Outgoing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and recently departed Chief of Staff Reince Priebus used to tussle over who got to deliver President Donald Trump this important document every day: a folder full of flattering photos and news coverage of the president. According to Vice News Tuesday, each morning and afternoon Trump would be delivered positive coverage assembled by White House and Republican National Committee staffers, an idea thought up by Spicer and Priebus.
Priebus entered the White House on shaky ground after he suggested Trump leave the presidential race last October. Priebus made the suggestion after the Washington Post released an unaired portion of an episode of the show “Access Hollywood,” where Trump bragged about groping women. Priebus left the position of Chief of Staff in late July.
Spicer, too, was not in his position long before the president seemed to sour on him, ultimately resigning after the hiring of Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, whom he objected to. Scaramucci never quite got off the ground either, pushed out of the role 10 days after agreeing to it.
The folder was called “an act of preservation,” by a source to Vice.
The folder was produced by 10 staffers who, starting at 6 a.m. scour the news looking for positive chyrons (text at the bottom of a t.v. newscast), articles, transcripts of interviews, tweets and even just shots of the president looking powerful when there is a lack of good coverage.
Apparently, Trump’s only advice to the communication team in the first few months of the presidency was “it needs to be more fucking positive.”
That staff, however, has changed.
Trump installed John Kelly as his new chief of staff. Kelley’s first move was to oust Scaramucci, and according to Vice’s sources, the positive news folder, which was dubbed the “propaganda document,” has slowed down. The White House communications director position is open, and Kelly, a former marine and four-star general appears to be instilling more discipline in a rocky White House, according to the Chicago Tribune.
It’s clear Trump likes flattery, he often retweets or thanks, people who give him positive reviews on Twitter. Sean Hannity, Fox and Friends, Lou Dobbs and random fans on twitter have all gotten shout outs.
The positivity folder appears to be a departure from the previous administration.
“If we had prepared such a digest for Obama, he would have roared with laughter,” said David Axelrod, the one-time senior adviser to Barack Obama to Vice.
Whether the regular “daily propaganda” document returns will most likely depend on the new communications director, or perhaps the next White House staffer to enter “beleaguered” status will give it a try.