President Donald Trump gets a special folder delivered to him twice a day, and it’s handed directly to him by his chief of staff or another top aide.
Now – the president gets tons of folders every day, like the presidential daily brief or other top-secret intelligence reports – but this one is different. Very different.
According to three current and former White House officials, at around 9:30 in the morning and 4:30 p.m., Trump receives a 20-25 page folder filled with nothing but positive news about him. It contains screenshots of favorable cable news, admiring tweets, transcripts of glowing TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump looking powerful.
It’s not atypical for the White House to monitor news, every administration does it, but many are finding this to be a bit extreme. David Axelrod thought news about the special folder was particularly funny, saying Obama would have laughed if his aides did that for him:
“If we had prepared such a digest for Obama, he would have roared with laughter,” said David Axelrod, the senior adviser to Barack Obama during his first two years in the White House. “His was a reality-based presidency.”
One time the document was even sent back to the communications office with the feedback: “it needs to be more f*cking positive.” It’s referred to by some in the White House as the “propaganda document.”
One White House staffer is saying the idea came from Priebus and Spicer, who both were trying to portray to the president that he should have faith in their ability to get the right kind of message out there. Trump apparently was unhappy with the coverage he was receiving so this was a way to back up their claims that there’s plenty of good news to report on.
“Priebus and Spicer weren’t in a good position, and they wanted to show they could provide positive coverage,” the official said. “It was self-preservation.”
Since both individuals are now no longer in Trump’s inner circle, officials are saying the documents are produced less frequently but are still given to Trump, particularly after major public events or when the president needs a morale boost.