Politics

Priebus Tells Staff To Stop Giving Trump Fake News

| by Michael Doherty

A new report has revealed that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus warned White House staff to stop giving fake news stories to President Donald Trump.

While Trump reportedly rarely looks online himself, staff at the White House have placed stories on the president's desk, including some stories that are online hoaxes, Politico reports. At a recent senior staff meeting, Priebus is reported to have told those working closely with Trump to stop giving false stories to the president.

In one example cited by the report, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland gave Trump two Time magazine covers -- one from 2008, and another that had allegedly run in the 1970s. The older cover warned about an impending ice age, while the 2008 cover focused on surviving global warming.

Trump reportedly became angry about the hypocrisy of the media -- but the cover from the '70s that McFarland had given to Trump was a fake, and had circulated online for several years. Staff in the administration had to own up to the truth and tell Trump before he tweeted or spoke in public about the fake story.

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In another alleged incident, Trump became angry at Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh after known internet troll Chuck Johnson wrote a false story about her leaking information to the media, Uproxx reports. Johnson revealed that White House IP addresses had made several visits to the story.

Walsh has since left the White House to work at a pro-Trump organization, according to Mediate, although it isn't clear whether she was fired or decided herself to leave.

The president's advisers have reportedly agreed the best way to direct Trump's attention to a news story is to tell him directly -- although some staff have been reluctant to give the president bad news, because of his tendency to become upset with whoever tells him.

After four economists that had advised Trump during the campaign wrote a New York Times opinion article urging the president to pass tax reform, a White House staff member gave the story to Trump. The president told staff that he wanted to make the economists' plan into the administration's tax policy, according to an official that was present.

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Within a few days, Trump had told The Associated Press that the administration would be announcing its tax reform plan. Stephen Moore, one of the economists, said the piece may have been "the most impactful" op-ed he had written.

"Several of the White House folks came up to us and said, 'It's your op-ed that got Trump moving on this,'" said Moore.

According to the report, Priebus has urged staff to avoid giving new stories to the president, and has started "a system to manage and document the paperwork Trump receives."

Sources: Politico, Uproxx, Mediaite / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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