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Written by Jack Crowe
President Donald Trump receives a folder twice daily filled with positive news clippings, screen shots of complimentary cable news chyrons, and flattering tweets, White House sources say.
Outgoing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer originally devised the idea for a complimentary folder and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus who reportedly jostled with each other over the privilege of delivering it. White House staffers occasionally referred to the folder, which Trump received at 9:30 a.m. and again at 4:30 p.m. throughout Priebus’ tenure, as the “propaganda document,” three current and former officials told Vice News.
Ten staffers in the RNC “war room” constantly monitor all manner of news outlets and send noteworthy stories to the White House communications office. Communications staffers reportedly extract positive headlines, tweets, interview transcripts and occasionally even flattering photos for inclusion in the folder. The only feedback the communication staff has ever received on the folder instructed them to make it “more fucking positive.”
Spicer, who announced his resignation in mid July and is currently serving in a transitional capacity, disputed the nature of the folder but did not elaborate further. “While I won’t comment on materials we share with the president, this is not accurate on several levels,” he told Vice in an email.
The folder has reportedly been produced less frequently in the weeks following Priebus’ departure and Spicer’s resignation announcement, but Trump still often receives them following public events like his speech at the National Boy Scouts Jamboree in West Virginia.
While every White House has traditionally had one “war room” run by each party to monitor how the party is being received by the media, former President Barack Obama White House staffers said the idea of tasking the RNC staffers with extracting the most glowing reports about the president was abnormal.
“If we had prepared such a digest for Obama, he would have roared with laughter,” said David Axelrod, the senior adviser to Obama during his first two years in the White House. “His was a reality-based presidency.”