Once again, a move which was intended to boost Trump’s credibility may have very well backfired on the reality star-turned politician.
On Wednesday, the president-elect held his first press conference since his election. Trump sought to reconcile concerns about his conflicts of interest by showing up with a giant stack of manila folders with him and telling reporters that the folders were filled with “just some of the many documents I’ve signed turning over complete and total control (of the company) to my sons.”
From the get-go, the move was perceived as bizarre by many viewers, who were unsure why Trump felt the need to have this particular visual aid.
However, Twitter users soon started to notice that photos of the manila folders revealed that none of the alleged documents were tabbed or labeled, and that the papers inside the folders had no page numbers — in fact, the papers seemed to be utterly blank.
It didn’t take much sleuthing to realize that actual legal documents don’t look like stacks of letter-sized pages in unlabeled manila folders.
Subsequently, many Twitter users have accepted the very real possibility that Trump simply brought a pile of blank computer paper to the press conference in order to reassure everyone that he was responsible and taking care of his problematic conflicts of interest.
Naturally, it’s dangerous to presume that the folders were absolutely and irrefutably blank, particularly in this era of fake news and misleading partisan “reports.”
However, as The Independent reports:
While the majority of the sheets were hidden, some of them were visible – and there was no sign of page numbers or the sticky notes that lawyers tend to use to mark places in large documents.
The paper itself also appeared to be the wrong size, printed on A4 rather than legal size sheets, and appears to have fallen like fresh sheets of paper. And the folders themselves were also entirely blank, despite Mr. Trump suggesting that each of them related to a different business that Mr. Trump was moving himself away from.
It is possible that the documents had been printed precisely for the press conference, but the fact that reporters weren’t allowed to check the details of the documents led to concern that they didn’t include any information at all.
It’s possible that the pages did not look legitimate because they were reprinted purely for the purposes of the press conference — however, going to such trouble would seemingly imply that Trump was open to the possibility of journalists looking at the documents. Instead, no one was allowed to glimpse the contents of the folders, muddying the apparent clarity that the documents were supposed to bestow upon the press conference.
Who knows? If the pages were indeed blank, would anyone really be that surprised?
This whole year has been a political circus. I doubt any of us would bat an eye if we realized there were props involved.