It’s not a stretch to describe President Donald Trump as the most unconventional and least traditional president to preside over America in a very long time.
So it should come as absolutely no surprise that Trump is reportedly foregoing a nearly 10-year-old annual tradition originated by George W. Bush.
It’s doubly unsurprising when that tradition involves the NFL.
It’s triply unsurprising when it also involves NBC.
Trump will not partake in the traditional presidential interview before the Super Bowl, according to CNN and other news outlets.
“He is not doing a Super Bowl interview,” an anonymous White House official confirmed.
CNN also cited their sources at NBC, who confirmed that the White House had declined an interview.
NBC will air the Super Bowl on Sunday, in a game pitting the Philadelphia Eagles against the New England Patriots.
The tradition was originated by Bush in 2004. Barack Obama then did one every year of his presidency starting in 2009.
The tradition was carried on by Trump last year.
The president gave an interview to former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly from the White House prior to Super Bowl LI.
Of note, Trump’s interview with O’Reilly came before the president lashed out at the NFL in September for lettings its players kneel in protest during the national anthem.
Trump’s feud with the NFL has only grown worse since then, with him using the anthem protesters as a rallying cry for his fan base.
It would be unfathomably hypocritical for him to start endorsing the NFL now in virtually any fashion. He did, however, endorse the College Football Playoff championship game by attending the pregame festivities.
Trump is also not much of a fan of NBC. He has repeatedly lumped the network in with his attacks on the “dishonest media” and “fake news.”
NBC reportedly tried to pitch Trump on the fact that the Super Bowl has traditionally been a ratings juggernaut, and that Trump could reach a massive audience with his pregame interview. Clearly, that pitch failed.
But it’s hard to blame Trump for wanting to avoid an interview with NBC. Even boosted ratings aren’t worth the risk of a reporter like Lester Holt trying to catch him in a “gotcha!” moment.
Besides, it’s not like Trump needs help attracting eyeballs on the television set. His recent State of the Union address drew a whopping 46 million viewers.