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Time’s Phil Elliott Unmasks the Administration of the “Ad-lib President”


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Philip Elliott has “seen it all” in Washington D.C. and today’s White House is nothing like he has ever seen before. It is “chaos” despite protestations to the contrary by Administration members and President Trump himself, according to Elliott.

Elliott has experienced the West Wing under three different administrations. He covered President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama for the Associated Press for over a decade and then switched to Time in 2015 to finish out the Obama Administration and cover the 2016 campaigns.

Now, he is watching mass confusion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: ad hoc meetings with seemingly random people by the President and a Chief of Staff (Reince Priebus) actually running from meeting to sometimes impromptu meeting trying to keep a handle on what’s going on minute by minute.

Elliott calls President Trump the “Ad-lib President.”

It is quite a spectacle to observe compared to the meticulous organization of President Bush and the intense pre-meeting preparation by President Obama.

Although the chaotic atmosphere is grist for a reporter’s mill, Elliott thinks it is disruptive for the country and the Washington political establishment.

Elliott also doesn’t relish being a target for Presidential abuse. He says it is uncomfortable, to a degree, to be characterized by the President as an “enemy of the American people” by being a working journalist. However, Elliott says that the barbed criticism and hyperbole has made him check and re-check his stories. In short, it has made him a more accurate and thorough journalist. The criticism has backfired.
Targeting the media also has caused reporters to be placed in dangerous situations on the campaign trail making reporters and news organization enlist special security protections, according to Elliott.

Despite his concerns about being a target, Elliott concedes that we are witnessing “a first” in American politics. We have a President who has mastered social media concepts and knows exactly how to change the conversation from uncomfortable topics by Tweeting something new and outrageous.

Trump also has a direct link to his constituents without going through reporters to deliver his messages. We have never had such direct communication, according to Elliott, and he feels, the rules of politics have changed forever.

Elliott is a graduate of the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.