President Donald Trump exploded over a New York Times story that revealed, among many troubling things, his shocking television addiction.
“Another false story, this time in the Failing @nytimes, that I watch 4-8 hours of television a day – Wrong!” Trump tweeted Monday. “Also, I seldom, if ever, watch CNN or MSNBC, both of which I consider Fake News. I never watch Don Lemon, who I once called the ‘dumbest man on television!’ Bad Reporting.”
Another false story, this time in the Failing @nytimes, that I watch 4-8 hours of television a day – Wrong! Also, I seldom, if ever, watch CNN or MSNBC, both of which I consider Fake News. I never watch Don Lemon, who I once called the “dumbest man on television!” Bad Reporting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2017
Over the weekend, The Times published an extensive inside look at Trump’s “battle for self-preservation.”
Cable news makes up a huge part of Trump’s day and outlook. According to the Times, he wakes up at 5:30 am each morning and turns on the TV.
“He flips to CNN for news, moves to ‘Fox & Friends’ for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day,” the report says.
After some time marinating in the news, Trump grabs his phone and starts tweeting about things he saw on television.
Sometimes he goes to the den next door to watch more television.
Trump even urges aides to think of his presidency as a television show, according to The Times:
Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals. People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted, marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.
According to the report, the news cycle drastically affects Trump’s actions. For example, he was relatively calm after former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI for a couple days. But then he saw that the Sunday morning news shows were focused on Flynn, and fired off a number of tweets, including one that was potentially self-incriminating.
“By Sunday morning, with news shows consumed by Mr. Flynn’s case, the president grew angry and fired off a series of tweets excoriating Mrs. Clinton and the F.B.I., tweets that several advisers told him were problematic and needed to stop, according to a person briefed on the discussion,” The Times reports.
According to the Times, “no one touches the remote control except Mr. Trump and the technical support staff.” During meetings, Trump “keeps an eye on scrolling headlines” on a 60-inch screen.
“What he misses he checks out later on what he calls his ‘Super TiVo,’ a state-of-the-art system that records cable news,” The Times reports.
As with many other personal defects, Trump gets riled up when he’s called out on how much he watches TV, “a perception that reinforces the criticism that he is not taking the job seriously.”
During his trip to Asia, Trump told reporters on Air Force One, “I do not watch much television. 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.”
Shortly after, he complained on Twitter that he was forced to watch CNN in the Philippines because there were no other options.