Donald Trump is ticking down the hours until the Thursday release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report by watching Fox News and the Golf Channel, and is known to keep the TV on in the background when guests are over, The New York Times reports.
If you pay attention to the timing of Trump’s tweets, posit Times writers Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman, they generally reflect something that was on TV either at the time or a few minutes before. For example, there was Trump’s commentary about Nancy Pelosi not long after her 60 Minutes interview aired. Or there was his suggestion to use flying water tankers as the Notre Dame Cathedral was burning.
White House staffers say the president’s TV watching and tweeting are his methods of “blowing off steam” in advance of the upcoming Mueller report, which is due on Thursday.
So prominent is the TV in Donald Trump’s life that he’s been known to keep it on in the background, usually tuned to Fox News, even when guests are at the White House. He’ll stop the conversation and turn the volume up if something that comes on that interests him. When there aren’t guests at the White House, much of his so-called “executive time” is also devoted to watching Fox News.
On Air Force One, he’s known to mix it up a bit and watch the Golf Channel, staffers say.
President Trump and Rep. Kevin McCarthy disembarked from Air Force One at the Los Angeles International Airport ahead of his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border at Calexico. Follow our live updates: https://t.co/ix9RNOANDO pic.twitter.com/euOZ0ZYnID
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 5, 2019
Trump’s fondness for television — and for providing Twitter-based commentary on what he sees — comes from his decades-old belief that he is, was, and has been an important member of the media, says Randal Pinkett, the chairman of consulting firm BCT Partners, and winner of Season 4 of The Apprentice.
“He has the same temperament now that he did, and has probably had for quite some time, given the Donald-centric world he’s constructed around himself,” he said.
It goes back at least to the ’80s, says The New York Times, to when Trump turned himself into a tabloid celebrity in New York City and learned how to manipulate media coverage of himself. Now, as president, he still considers himself a media figure, says Mo Elleithee, the executive director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service.
“The fact that he was giving firefighting advice as the flames were still blazing just shows one, that his instinct right now is to try to get into every story he possibly can.”
Elleithee further suggested that Trump’s eagerness to insert himself into the news is a reaction to the fact that so much of the coverage is being given to his potential 2020 opponents.