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Donald Trump Pops Up on Periscope

Trump says he will appear weekly on the live-streaming platform.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has found a new social media platform from which to pontificate: Periscope.

The real estate mogul announced he would host live weekly interviews via the video-streaming app, as well as through Facebook Live, which broadcasts into the News Feed.


“Hello folks, it’s Donald Trump,” he began in his 10-minute broadcast, announcing that there were some technical difficulties with his intended Facebook appearance, due to “too many people calling in, more than they ever expected.” Technical difficulties aside, he said he would try again next week.

Trump continued to stand by his claims that U.S. Muslims celebrated the attacks on the World Trade Center, holding up a printout of a Breitbart article about 9/11 celebrations in Jersey City (other news outlets have called that bunk.) He shifted to salesman mode, displaying his book “Crippled America” and joking about his grumpy face on the cover.

As he does with some frequency, Trump touted his standing in a poll of likely voters — this one, from Fox, showed him even pulling even with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

He marched through several now-familiar talking points. About immigration, he said, “I’m gonna build a wall. It’s gonna be a great wall.” He pledged to strengthen the military while taking care of veterans. And he batted at a favorite piñata, Obamacare, calling it “a big failure,” and pledged to provide more affordable insurance. He offered no specifics on how he would accomplish these goals, beyond generalities: “We want to have heart, we want to be a warm country, a tremendous, wonderful, warm country … that also is strong and powerful.”

Trump took two questions, neither of which had appeared in the onscreen chat. The first asked who he’d selected as his vice-presidential running mate and who he’d tap for cabinet.

“We have some pretty good ones, but I can’t say who they are,” he said, though he did mention Carl Icahn, saying people like him “want to work with us.”

In response to a question about media attention on excessive use of force by the police, in the wake of murder charges brought against one Chicago police officer, he said there are “some bad customers, some bad apples, every business has that, but I will tell you the police … are amazing people and we have to support the police.”

Trump cut off the questions after those two, saying he was due on Bill O’Reilly’s show.

Many commenters complained they were losing their connections or seeing the picture freeze during the broadcast, though it appeared clearly when replayed.

Candidates have been increasingly gravitating to social media in a bid to reach supporters in a way that’s unfiltered by mainstream media outlets — especially millennial voters, who aren’t exactly tuning in to the nightly news.

Earlier this week, Democratic presidential front-runner Clinton announced her arrival on Quora (she’s already hung her digital shingle on Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter). Her campaign also used Periscope to live-stream her first large rally. Carly Fiorina will appear on the platform tonight at 8 pm ET.

Additional reporting by Amy Keyishian.

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