“I’m not firing Sean Spicer,” Trump said, according to Washington Post sources. “That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”
Ratings have been a major object of interest to Trump long before he took the presidency, as he frequently boasted about the success of “The Apprentice” and mocked other celebrities like Martha Stewart and Arnold Schwarzenegger who took over hosting duties for the long-running reality TV series.
According to Washington Post, Trump has been pleased with the viewership for Spicer’s daily press briefings, during which he has made many comments which frequently had to be walked back or explained, as well as allowing impatience and frustration with the media get the best (or worst) of his temper.
Television has dictated Trump’s political interests and decision-making, as the president reportedly watches Fox News, Fox Business and CNBC as part of his morning routine. He also speaks out (or should we say, tweets out) against shows that are very critical of him, such as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The president’s viewing habits have influenced his political views so much that officials both domestic and foreign have been encouraged to take their policy proposals to news programs in the hopes that doing so will catch Trump’s attention.
“President Trump is someone who comes to the White House with a sophisticated understanding of how to communicate,” Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told the Post, adding that he has knowledge of “the power of television, the power of imagery, the power of message, and how message, messenger and delivery all work together.”
Some lawmakers have been appreciative of the ability to use media to grab Trump’s direct attention, but Rick Wilson, a veteran Republican consultant, told the Post that a number of Republicans in Congress find Trump’s TV habits alarming, but do not say so openly for fear of angering Trump and his base of supporters.
“There are many conversations where it ends: ‘But of course, God knows, he could watch Fox News tomorrow and change his whole position,’ ” Wilson said. “They don’t get him, because he’s a creature of television and they’re creatures of politics. They care about the details, he cares about what’s on TV.”
Read the full report from The Washington Post here.