Fox News host Martha MacCallum breathlessly hyped that Donald Trump was going to “pivot” toward a more presidential tone, the same day that Trump himself said, “I am who I am. … I don’t want to pivot.”
Trump told a Wisconsin television station on August 16, “I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh, well you’re going to pivot.’ I don’t want to pivot.”
Just hours laters, MacCallum, awaiting a Trump rally billed as a “law and order” speech, repeatedly wondered “if perhaps the long-awaited pivot is underway, regardless of the fact that he says it absolutely is not.”
MacCallum also said, “He says he is not going to pivot, and yet we are seeing some indications of pivots, in terms of the Muslim ban, in terms of the NATO stance that he took. He has pivoted”:
Media figures have time and time again hyped an imaginary Trump pivot, often claiming that Trump’s occasional subdued tone (aided by the use of a TelePrompter) or his sporadic abstention of personal attacks evidence some “pivot” to becoming a more “serious-sounding candidate.”
By constantly searching for Trump’s pivot, the media have effectively whitewashed all of the racist, sexist, slanderous, and conspiratorial attacks Trump doled out, and mainstreamed the idea that Trump’s past diatribes could be forgiven so long as he assumes a veneer of conventional, tempered behavior.
Even after Trump himself has definitively said there is no pivot coming, some media figures refuse to put this false narrative to rest.