After forcing the major networks to accommodate the latest cliffhanger episode of America’s roller-coaster final season, Donald Trump has now issued another defiant blow against his emotionally distant father, television. The official White House Twitter account has announced that Trump will name his nominee for the Supreme Court tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Facebook Live, the streaming service known for thoughtful consideration of matters of national importance, like The Young Pope, as well as the occasional act of torture.
Choosing Facebook Live over a traditional network—who will, nevertheless, still be forced to cover it, as it’s impossible to talk or think about anything else at the moment—will allow Trump to boast about drawing viewers away from their programming, without having to actually compare his ratings to their shows. As a man who has almost assuredly given more thought to whether he can beat NCIS than he has in vetting Neil Gorsuch, Thomas Hardiman, William Pryor, Richard Nixon’s burial suit stuffed with shredded copies of The Fountainhead, or any of the other candidates Steve Bannon has in mind, such bragging rights are important. Almost as important as the ramifications for America that will happen after Trump has made his decision, and the loser is sent home to weep silently in the back of a limousine while the credits play. Dismayingly, we are only sort of joking.
Making the announcement via Facebook Live also means Trump can do so without the mainstream media weighing in with their meaningless opinions. Instead, he can talk directly to his base of commenters spewing racial slurs and frog emojis.
UPDATE: Trump has now named Judge Neil Gorsuch as his pick for the Supreme Court, announcing the selection with a flourish that suggests that a never-ending reality show is still running in his head. Like any good game show host, Trump outlined the rules—referencing a list of names he floated back during the campaign—before making the crowd wait a moment before revealing his pick. (We can consider it an act of near-presidential restraint that he didn’t wait for a commercial break before letting slip the name.) Gorsuch is considered a strong conservative who’s argued in the past for both free speech, and for employers’ rights to deny birth control to employees based on their religious views. It’s not clear at this point what his Nielsen ratings will be.