White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus warned staffers to stop trying to secretly slip “stuff” to President Donald Trump after fake news landed on his desk, according to Politico.
Citing “four White House officials familiar with the matter,” the report says that the deputy national security adviser recently handed the president a fake Time magazine regarding global warming:
K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter.
Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.
White House staff discovered the error before Trump could chime in about it on social media, Politico’s Shane Goldmacher outlined.
Trump often refers to the media industry as the “opposition party” and singles out particular news organizations as “fake news” on a regular basis, so critics will obviously find it somewhat humorous that White House staffers fall for actual fake news.
Goldmacher continued: “The episode illustrates the impossible mission of managing a White House led by an impetuous president who has resisted structure and strictures his entire adult life… a news story tucked into Trump’s hands at the right moment can torpedo an appointment or redirect the president’s entire agenda.”
The story paints a picture of an unhinged president who will believe whatever information is handed to him. Loyal staffers hustle to figure out which White House official was the last to visit Trump whenever he suddenly gets angry over a particular piece of information.
A White House official told Politico that a system is now in place to get the right information on Trump’s desk, but noted, “I’m not sure anyone follows it.”
Goldmacher wrote, “Most mornings, current and former aides say, Trump reads through a handful of newspapers in print, including The New York Times, New York Post, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal — all while watching cable news shows in the background.”
Goldmacher reported that staffers attempt to make sure Trump receives daily doses of “praise and positive stories to keep his mood up,” which helps keep him from ranting on Twitter.