Senior White House aides are making it known that they are not pleased with conservative cable news hosts challenging their policies — especially the recent budget-busting omnibus bill.
Trump watches Fox News regularly, listening to Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity, Jesse Waters, Jeanine Pirro and frequently reacts to their criticisms.
While Trump has appeared more eager to please his base on issues of immigration and trade, the omnibus bill was not praised as a win by conservatives, despite a large boost in military spending.
Senior White House officials complained to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman that conservative cable opinion hosts were feeding the president information about the bloated spending bill that they felt was not true.
“Trump continued to rail privately about the omnibus bill, and has become convinced of things that aren’t true about it,” she wrote, citing two senior administration officials.
Before Trump signed the bill, Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade called the omnibus a “swamp budget” and a “Mitch McConnell special” despite praising it for restoring funding to the military. Commentator Ann Coulter trashed the bill for failing to fund any meaningful parts of his promised border wall.
“Trump has been watching Fox, which had Coulter on Jeanine Pirro slamming Trump over the wall funding,” she wrote. “That type of thing – as well as his conviction it includes Planned Parenthood funding – are animating him.”
The president regularly hosts cable news opinion hosts at the White House, fielding ideas on policy proposals and coverage of important issues.
Senior White House officials told Axios reporter Jonathan Swan that they feel criticism from cable news hosts is sometimes “unfair and in some instances, flatly inaccurate.”
A senior administration official told the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey that they are actually trying to influence the president through television.
“He will listen more when it is on TV,” a senior administration official said, pointing out that they make sure an official is on Pirro’s show every week.
Trump aides are also working to influence critical influencers of the president personally.
“Some aides, convinced that Trump puts more stock in what he sees on TV than in his own aides’ advice, regularly phone prominent commentators and news hosts to provide talking points on everything from tax policy to Syria in hopes of influencing Trump,” the Associated Press reported on Monday.