On Weeknights, Donald Trump Talks To Sean Hannity Before Bed

NY MagazineThe call to the White House comes after ten o’clock most weeknights, when Hannity is over. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Sean Hannity broadcasts live at 9 p.m. on Fox News, usually from Studio J in midtown, where the network is headquartered, but sometimes from a remote studio on Long Island, where he was raised and now lives.

All White House phone numbers begin with the same six digits: 202-456. Hannity calls the White House switchboard, a number listed publicly, and reaches an operator. The operator refers to a list of cleared callers, a few dozen friends and family members outside the administration who may contact President Donald Trump through this official channel — among them his adult sons, Eric and Don Jr.; private-equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman; media billionaire Rupert Murdoch; real-estate billionaire Tom Barrack; Patriots owner and also-billionaire Robert Kraft; and Hannity.

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.

The Trumpian takeover of its own media outlet (Fox News) is right on track. Donnie Trump Jr. is divorcing his wife and banging Fox host Kimberly Guilfoyle and President Trump is debriefing with Hannity every night before bed.

You might think this move is unethical and you might have a point but you cannot convince me it’s unwitting.

Just look at your April 2018 ratings leaders:

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If there’s one thing the Trumpster knows, it’s how to use the media. He’s got a direct line to the no. 1 viewed cable news program and he’s working on direct bloodlines through the network. Smart.

And Hannity? Well Hannity’s got a direct line to the most powerful person in the world.

According to the sources used by the New York Magazine for this piece, former White House officials, Trump watching Fox is much better than Trump watching MSNBC or CNN:

Trump and Hannity don’t usually speak in the morning, which the president spends alone, watching TV and tweeting. During the first months of the administration in particular, the tweets launched at the beginning of the day landed like bitchy little grenades directed at the programming and personalities that angered him on MSNBC and CNN. “Early on, usually we could count on the president watching Morning Joe first thing, at 6 a.m.,” one White House official told me. “He’d watch an hour of that. Then he’d move on to New Day for a segment or two. Then he’d move on to Fox.”

Now he’s sort of just all Fox all the time.

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.”

There’s a lot of juicy stuff in this article. If you’re into the makeup of the president’s psyche and his relationship with the media, it’s a fascinating read into how that’s evolved and how the White House staff handles it.

The Trumpster likes his television. Always has, always will.