President Donald Trump needs a steady stream of praise, according to six former Trump campaign officials.
Speaking to POLITICO, former Trump communications director Sam Nunberg recalled how the campaign would show him positive news stories about himself:
If candidate Trump was upset about unfair coverage, it was productive to show him that he was getting fair coverage from outlets that were persuadable. The same media that our base digests and prefers is going to be the base for his support. I would assume the president would like to see positive and preferential treatment from those outlets and that would help the operation overall.
According to the former staff, Trump rarely reads news on the web; he prefers print newspapers, including one that he regularly bashes: The New York Times.
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That habit seemed to be confirmed when Trump said on Feb. 16 that journalists would be writing "tomorrow" about his press conference that day, even though print outlets had already reported it on their news sites.
Trump also watches cable news, almost nonstop, according to his former campaign staffers who often had their messaging derailed by his angry tweeting.
When Trump attacked people and/or get into Twitter feuds, his staff would reportedly plant favorable stories with Fox News, the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller and Breitbart News.
When the stories were published, the staffers would tweet them out, and the stories would be retweeted by Trump supporters, which created an online echo chamber.
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"We made sure that conservative media was aware of it, they connected the echo chamber," a former Trump campaign official recalled.
The Trump campaign staffers would purportedly urge conservative journalists, including Fox News hosts, to tweet the positive planted stories so that they (staffers) could print out pages of tweets and show Trump how they were steering the message.
"He saw there was activity, so he didn't feel like he had to respond," a former campaign official recalled. "He sends out these tweets when he feels like people aren't responding enough for him."
An unidentified Trump associate said that it is important to give Trump deference, praise and respect so that he will listen.
Some unidentified friends said that if Trump developed a grudge against someone, his aides had to change the subject. It's purportedly a mistake to leave Trump alone for several hours to watch cable news, which angers him.
A major problem for Trump's current aides could be that Trump spends more time alone in the White House because first lady Melania Trump is living in New York City while their son Barron goes to school.
The Trump White House did not respond to POLITICO's questions.