Throughout the 2016 campaign, staffers arranged press events and planted stories in conservative media for the purpose of affirming their boss’s greatness—dutifully presenting Trump with laudatory clips in the hope of taming his Twitter trigger finger and preventing him from lashing out at real and perceived slights.
“The key,” Politico reported on Wednesday, citing six campaign aides, was “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.”
Specific instances in which aides deployed this strategy included his feud with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and his meeting with the Gold Star Mothers of Florida—a story staffers pitched right-wing outlets to counter his war with Khizr Khan, the Muslim military father who lost his son in Iraq.
According to Politico, “A former senior campaign official said Nunberg and his successor, former communications director Jason Miller, were particularly skilled at using alternative media like Breitbart, Washington Examiner, Fox News, Infowars, and the Daily Caller to show Trump positive coverage.” When they successfully ensured this coverage was amplified on Twitter, aides would literally “print out and show a two-page list of tweets.”
The stated reason these former Trump aides talked to Politico is that they want to White House to follow their lead. Just over a month into Trump’s presidency, this is where we are: former staffers airing best practices for current staffers in the national press, all with the goal of restraining the president of the United States from reaming out the haters and losers on social.