President Donald Trump is reportedly getting fake news stories from his staff.
According to a report by Politico, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, recently issued a warning to White House staff that they stop trying to secretly slip the president fake news stories.
Apparently, just a few days prior, K.T. McFarland had given the president, who reportedly rarely surfs the web for news on his own, two Time Magazine covers, one from the 1970s that warned of a coming ice age and one from 2008 that gave tips on surviving global warming. The two covers were used to show the purported media hypocrisy. There was only one problem – one cover was fake.
The 1970s cover was part of an internet hoax that has circulated for several years. Thankfully for Trump and his staff, other staff members chased down the truth before Trump could speak out on the matter or get to his Twitter account.
While McFarland did not respond to requests for comment from Politico, one White House official familiar with the matter defended giving the cover to Trump, telling the publication, “While the specific cover is fake, it is true. The broader point, I think, was accurate.”
Another similar incident happened in February when someone sent Trump a GotNews.com article that said Katie Walsh, Trump’s deputy chief of staff, was the source of all the leaks coming from the White House.
GotNews is run by Charles C. Johnson, who has made false accusations in the past and gave no evidence for his claims about Walsh. But, according to Johnson, who tracks the IP address of where his stories travel, the story was shared all over the White House.
“I can tell you unequivocally that the story was shared all around the White House,” he told Politico.
Soon after the article was shared with Trump, he started inquiring about Walsh. And, although many inside the White House, including Steve Bannon, defended Walsh, she soon left her position at the White House to join a pro-Trump group.
Politico also reported that giving the president “news” at the right time can have a profound impact on Trump’s decisions, including “torpedoing appointments” and redirecting the president’s agenda. Aides who know this have used it to their advantage, using pieces of information, or misinformation, to push a policy or gain an advantage.
This knowledge has pushed Priebus and other White House staffers to try to keep track of what reaches the president’s desk, including implementing a system to get things on his desk and imploring staff to follow presidential record-keeping laws.
But, according to one official, Priebus’ pleading might not be working, saying, “They have this system in place to get things on his desk now. I’m not sure anyone follows it.”