When Donald Trump’s campaign launched a new nightly Facebook Live show this week, some in the media used it to suggest the Republican nominee is already working to create his own news outlet in case he loses the presidential election.
Cliff Sims — a Trump campaign adviser who co-hosts the campaign’s just-launched “Trump Tower Live” show along with campaign surrogate Boris Epshteyn — says that argument is ridiculous.
“There’s no masterplan,” Sims said in a Wednesday phone interview with The Daily Caller. “We’re completely focused on Nov. 8th. On election day. Nobody has even given a single thought to what’s going to happen after election day in terms of social platforms and that kind of thing.”
On Tuesday, CNN suggested “Trump Tower Live” could be the precursor to a new Trump television channel after the election. “And welcome – maybe – to TrumpTV,” CNN media reporter Brian Stelter said in his news package.
“I think every single one of those stories — not a single person has actually talked to the campaign about it,” Sims said. “Brian Stelter never asked us, ‘Where did this come from? Tell us what you’re thinking.’”
Added Sims: “It’s really yet another example of the bias that is out there against us.”
“They want to create this entire alternative reality as to what this is,” Sims said of the media. “It really is no different from live tweeting a debate. We live tweet Trump’s rallies from the Team Trump account every single day. Now, we’re just moving over and doing Facebook Live. There’s really no difference in principle there.”
And that’s what Sims said led the campaign to create the nightly Facebook Live show, which they say will air nightly at 6:30 P.M. Eastern throughout the campaign. The idea is to give supporters something — not produced by traditional news outlets — to watch ahead of Trump’s rallies.
Introducing the inaugural show Monday, Sims told viewers: “This is just an effort by us to reach out to you guys, give you the message from the campaign. You don’t have to take it through the media filter and all the spin they put on it. And you can hear it from us directly.”
Sims and Epshteyn hosted a similar type of show in the spin room during the Las Vegas debate. That led to discussions about doing it more regularly.
“This is basically us in the war room just brainstorming on ways that we could utilize his massive, online audience,” Sims said. “We’ve seen the way that one tweet from Donald Trump can shape an entire day of news. We’ve seen how, when you stream his rallies, billions of people watch. Compared to Hillary Clinton, when she gets on there and streams her rallies.”
“Frankly, more people watch me on the screen than watch Hillary Clinton,” Sims said.
According to Facebook, Monday’s inaugural “Trump Tower Live” video has 1.5 million views.
“Clearly he’s got this insane following – not just like big but super engaged,” Sims said. “And so the Facebook Live component was really just a result of that brainstorming session of what are some new and different ways that we could use his social platforms.”
The graphics during the broadcast resembles those on cable TV. “ALERT: TRUMP TO HOLD RALLY IN TAMPA SHORTLY,” the screen read during one recent broadcast. There is scrolling text on the bottom of the screen and a box telling viewers what time it is.
The 6:30 p.m. start time goes up against the nightly news shows, but Sims said “that thought never really crossed our minds.”
“We’ve got the facilities here,” Sims added. “We’ve got the equipment here. Our surrogates are hanging out in the building all the time. Kellyanne Conway is here. Jason Miller is here. You know, Rudy pops in. Sean Spicer from the RNC is here all the time. We have a bunch of people popping in and out. We might as well take advantage of the opportunity while they’re here. So I think you’ll see a rotating cast of folks on there in different roles.”
“The bottom line is it would be malpractice for us not to use his enormous social platforms in every possible way that we can to get our message directly to the voters,” he said.