It is perfectly reasonable for a president to rely on a teleprompter

I recall Obama being mocked in the early days of his presidency for relying heavily on a teleprompter, and I bet there are many who wish Trump would rely more on it.

A president must be mentally swamped 24/7 and have a dozen different things on his mind at any given moment. You cannot expect such a person to come up with spontaneous great historic and eloquent stuff on the spot to speak about Polish history when visiting Warsaw or Yale at a commencement or extensive minority facts and data from memory at the funeral of some civil-rights icon. Nobody has that brainpower. In fact, it’s a wonder that there’s anything a president doesn’t need a teleprompter for; there are a hundred different topics for a hundred different public settings.

Obama got mocked for wearing a tan suit and fist-bumping his wife. The teleprompter stuff was more of the same, and had exactly as much basis as all the other insults people were frantically throwing at him.

For a prepared speech, certainly. If the speech is to sound credible without having to be memorized. Provided the President is able to read, of course.

Trump has the problem that when he does follow a script, he reads it like he’s been held hostage and his captors are forcing him to read the ransom demands.

Trump also has the problem that when he doesn’t follow a script, he just says out loud what he’s thinking.

Is this an issue? Other than Obama being criticised for anything he did, has anyone else been complaining about this?

Problem for him, not for us.

Obama was black and the GOP had a problem with his existence, so we go telepromptergate and mustardgate, etc. The GOP is a white nationalist movement.

The president has to be very careful to say exactly what he means to say, there is no room for error. Speeches are rewritten many times before they get into the hands of any diplomat. How much an individual has to rely on memory aids is not an indicator of his credibility as a statesman.

Of course. It is indeed perfectly reasonable for a president to rely on a teleprompter. Few people would disagree, unless motivated by misplaced partisan fervor.

Lincoln read the Gettysburg address off a note. How is that any different?

In Obama’s case there was a hefty dose of racism at work, too.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were not a sidebar function on a teleprompter that would let someone add suggestions or something to the speaker in response to reporter questions - like having an NSA advisor or lawyer on hand in the background to help out - not that the cheeto would use the suggestions.

I’m sure they can type directly into it. AFAIK, they regularly ‘live’ type into the teleprompters for news anchors.
Do presidents wear an earpiece? If they’re comfortable with it, it seems like it would be easier to have someone talk into your ear and get your suggestions that way. Or, if you’re not good answering questions on the fly (or don’t fully understand the material), an even better way would be to give your speech and let your press secretary field the questions. In theory, your press secretary would have the time to go over the speech, practice for the obvious questions and talk to other people to get an understanding for parts they don’t understand.
At least that’s my theory. However, Trump’s not one to hand the mic over to someone more qualified. I think off all the times in the last few months when someone asked him medical questions and he made up answers. I can’t think of any other president, D or R, that wouldn’t have said “I’m not sure, but in just a minute I’m going to hand this over to Dr Fauci and he can field that question”. How much better would things have been if we had let the medical professional answer the medical questions instead of just making up answers that sound good.

It was never about the teleprompter. It was about clinging to any possible reason to believe that Obama was not intelligent and well-spoken.

The tactic is now being reappropriated and directed at Trump by liberals who mistakenly believe that conservatives will experience shame and comeuppance upon learning that Trump, like Obama, also uses a teleprompter. As has every president since they were invented, probably.

My theory on this has always been that he’s literally getting the words in his ear one at a time so he can’t fuck it up, but I can’t prove it.

I don’t understand this or the original OP. Is it being claimed that this teleprompter shaming is happening often, or is this something that a few people online have done and now it’s being made to sound like everybody’s picking unfairly on Trump?

It is not the use of a teleprompter.
It is the use of hypocrisy.

I too think it’s perfectly reasonable for a president to rely on a teleprompter. Glad we cleared that one up. I would be interested to read reasons why it is not reasonable for a president to rely on a teleprompter.


Really? Could you provide some evidence for that? I hear criticism of Trump constantly - most of it fair but some of it ridiculous - but I have yet to hear anyone criticize Trump for using a teleprompter.

Teleprompters have been in common use by politicians since at least 1952. From Smithsonian Magazine:

By the time the next presidential election rolled around, in 1952, Kahn saw the next frontier for his device. After reading that aging former President Herbert Hoover had had difficulty reading speeches while campaigning for Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Kahn traveled to Chicago, the host city for the Republican National Convention, and persuaded Hoover and other speakers to try out the machine. The technology was an immediate hit—between that convention and the Democratic gathering later that month, 47 of the 58 major speeches were teleprompted.