‘I wouldn’t want that job’: meet Trump’s teleprompter man

Gabe Perez to be hired after a 2016 Google find for "teleprompters." now he navigates Trump"s roller coaster speeches, helping the president interact his message.

You are watching: How does the president’s teleprompter work


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A teleprompter mirroring the end of the speech message as president Donald trump card announces a transaction to temporarily reopen the government in January 2019. | Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo


The president was there come make brief remarks around an early stage trade resolve China. But each time Donald trump started into his speech, he got distracted by another thought he wanted to share v the audience.

Trump meandered through fifty percent an hour the off-the-cuff remarks before a room of lawmakers, Chinese officials and also VIP guests. That told a story about front-row attendee Henry Kissinger, contrasted himself favorably come Abraham Lincoln and also George Washington and lamented the "impeachment hoax." His unanticipated remarks lasted so long, some home members had to excuse us to attend impeachment votes ~ above Capitol Hill.


Each time Trump sail from his ready statement, Gabe Perez, the president’s teleprompter operator, had actually to hit pause, role forward or rewind the comments that had been loaded into the teleprompters. Perez to be there come ensure the arrhythmic president can comfortably bounce in between freewheeling Trump and also teleprompter Trump.


It’s a talent Perez has actually honed over practically four years in what some describe as one of the White House’s toughest jobs. Rental by chance after the Trump project Googled “teleprompters” and the firm he worked for in brand-new York came up, Perez has end up being the one human being Trump trusts to manage his oratorical acrobatics, embellishments and ad-libs during even the most scripted appearances.

“It’s like a high-wire act with no security net,” claimed Jason Miller, Trump’s former interactions strategist.

It may seem favor a boy job, yet Perez’s capability to sync up through Trump during speeches is vital to how the chairman communicates his message — and also how he rose to power. Trump’s brash and captivating layout at the pulpit has always been key to his appeal and also how that connects through his base. And also on the an international stage, teleprompter trump card is just how the president converts “America First” because that the remainder of the world.

“It’s choose a high-wire act through no safety net."

Jason Miller, chairman Donald Trump’s former communications strategist

The president’s speeches can be likened to a roller coaster ride. They may start with pre-written plan points, yet will for sure swerve right into talk that windmills, dip right into jocular opinions on light bulbs, corkscrew into savage commentary on immigration, climate free-fall into musings on news the the day. Transparent the turbulence, Perez should listen very closely to scroll with pre-written script, climate pause and recalibrate once the president chooses to go in a different direction.

On Tuesday night, Perez and the White home Communications firm will confront one of your biggest yearly challenges — the State of the Union address. Nearly 50 million human being will be watching together Trump tries to do his instance for re-election. End the food of virtually 90 minutes, Perez will certainly likely have to navigate as much as 100 applause breaks that constantly threaten to disrupt the speech’s flow.

But the challenge is now one Perez has mastered.

The Trump campaign stumbled upon Perez in 2016. Together Trump began making more consistent speeches on the trail, trump campaign advance man George Gigicos Googled “teleprompters,” according to Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie’s account in “Let Trump it is in Trump.” They come upon VIP Prompting, which has operated with the White house on teleprompters due to the fact that the lyndon Johnson administration. Perez, through VIP Prompting, was soon working because that the future president.

"He made the machine user friendly for the boss, learning just exactly how he chosen it positioned,” Bossie and Lewandowski wrote. “He came to be a whiz in ~ breaking down and setting up the teleprompter, since he’d fly through us top top Trump force One around the country.”

Since that serendipitous moment, Perez has played a function in few of the many important and also high-stress moments of the trump card presidency. In ~ the White House, however, Perez has kept a short profile. He decreased an interview request for this report. The White house did not respond come a inquiry for comment.

Perez can regularly be spotted in the corner of the east Room through the WHCA staffers, sit in former of among two laptops, scrolling through the president’s prepared remarks. Just in case something goes awry, over there is a backup system to ensure the chairman is maybe to proceed with his remarks. Sometimes, before a decided begins, the president’s senior policy advisor and speechwriter Stephen Miller will certainly huddle with Perez to readjust or add a phrase.

“Any time you watch Stephen head end to Gabe prior to a speech starts, there’s always a hold your breath minute like, ‘What’s walk on here?’” müller said.

Adam Belmar, who served on president George W. Bush’s interactions staff and also worked through the teleprompter, stated the operator requirements an intimate understanding of the speech, the speaker’s tics and the audience’s reaction.



Sometimes, prior to a speech begins, the president’s senior policy advisor and also speechwriter Stephen Miller will certainly huddle through Gabe Perez to change or include a phrase. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

“You should make sure you’re top top the same page in regards to applause and what they’re saying,” Belmar said. “Any time you acquire out that sync, you shed the trust of the boss.”

“I wouldn’t desire that job,” said one more Bush administration an elderly official.

That Trump also uses a teleprompter is somewhat remarkable.

At first, the president to be reluctant to use a prompter. He had actually mocked chairman Barack Obama’s dependence on utilizing one almost everywhere he went. “We have a teleprompter president,” Trump furious in 2015.

But Trump, too, found it to be a helpful tool, even as he rarely stuck to the script. It shortly became evident that over there were 2 Trumps: “Twitter Trump,” the unpredictable, discursive president, and the more formulaic, “teleprompter Trump.”

“It’s much much easier to tell once he’s ad-libbing,” said previous Obama speechwriter David Litt. “You deserve to tell as soon as he’s not review through the product he’s seeing.”

For ex-Obama aides, Trump’s dependency on the teleprompter to provide pre-written speeches have the right to be lattice after hearing continuous taunts indigenous Trump and also other Republicans about Obama’s teleprompter use.

“For years, republic would slam Obama for using a teleprompter, definition that that doesn’t know what he is saying, which no true,” Litt said. “And currently Trump uses a teleprompter and also you have the right to tell he doesn’t understand what he is saying, and also those Republicans room nowhere to be found.”

Leaning ~ above a teleprompter is far from foolproof — the can also generate awkward headlines for a president.

Multiple former interactions staffers pointed come President invoice Clinton’s 1993 resolve to conference on health treatment as the greatest teleprompter mishap, when the wrong speech was loaded right into the machine. Clinton speak extemporaneously for 7 minutes together every member the Congress and also millions of american looked on. Behind the scenes, George Stephanopoulos, then a interactions aide, scrambled to pack the exactly version right into the machine.

Years later, the voice pronunciations shown on president George W. Bush’s teleprompter for locations like Kyrgyzstan “(KEYR-geez-stan)” to be accidentally released on the United nations website after ~ an address, play into criticisms that bush was naive around foreign affairs.

Trump has likewise been recognized to have a couple of frustrating moments with the teleprompter.

In 2016, then-candidate Trump said to a cheering crowd he renders speeches far better without a teleprompter, then, lot to the dismay of advance staff, considerably pushed the expensive an equipment off the stage, leading to the glass come crash to the ground.


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President Donald trumped has likewise been well-known to have actually a few frustrating moments with the teleprompter. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Three year later, trump blamed the teleprompter for number of gaffes that set Twitter ablaze throughout his 4th of July decided in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Trump, recounting the American change — yet confusingly referencing historic sites indigenous the war of 1812 — make the eyebrow-raising remark the the American army had inhabited airports.

"Our army manned the air, that rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, the did every little thing it had actually to do, and at fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing however victory,” trump said. “And when dawn came, your star-spangled banner waved defiant."

On Twitter, #RevolutionaryWarAirports instantly took off.

“It maintained going on and at the end it just went out," Trump called reporters about the teleprompter after his speech. "It went kaput … and that"s not a an excellent feeling, when you"re stand in prior of numerous millions of world on television.”

More recently, at an August campaign rally in Lima, Ohio, the president stated he pronounced the name of the city incorrectly — favor the city in Peru rather than the p — due to the fact that the voice spelling was wrong on the teleprompter.

“They have it not correct on the teleprompter,” trumped said. “But the an excellent news is i don"t usage the teleprompter too much. If i did, friend would have actually been the end of below a lengthy time ago, due to the fact that it gets very boring as soon as you perform the teleprompter deal.”

Arun Chaudhary, an Obama White residence videographer that was later Bernie Sanders’ 2016 creative director, claimed in moments favor that, the prompter operator has to be “zen.”

“You’re increasing and slowing under according to just how you think the speak is walking to it is in or how they want,” Chaudhary said.


One that the VIP Prompting’s co-owners, kris O’Brien, claimed teleprompter operators room trained to handle the devices in tense situations.

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“The tension level is high due to the fact that if you make a mistake, millions of civilization find out,” O’Brien said.

But because that a president that is therefore conscientious around his windy image and also not awkward himself, Perez has regulated to stay on as among the couple of staffers who has been in the White House because the campaign.

“He’s been seamless in his performance and also he’s outlasted lot of chiefs the staff, and also so he is doing miscellaneous right,” fearbut said.