Longtime Republican pollster and political strategist Frank Luntz slammed Donald Trump on Thursday, predicting his influence would quickly fade and arguing that the former president brought on the bans from various social media platforms by his own actions.
Luntz made the remarks while speaking on the New York Times podcast, “Sway,” with host Kara Swisher just minutes after Facebook’s oversight board upheld the platform’s decision to restrict Trump’s access following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
During the interview, the pollster claimed that Trump, though at the moment still influential, will never be able to affect politics in the same way given his lack of access to social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, and his displacement from the Oval Office.
“He’ll never engage in the way he did before, because he simply doesn’t have that capability,” Luntz argued. “He can’t hop on Air Force One. He cannot dominate the news coverage. He can get a sliver of it. And he will continue to do so. He’s not going away.
“That said, it just doesn’t move people the way that it used to,” he continued. “And with every passing month, he’ll become less and less relevant.”
Later in the interview, Luntz proclaimed that “Donald Trump has no one but himself to blame” regarding his indefinite removal from social media platforms.
“His behavior, his actions, his words led to all of this,” Luntz argued. “And he didn’t understand that he was actually sowing the seeds of his own destruction, of his own impeachment, by making it impossible for Republicans to govern around him. And he still doesn’t understand it. But it’s his own damn fault for the situation that he is in.”
Luntz then went even further back than the Capitol riot, all the way to the lead-up to 2020 presidential election to argue that Trump could have won back the presidency if he would’ve turned in a better first debate performance.
“And it’s his own damn fault, just in his debate performance — in that first debate performance,” he said. “Trump’s behavior at that debate was disgraceful. It was an embarrassment. And that was his behavior for so much of his presidency. He has a legitimate record to defend, a legitimate record of success. But his own demeanor ended up costing Republican seats in the House and in the Senate.”
Trump, who remains the most popular figure in the Republican Party, would almost certainly lead the field of 2024 presidential contenders should he choose to run again. Though as time goes on, there is at least some evidence that his popularity is gradually falling.
This week, in an effort to share his views and communicate with supporters amid the social media bans, the former president launched his own personal online message board.