- President Donald Trump spends at least 4 hours a day in front of a TV, and sometimes as many as 8 hours.
- Trump’s affinity for cable news is well known, but the extent to which it influences his daily schedule is perhaps greater than what most people thought.
- Among his favorite shows and networks to watch are Fox & Friends, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and even CNN.
It’s not news that President Donald Trump watches a lot of TV.
But in a report published Saturday, The New York Times revealed just how much cable news influences Trump’s day-to-day schedule.
Before entering the White House, Trump reportedly told aides to think of each day as an episode in a TV show in which he “vanquishes rivals,” according to the report.
Every morning, Trump reportedly tunes in to CNN for the news, then moves on to “Fox & Friends,” and sometimes MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Trump spends at least 4 hours a day watching TV, and sometimes as many as 8 hours, while “marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.”
Trump has repeatedly pushed back against the idea that he is a TV addict.
“I do not watch much television,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One in November. “I know they like to say – people that don’t know me – they like to say I watch television. People with fake sources – you know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don’t get to watch much television, primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents a lot.”
But those around the president contradict his claims that he doesn’t watch much television. Trump reportedly has sole control over the remote. Even during meetings, TV shows, often muted, run in the background, according to The Times. Trump will periodically take a glimpse at the scrolling headlines and share his reactions with whoever is with him.
The New York Times noted that because of his large appetite for cable news consumption, Trump’s associates “raised questions about his capacity and willingness to differentiate bad information from something that is true.”
Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly tries to manage the flow of information to Trump and mitigate the president’s fiery outbursts on Twitter. In August, Kelly sent two memos around the White House outlining his approach to streamlining Trump’s schedule. Kelly felt that a big component of that, according to the memos, was to vet each and every piece of news that made it to the Resolute desk.
The shake-up marked a significant departure from a previously freewheeling West Wing in which aides, advisers, and confidants enjoyed relatively frequent access to the Oval Office. But while Kelly has been able to enact changes to the way the West Wing functions since assuming his new role, multiple media reports, including The Times’, indicated that Kelly has been unable to monitor every aspect of Trump’s news consumption.