Trump pulls out props for latest ‘theme week’

In this July 17, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump tries on a Stetson hat, as Dustin Noblitt, with Stetson Hats, smiles, during a "Made in America," product showcase featuring items created in each of the U.S. 50 states, at the White House in Washington. Stetson is base in Garland, Texas. Trump’s latest effort to change the subject pulled out all the stops _ and props. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s is pulling out all the stops — and props — to try to shift the subject to more positive messages.

Trump posed in a fire truck, waved a custom baseball bat and donned a white Stetson at the kickoff of a weeklong focus on American-produced goods. But the painstakingly arranged “Made in America” theme was almost immediately drowned out by news of the imploding health care legislation in the Senate.

It’s not the first time Trump’s team has adopted a weekly theme in hopes of managing its message and shifting attention away from the ongoing Russia investigation and the struggles to repeal the Obama health care law.

But while this week has offered the White House’s most creative use of visual aids, it may be headed for the same fate as past themed efforts, which often couldn’t compete with a rapid-fire news cycle and Trump’s own talents for distraction.

“This White House has two things going against it,” said Republican consultant Alex Conant, who worked on Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid. “One is they’re trying to talk about theme weeks in the middle of a very crowded news cycle. And two it would appear not everyone got the memo on what the theme is going to be.”

True to form, Trump himself strayed from the message even before the first “Made in America” event on Monday, defending his son Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter amid questions about a meeting Trump’s eldest son had with a Russian lawyer during last year’s presidential campaign.