Will Lawyer Jay Sekulow Be Trump's New Favorite TV Surrogate?
After joining the President's legal team earlier this month, the attorney was tasked with CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News Sunday appearances.
Jay Sekulow, a longtime lawyer for the Christian Right, only very recently became a member of President Trump's legal team. But on Sunday he was given a tall task: communicating the message that President Trump is not actually under investigation, even as the president tweeted Friday, "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!"
Sekulow appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, CBS News' Face the Nation, CNN's State of the Union and Fox News Sunday. On Monday morning, the blitz continued, as he appeared on CNN's New Day and Fox News' Fox & Friends.
On the Sunday morning shows, Sekulow was forced to go toe-to-toe with news anchors who seemed generally aghast at the case he was trying to make. His interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace proved to be the most combative and compelling one.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the White House reached out to CBS News on Thursday and asked if the network would be interested in a Sunday morning interview with Sekulow. CBS News was then put in touch with a Sekulow associate who helped book the interview the next day. (Networks are generally loath to discuss their booking practices.)
"Sekulow went out yesterday for a significant reason," America's Newsroom anchor Bill Hemmer said on Fox News Monday morning, before asking former Gov. John Sununu to appraise Sekulow's performance.
Earlier in the morning, Kellyanne Conway summed up the case Sekulow had made ad nauseam on Sunday. "He’s saying that nobody has ever notified the president that he’s under investigation," she said. " ... And what Jay Sekulow went on to say is that is that that’s the president responding to a Washington Post report that included five anonymous sources."
In a manner that would probably please his boss, Sekulow twice made mention of television ratings when comparing the reach of a cable network with President Trump's reach on social media.
"I mean you've got great ratings, no doubt about it, Chris," he told Chris Wallace. "But let's face it, the president speaks to 107 million people through his social media platforms." On Meet the Press, he said, "But when you see a tweet, okay, or a utilization of social media, and the president has, I mean, his social media reach is over a hundred million. A little bit more than probably are watching us today. I know you have good ratings, but it reaches a lot of people."
Sekulow has long appeared as a commentator on Fox News and Christian Broadcasting Network, and has burnished his television chops by hosting his own show, ACLJ This Week.
The White House could certainly use another valuable surrogate, and it remains to be seen whether Sekulow will become an ubiquitous presence on network and cable news going forward.