The Podiums Trump—and His Rivals—Should Use to Avoid Another ‘Senior Moment’

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Most podiums don’t jiggle-jiggle—they stand firm and proud, as much a testament to American craftsmanship as they are a metaphor for American exceptionalism, ready at a moment’s notice to shield a speaker’s lower half from a rapt audience spellbound by both the lectern’s lacquer finish and its lecturer’s sparkling rhetoric.

But one errant podium wiggle-wiggled for sure at one of Donald Trump’s recent stops along the campaign trail, bringing shame down upon the good name of soapboxes everywhere as the former president leaned slightly too hard on it mid-speech, causing it to buckle under his weight.

“What a crappy contractor this was,” Trump quipped to laughter at the annual Minnesota GOP dinner, observing that his podium “keeps tilting to the left—like too many other things.”

The crappy contractor in question remained unidentified as of Sunday night. But any good podium-maker worth his or her salt never would have allowed a speaker to get behind such a substandard dais, master cabinetmaker Paul Downs tells The Daily Beast.

Most of the podiums he and his team make at their Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, facility run between 100 and 600 pounds, he explains, and each is fitted with a wide, sturdy base.

“It would take some work to tip one over,” he says.

Though “all bets are off” if “a large user” were to put a substantial effort into pushing against a podium, Downs continues, “Most people simply stand behind a podium, or at worst rest their arms on it—which would result in most of the force being directed downwards to the floor.

“As far as I know,” he adds, “we’ve never had any of our podiums tip over.”

Downs has constructed podiums for the likes of NASA, the New York Jets, and Nationwide Insurance—each a happy client, their speakers walking away unruffled by any onstage snafus.

As such, we here at The Daily Beast thought it might be a worthwhile use of a weekend to go spelunking for a few options for Team Trump—or any other political candidate—to add to their shopping carts next time they’re in the market for a quality podium.

The “Oklahoma Sound Orator Lectern.”

The “Oklahoma Sound Orator Lectern.”

American Hotel Register

The Classy Everyman

Burnished. Versatile. Erudite. These are all words Donald Trump doesn’t know, but they all apply to this lectern, which comes with its own rechargeable battery and wireless handheld microphone—for all the times you need both hands to toss your fans merchandise you’ve had your team design on the fly to pay for your mounting legal bills. With four concealed easy-roll casters, this is a podium for those on the go, whether you’re pounding the campaign trail or criss-crossing the country’s courtrooms. And its easygoing everyman appeal makes it ideal to tote along to the scab rally you’re holding across town from where those striking auto workers are out on the picket line. It’s a win-win! (All the wins are yours.)

"Stand Up Desk Store Podium."

The “Stand Up Desk Store Podium.”


The “Spirit Airlines” of Rolling Lecterns

Just look how happy that model is! With more than 400 satisfied customers, this Amazon pick is great for aspiring legislators on a budget. With Trump’s coffers rapidly running dry and the Biden campaign outraising him hand over fist, he’ll be happy with this professional-looking value option. One reviewer, Kim, noted that she was able to assemble it within an hour “even with carpal tunnel issues,” a ringing endorsement if we’ve ever heard one. It’s even got a grommet hole for easy cable management—although Kim did note that hers was “somehow greasy.” If Trump is looking for a pre-greased grommet hole, however, this is a match made in heaven!

The “Metal Truss Lectern.”

The “Metal Truss Lectern.”

The One With Built-In Scaffolding

This podium comes with its own guarantee of structural integrity. With swooping metal trusses that bring to mind New York City’s very own protective barriers, carting this genteel podium around with you is sure to make you feel right at home. Try not to think too hard about the fact that nobody there likes you very much or that the Big Apple’s top prosecutor is currently gunning to get you convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records for allegedly approving, then covering up that hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels. Focus on the important things, like how shiny your new lectern is. It’s so shiny. If he’d had a shiny podium like that, there’s no doubt that Robert E. Lee would still be in favor. You ever notice how he’s no longer in favor? “Never fight uphill, me boys, never fight uphill.” They were fighting uphill. He said, “Wow, that was a big mistake.” You know what’s not a mistake? Investing in this podium.

“The Ambassador podium by Executive Wood Products.”

“The Ambassador podium by Executive Wood Products.”

The Wide Load

As this podium’s online description succinctly declares: “GORGEOUS!” Although it doesn’t come cheap, you can’t put a price on peace of mind, and we’d be willing to bet this big boy could bear the weight of William Howard Taft. Made of solid cherry hardwood, it boasts a “huge double width multimedia work surface” that would be perfect for displaying mounds of important-looking but empty manila folders, or perhaps a classified document or two. Roomy enough for two to share, you might not be able to convince your conspicuously absent wife to join you at it, but why not ask an ally? Given its built-in cooling fan feature, it’s perfect for toadies with a tendency to sweat their literal hairlines off.

The “Laronde Lectern.”

The “Laronde Lectern.”

The Space Age

As a presumptive presidential candidate whose diet hasn’t wavered from the McDonald’s Value Menu in the last half-century, there’s a good chance you’re deeply afraid of change. But there’s no need to be! It’s refreshing to shake things up and try something new, whether it be your stance on abortion or that one time in 2019 you forgot about your spray-tan appointment. As such, we’d encourage you to take that leap of faith and try this table model that just screams “normal citizen of the 21st century.” While you may have failed in your attempt to buy Greenland, you can forget all about that with this stunning piece of hardware designed in the Netherlands, which is kind of close.

The “Executive Wood Products Presidential podium.”

The “Executive Wood Products Presidential podium.”


The Presidential Option

The artists over at Executive Wood Products believe that “what you stand behind is as important as what you stand for,” according to their website, and any one of their high-caliber podiums would no doubt lift a candidate in his base’s esteem. But it’s their “Presidential” model line that really has us excited; there are just so many choices! Do you go with the “Presidential Evolution” or the “Presidential Lift”? How about the “Presidential Evolution Lift”? And don’t even get us started on the “Presidential Plus” line—with any of these bad boys, you’re practically elected already, just like last time. Just don’t get so excited by this podium and what it might symbolize for your future that you forget your present. You’re in Sioux City, Donald. Sioux City.

The “Empire Lectern.”

The “Empire Lectern.”

Plan B: Outsourcing It to the Canucks

If all else fails, look no further than beyond the borders of the United States for expert workmanship. Our neighbors to the north know wood—and with a name like Podium Pros, you can’t go wrong. This company’s Empire Lectern would translate handily stateside, particularly with a stain chart that allows you your pick of the brown-shade spectrum. Whether your poison is rosewood, pecan, regency mahogany, or gunstock walnut, you’re sure to find a stable option faster than you can say “hang a Larry at the Tim Horton’s half a click up the line, eh?” And forging cross-cultural democratic ties is so important in this day and age. Just to check: Canada has no extradition treaty with the U.S., right? Right?

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