Tag Archives: TelePrompter

Teleprompter went ‘kaput,’ Mr. President? Really?

Donald Trump isn’t prone to saying he’s sorry for anything, so no one should have expected him to apologize for the ridiculous assertion he made about 18th-century airports during his “Salute to America” speech Thursday night.

His blaming the mistake on a rained-on Teleprompter does require a certain suspension of disbelief. The mistake went viral, with Twitter hounds around the world poking fun at the president.

Why? Because he made some goofball reference to revolutionary soldiers “taking the airports” while they fought for their independence in 1775. You know the rest of it: The first airplane didn’t take flight until Dec. 17, 1903.

Blame it on the rain, Mr. POTUS

He said the gadget from which he was reading his text “went kaput” in the heavy rain that soaked the event. Does that also explain why he referenced “Fort McHendry,” when he should have said “McHenry,” and that that battle to which he was referring occurred during the War of 1812?

OK. I’m not going to belabor this point. Suffice to say, though, that the president of the United States is hardly a student of the very history of this great country. He made a mistake while seeking to extol the nation’s greatness.

If only, though, this individual — Donald Trump — could just say it loudly and clearly: I messed up. My bad.

Teleprompter Trump vs. Twitter Trump

I read a headline today that wondered which version of Donald Trump we’re going to see Tuesday when he stands before a joint congressional session to deliver a State of the Union speech.

Will it be Teleprompter Trump or Twitter Trump?

Oh, brother. Neither version of the president of the United States is particularly appealing to me. Then again, I’m a critic of the president, so he’s got a huge mountain to climb to swing me to his side of the great political divide.

Teleprompter Trump seeks to sound presidential. However, he’s not very good at it. I watch Teleprompter Trump deliver remarks while reading prepared text and I get the feeling I am watching someone who doesn’t believe a single word he is saying. He speaks as if he’s being held hostage. His message sounds like one of those phony confessions one’s captors force a prisoner to make.

Teleprompter Trump is insincere. I don’t believe him when he speaks to us in that fashion. For that matter, I don’t believe anything he says at any time, under any circumstance. Scratch that notion. He is particularly unbelievable when he’s reading from a device that rolls prepared text in front of him.

Twitter Trump is another sort of creature altogether. This is the version of the Donald Trump that speaks from what passes for his heart, or his brain, or whatever source that produces those incoherent ramblings.

Twitter Trump is what we see at those political rallies. We saw that version of Donald Trump throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. He has showed up repeatedly while serving as president. He wails and whines about the “witch hunt,” or the “hoax.” He throws out those goofy and nonsensical nicknames/epithets he hangs on his political adversaries.

If Teleprompter Trump falls short of sounding presidential, Twitter Trump makes no attempt at delivering high-minded rhetoric. Twitter Trump makes me cringe. He embarrasses me, even though I take no responsibility for his winning the 2016 presidential election.

Which of them will show up on Capitol Hill to deliver the SOTU? It doesn’t matter to me. I guess I just consider it a bit of a back story to a larger drama that continues to play out — with a potentially tragic ending yet to come.

Now, a good word for Teleprompters

I stand before you in defense of Teleprompters.

They are a commonly used device. Politicians use them all the time. They’ve been in use for decades. Speechwriters prepare the text that pols deliver and put them on these devices. Then the pol reads the remarks from a screen at eye level, which is meant to give the audience the illusion of extemporaneous speech.

It ain’t.

Donald J. Trump is going to read a speech tonight. He’ll talk about his strategy in Afghanistan and perhaps reveal how he intends to fight the 16-year-long Afghan War. I’ve heard the president’s critics say all day about how he’s going to read a speech written by someone else. These critics intend to diminish the words the president will say.

C’mon, folks.

We heard much of the same sort of criticism leveled at Barack Obama when he was president. His critics would demean his statements that he would read from a Teleprompter. “He gives a good speech,” they say, “but he doesn’t mean it. He’s speaking someone else’s words.”

Every single president dating back to, oh, Dwight Eisenhower have read speeches from Teleprompters; Ike was the first president to use the device to deliver a State of the Union speech. Some are more graceful using the device than others. Donald Trump clearly needs practice using the Teleprompter. When you watch him stand in front of the Teleprompter, you end up anticipating when he’s going to launch into one of those nonsensical, unscripted riffs.

His reading of the text often sounds painful; some folks have described his Teleprompter performances as sounding as if he is being held hostage.

Have you ever watched Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech? Of course you have. Dr. King started reading the prepared text; I believe he had a Teleprompter. His prepared remarks were fine. Then he veered into the ad-lib portion that has become legendary. “I have a dream,” he would repeat. He tossed out the prepared remarks and finished with “Thank God Almighty, I am free at last!”

So, let’s stop obsessing over whether the president uses a Teleprompter. Of course he does! As he should.

Teleprompters and tweets will be the ‘highlight’


I guess we’ll have to call the 2016 presidential campaign a battle of Teleprompters and tweets.

It all kind makes me wish for more “horse-race” coverage with media pundits fixated on who’s up and who’s down as the race for the White House unfolds.

Not this time … maybe.

Much of the coverage over the past few hours of Republican nominee-to-be Donald J. Trump’s Richmond, Va., rally speech dealt with how he ditched the Teleprompter and veered wildly “off script.”

Trump used the device in a previous speech after he won all those primary battles the same night that Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton clinched her party’s nomination.

The punditry critiqued Trump’s Teleprompter performance as “staid,” “uninspired” and a few other not-too-flattering terms.

So, he went on the attack again — free-wheeling it without the device. It wasn’t “staid.” It was typical Trump, full of stream-consciousness riffs about the success of his businesses and his various name-calling, referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” and of course to “Crooked Hillary.”

He’s becoming the Twitter champ as well.

The day that Clinton gave that blistering critique of Trump’s supposed “foreign policy,” she mentioned how he likes to send out tweets and said he probably was doing so as she spoke. Sure enough, that’s what he did.

Sen. Warren also is pretty swift with the Twitter method of communicating. Clinton’s probably going to get the hang of it, too.

The deal with the Teleprompter analysis, though, is that Trump brought it up. He’s the one who keeps chiding other candidates for relying on the device. Some are good at using it. Others are, well, not so good. Trump is one of the latter category of public speakers.

Then again, his aimless, scatter-shot extemporaneous delivery of his applause lines aren’t so hot, either.

Let the campaign continue.

That darn TelePrompter

Maybe you’ve heard some of the criticism of President Obama from those on the right. They’ve chortled at his reliance on TelePrompters to deliver his soaring rhetoric.

Well, all politicians use the device. It doesn’t matter which party to which they belong. The TelePrompter has been a staple of stump speeches, State of the Union speeches, address to international audiences, hey, perhaps even at county fairs.

Well, Sarah Palin — who I’m quite sure has jabbed and poked at the president for his use of the device over the years — had a little trouble of her own at Rep. Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit.


The former half-term governor of Alaska had the darn thing freeze up on her while she delivered her remarks to her fans at the Iowa meeting. She turned out to be, well, not quite so quick on her feet. She started rambling and got a bit confused as she was forced, due to technical difficulties, to improvise on the spot.

Hey, stuff happens. Right?

Just maybe now we can put an end to the pointless criticism — by politicians — who make fun of other politicians’ reliance on a machine that makes ’em sound good.