Here’s a pro-tip for all you budding politicians: don’t call a press conference and then invite the media to punch you in the face. It’s bad for business.

When former Liberal MP Scott Andrews called a press conference for this afternoon, many assumed he would be addressing the results of the investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct with an NDP MP. Instead, he sat down behind the microphone and refused to comment on any of it.

Andrews didn’t protest his innocence, despite being given repeated chances to do so. He didn’t mount any sort of counteroffensive. His key message appeared to be: “I have learned a lot about myself through the past few months, and particularly how my jovial Newfoundland friendliness can be received.” To my (admittedly non-Newfoundlander) ears, that sounded an awful lot like “guilty as alleged”. He professed himself “content” with the results of the investigation, but didn’t produce the report to give others a chance to make up their mind. Bizarre.

Which prompts the question: what was the point of the press conference? If it was to say that he wouldn’t try to re-join caucus, a press release would have sufficed.

Andrews’ escapade is a reminder of why you should never communicate without a plan. And you should never speak to the media without having something to say. Andrews did nothing today to advance his cause. Indeed, he dug himself in deeper.

This won’t be the last of it, either. When the contents of the report into his behaviour are eventually released, there will be another round of coverage on Andrews and his actions.

Here’s another pro-tip: if you have to eat a sh*t sandwich, be sure to do it all in one go.

Andrew MacDougall is a consultant at MSLGROUP and the former communications director for Stephen Harper.

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