How Trump’s Campaign Staffers Tried to Keep Him Off Twitter
President Donald Trump’s former campaign staffers claim they cracked the code for tamping down his most inflammatory tweets, and they say the current West Wing staff would do well to take note.
The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up — and make sure it made its way to Trump’s desk.
“If candidate Trump was upset about unfair coverage, it was productive to show him that he was getting fair coverage from outlets that were persuadable,” said former communications director Sam Nunberg. “The same media that our base digests and prefers is going to be the base for his support. I would assume the President would like see positive and preferential treatment from those outlets and that would help the operation overall.”
The staff had one advantage as they aimed to manage candidate Trump’s media diet: He rarely reads anything online, instead preferring print newspapers — especially his go-to, the New York Times — and reading material his staff brought to his desk. Indeed, his media consumption habits were on full display during his roller-coaster press conference this past Thursday, when he continually remarked on what the media would write “tomorrow,” even as print outlets’ websites already had posted stories about his remarks.
The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Trump is also, however, a near-non-stop consumer of cable news, and his staff’s efforts were not always enough to keep Trump from tweeting on topics that were far from his campaign’s core message. Throughout the campaign, whatever messaging the candidate’s staff had planned was continually accompanied — and often overshadowed — by a string of feuds that played out both on and off Twitter.
This is fucking insane.