Electoralism/Democratism

Former Trump aides detail just how influential Fox News hosts were in his White House

By Peter Weber The Week

Text messages released by the House Jan. 6 committee are a reminder how closely intertwined Fox News and former President Donald Trump’s White House were during his presidency — several prominent opinion hosts privately pleaded for Trump to stop the Capitol siege by his supporters, and Sean Hannity appears to have also been in the loop on Trump’s plans to overturn President Biden’s victory.

But that only scratches the surface of the influence this “cable Cabinet of unofficial advisers” had on Trump and White House policy, The Washington Post reports.

“There were times the president would come down the next morning and say, ‘Well, Sean thinks we should do this,’ or, ‘Judge Jeanine thinks we should do this,'” said former Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, referring to Hannity and Jeanine Pirro. The Fox News stars would offer Trump advice on policy and personnel, but “a lot of it was PR — what he should be saying and how he should be saying it; he should be going harder against wearing masks or whatever.”

Grisham, who resigned after Jan. 6 and has written a book critical of Trump, said frustrated West Wing staffers would roll their eyes as they scrambled to respond to this mess of influencers. Alyssa Farah, a Trump White House communications director, said the goal of Trump’s staff was to “try to get ahead of what advice you thought he was going to be given by these people,” because their unofficial counsel “could completely change his mind on something.”

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