New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi writes an in depth story about the friendship between President Trump and Sean Hannity, noting Fox News’s star personality calls Pres. Trump “after ten o’clock on most weeknights.
Hannity, who is profiled by Nuzzi in the second half of her story, is one of a handful of cleared callers to the White House, which include his sons Eric and Don Jr., private-equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman; Rupert Murdoch; real-estate billionaire Tom Barrack; New England Patriots owner and also-billionaire Robert Kraft.
“The operator then dials the president, who leaves the Oval Office around 7 p.m. and who, by this point in the evening, is almost always by himself on the third floor of the executive residence (the First Lady reportedly sleeps in a separate bedroom). He tells the operator to put Hannity through,” writes Nuzzi.
On some days, the two men sometimes speak multiple times per day, something White House staffers are keenly aware of…”thanks to the president entering a room and announcing, ‘I just hung up with Hannity,’ or referring to what Hannity said during their conversations, or even ringing Hannity up from his desk in their presence.”
Nuzzi also writes about Pres. Trump’s well-documented cable news viewing habits. The president used to watch a variety of programs in the morning, including Morning Joe and New Day. But the discussion on those programs would get him riled up; apparently too riled up.
With the hope of calming him down, then–chief of staff Reince Priebus and then–press secretary Sean Spicer began a subtle campaign. “It got to the point that they were just like, ‘We need to get him off these channels and onto Fox & Friends or else we’re going to be chasing down this crazy-train bullshit from MSNBC and CNN all day,’ ” one former White House official said.
So Priebus and Spicer eventually steered Trump exclusively to Fox News, a move that seems to have stuck.
Like all other ideas, this had the highest chance of implementation if Trump believed he’d thought of it on his own. Priebus and Spicer worked talking points about the network’s high ratings and importance to his base of supporters into conversation until, eventually, it stuck, so that the president’s television consumption is today what the current White House official called “mainly a complete dosage of Fox.” The former official added, “Trump’s someone who loves praise more than he likes hate-watching Morning Joe.”