrest peaceful protestors and citizens for no apparent reason. Stunts like this are designed to take the media’s attention away from more pressing issues. In theory, that makes the Goya photo seem like a great ploy—until you realize Trump’s impetuous desire to trigger the libs is the perfect example of his inability and unwillingness to lead anyone or do his actual job even as thousands of Americans fall ill and die.
CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo chose to address the photo in notably different ways.
— CNN (@CNN) July 16, 2020
Cooper, CNN’s No. 1 anchor, addressed the pandemic news of the day—including Trump’s repeated smears of Dr. Anthony Fauci—with the Goya photo visible in the split screen. During the seven minute clip, Cooper becomes noticeably frustrated with the president’s lack of seriousness and “guts” to own up to the attacks against Fauci and deal directly with the pandemic. It’s a relatively powerful message, one designed to give the president “what he wants” by showcasing the photo while also highlighting his incompetence and hypocrisy.
Chris Cuomo has the only correct reaction to that Trump Goya photo: pic.twitter.com/pfVLllCLI5
— Andrew Peng (@TheAPJournalist) July 16, 2020
Cuomo, on the other hand, was a bit more full-throated. He called the stunt “bullshit” and loudly lamented that Trump used the Resolute Desk to promote Goya products as the country he was elected to lead crumbles around him. It’s the kind of outwardly emotional display you rarely see from a cable news anchor, and given Trump’s ineptitude in the current moment, there’s no doubt many viewers found it refreshing.
There’s no correct way to deal with Trump’s boorishness or obvious media-baiting nonsense. Normally stunts like this wouldn’t be worth covering, but when they tie directly to all that Trump isn’t doing as president, charged responses offer some kind of salve. Sure, both reek of corporate media self-importance—but it’s also not hard to take the high ground and express moral outrage against Trump as he fumbles and fails his way through the worst public health and economic crises in modern American history.
CNN critics can easily bash these responses, label them fake news, and clown Cuomo and Cooper for being “triggered” by Trump’s dumb photo. But showing more interest in trolling people as they desperately call for you to do your job and help stop Americans from dying by the thousands lays bare what the president and those who get a kick out of this are all about. They’re not just operating from positions of immorality, they’re purposely rubbing the immorality in.