Trump has reportedly huddled with Matt Drudge in the Oval Office
A new report from Politico characterizes President Donald Trump as a president who craves good press — and even lets the media, including the influential conservative news titan Matt Drudge, set the agenda for the day.
Trump has invited the reclusive Drudge to the Oval Office, and Drudge frequently communicates with Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, according to the report.
While Drudge's visits to the White House have gone unreported, according to Politico, Drudge's influence manifests itself in other ways.
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When Kushner and Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, were publicly feuding earlier this month over the direction of Trump's agenda, the Drudge Report blared an anti-Bannon headline, causing speculation that Bannon would be demoted or fired.
Politico also reported that Kushner regularly calls MSNBC host Joe Scarborough in order to push his personal agenda at the expense of competing West Wing factions.
Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, has three TVs in his office that are always tuned to cable news — and what's covered in the morning news often sets the agenda for the daily 8 a.m. meeting, Politico reported, creating an odd feedback loop.
How media coverage will play out is often central to Trump's decision-making process. Staffers say that the best way to advise Trump is to give him a single course of action — and tell what the media will think.
"You don't walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint. He doesn't care. He doesn't consume information that way," a senior administration official told Politico.
"You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like," the official said.
And nothing is too small to ignore. Trump staffers complained to Politico that the media didn't give them enough credit for the Easter Egg Roll, which "went off without a hitch."
Senior administration officials also told the publication that they've never seen Trump — a man who's prone to outbursts — angrier than when the media compared the crowd sizes at Trump's inauguration to Obama's in 2008.
As the 100-day deadline of the Trump presidency on Saturday, Trump has implored his staff to make a big show to prompt favorable media coverage.
But, staffers say, "there is no way we can do everything he wants to do this week," reports Politico.
Another White House official put it differently.
"I kind of pooh-poohed the experience stuff when I first got here," a White House official told Politico. "But this s--- is hard."
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