Art of the Spiel: The Mandatory Guide to Giving a Presidential Speech Nobody Will Forget
We give a lot of grief to Donald Trump and rightfully so. The guy is an idiot. But, it can be argued (by someone, somewhere, we’re sure), that one thing Trump is good at is making a deal. This will probably serve him well in the future when he’s forced to take a plea deal, but it has served him before as well.
Before Trump was the president of the United States (we still hate saying that), he was a businessman — an extremely notable businessman at that. Though he did file for bankruptcy and screw over, like, tons of people, he must have been somewhat successful because he made a lot of money for himself and others. In fact, his deal-making was so good (or whatever), that he even wrote a book about it.
The Art of the Deal was written by Trump (or, more accurately, probably dictated by Trump to an actual writer [Trump loves being a dictator]), in 1987 and it was probably meant to be read as a self-help book but, because it’s Donald Trump, it was more of a self-congratulatory book. Still, he made a lot of key points in the book that he would continue to live by, even as the president of the United States.
Any good businessman will tell you that to be a good salesman, you have to be a good public speaker. Definitions of “good” are subjective in this case, but Trump does know how to engage an audience. There are many similarities between cutting a good deal and giving a good speech and, after reading his book (don’t ever say we don’t suffer for you), we have compiled the perfect way to make a deal or give a speech, as told to us by the President himself. This is the Mandatory Guide to Giving a Presidential Speech Nobody Will Forget or, as we like to call it, The Art of the Spiel.
Cover Photo: Eric Schultz (Getty Images)
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Make Sure Commitments Don’t Get In The Way Of Your Speech Writing
Given that Trump says really dumb shit a lot, it’s hard to imagine him actually sitting down and thinking about what he’s going to say. But he must, at some point. So in between golfing and eating McDonald's, we’ll assume he fits some time into his day to actually prepare his speech. On those days, don’t bother him.
From The Art of the Deal: "I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open. You can't be imaginative or entrepreneurial if you've got too much structure. I prefer to come to work each day and just see what develops."
Always Criticize Everybody Else
This is his favorite thing to do -- in speeches, on Twitter, probably even when he talks in his sleep. Trump loves to criticize everyone else, whether it’s Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, black people, and more. In Trump’s mind, he’s entitled to this right and he will absolutely use his platform to talk down to people.
From The Art of the Deal: "The way I see it, critics get to say what they want to about my work, so why shouldn't I be able to say what I want to about theirs?"
Exaggerate (i.e. Lie) As Much As Possible
We’ve all heard the rhetoric: “This is the greatest,” “I am the best,” “You’ve never seen something this big,” etc. In deals, and in speeches, Trump believes the key to success is to exaggerate or, more accurately, to just fucking lie.
From The Art of the Deal: "The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion."
Engage the Press
The love/hate relationship President Trump has with the press has more twists and turns than even the silliest of soap operas. Trump loves when people, especially the press, talk about him. He just doesn’t love when people talk badly about him or, worse, actually call him out on his shit. Sometimes it seems as though Trump purposefully baits members of the press in his speeches, simply to see how they react.
From The Art of the Deal: "One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It's in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.”
It Doesn’t Matter What You Say, You Can Always Back Out
Remember when Trump said Mexico was going to pay for the border wall? That was, like, the whole basis of his 2016 campaign. But it still hasn’t happened, and it’s been four years. Luckily for Trump, he has an out. He can just “change his mind.”
From The Art of the Deal: "I never get too attached to one deal or one approach. For starters, I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first."
Deliver Results, Or At Least Make People Think You’re Delivering Results
“The economy is better than it ever has been and unemployment is the lowest it’s ever been,” says your uncle at the dinner table in between gulps of his Bud Light. Whether that’s true or not (it’s not), it probably had very little to do with actual work done by Trump. He’s usually too busy golfing. Still, if he can say in a speech that things are going well, many people are apt to believe him (that goes back to the exaggerating/hyperbole/being a fucking liar thing). Eventually, though, people will start to realize that no matter how great you say things are in your speech, the country is actually kind of a dumpster fire right now and now we have to vote for the creepy grandpa from Family Guy because even he isn’t as awful as you are.
From The Art of the Deal: "You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on."
If Need Be, Escalate
When Trump was elected, people were quick to point out that “he wasn’t a politician,” and he “wouldn’t play by their rules.” Now, putting aside the fact that it’s kind of a dumb idea to elect a president who hasn’t actually ever worked in politics before (as the past four years have shown us), it can be argued that Trump’s lack of tact in the way he communicates is what his supporters like best about him. Whether he is calling people names, making fun of disabled people, or trying to match wits (and losing, BTW) with a porn star, Trump doesn’t ever back down, even when he’s wrong. He’s usually wrong.
From The Art of the Deal: "When people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard. The risk is you'll make a bad situation worse, and I certainly don't recommend this approach to everyone. But my experience is that if you're fighting for something you believe in — even if it means alienating some people along the way — things usually work out for the best in the end."
Win At All Costs
This is the big one. When delivering a speech, it’s important to get the final word, the final say and to deliver the final message. One might argue that Trump would even offer a Final Solution if he could. Trump is a cutthroat businessman, er, leader of the country. And he will do anything to come out on top. Even if it means denigrating an entire country.
From The Art of the Deal: "I'm the first to admit that I am very competitive and that I'll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win. Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition."