Donald Trump ‘shushes aides when he sees himself on television’

Rachael Revesz
The President reportedly starts off every day at the White House by watching Fox News or CNBC: Getty Images

Donald Trump repeatedly told his aides to be quiet so he could watch his own television appearances, a potentially embarrassing revelation for a President who is seen by some to be focused on news and ratings at the expense of policy.

The President was always tuned in to his own words, as well as those of his supporters and critics.

When he appeared on the television, during flights on the campaign trail, he would turn up the volume and shush his team so he could listen, according to sources and reported by The Washington Post.

When his former rival Hillary Clinton appeared on screen, he would watch with the same attention, point at the screen and say, “She’s lying! She’s lying!”

The daily digestion of hours of cable news television during the campaign and in the White House would explain the President’s constant focus on his ratings and his tendency to tweet his reactions to a comedian’s sketch of him or to a critical news segment.

He has also boasted of how many followers he has on Twitter – more than 28 million as of April – and has said he liked to bypass the media and get his message out directly to the people.

During small meetings in the West Wing, Mr Trump has interrupted discussions to make the attendees watch entertaining clips of Press Secretary Sean Spicer fighting with reporters. According to a source, he quipped he would never fire Mr Spicer, despite a myriad of controversies, as he gets “great ratings”.

The President, who himself only became a household name via reality television show The Apprentice in 2004, has had a long on-going contentious and often hostile relationship with the media, but he spends a fair portion of his day following the news.

He reportedly starts his day by watching cable news and checks in with the coverage throughout the day from the small dining room of the Oval Office, and will often watch television late into the night after he goes upstairs. To relax, he might watch the Golf Channel.

Knowing the influence of flat screens upon Mr Trump, senior politicians and aides have often made an appeal to Mr Trump through being interviewed on television, such as Democrat Elijah Cummings or senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, the President said he no longer watches MSNBC or CNN in order to “avoid negativity” before work. He stated that Fox News was the most accurate channel. He still speaks to former CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes, who resigned after denying multiple accusations of sexual harassment, once a week.

He told the AP that the mainstream media treated him “very badly” and “unfairly”, but claimed his high ratings were a “tremendous advantage”. He bragged that his ratings were higher than that of any other show, including broadcasts of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

On the 100th day of his Presidency – which he described to the AP as an “artificial barrier” – he is due to hold a celebratory rally with his supporters and will boycott the traditional White House correspondents’ dinner.

Previous reports showed that within the President’s daily press briefings are clippings from hard-line right-wing publications and outlets that have peddled conspiracy theories, such as Breitbart, the Drudge Report and Infowars. Local news clippings, for example articles that praised the President "saving coal jobs", are included to put a positive spin on his agenda.

Negative news has not always been so well received. Polls which showed low approval ratings, such as from CNN, were dismissed by Mr Trump as "fake news".

A most recent ABC News / Washington Post survey which had some negative results, said Mr Trump, got it "wrong big" on the 2016 election.

As he told the AP, regardless of his relationship of the media, “Whatever. In the meantime, I'm here and they're not.”

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