White House officials barely managed to stop President Trump from tweeting about a widely circulated internet hoax after a printout of the hoax was left on his desk by his deputy national security adviser, Politico reports. Trump had believed the printout was real and that it highlighted the media's hypocrisy; the hoax depicted two Time magazine covers, a recent one warning about the dangers of global warming and a seemingly contradictory, but fake, cover from 1977 warning about the coming ice age:
"While the specific cover is fake, it is true there was a period in the '70s when people were predicting an ice age," a White House official later defended to Politico. "The broader point I think was accurate."
Yet the incident is only the most recent in a flood of near-misses stemming from staffers intentionally leaving dubious articles that fuel their own agendas on the president's desk in the hopes of swaying his opinion and policies. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus recently asked staff to follow the often-ignored laws that require a proper catalog of what lands on the president's desk: "They have this system in place to get things on his desk now," a White House official said. "I'm not sure anyone follows it."
In another instance, the president received a news printout claiming without evidence that Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh was behind the White House leaks, prompting Trump to begin inquiries. And in another case, Trump was slipped a New York Times op-ed by four of his former economic advisers and after reading it, Trump immediately demanded their proposal be his official tax plan.
Ultimately, it was. "I've probably written 1,000 op-eds on my life but that might have been the most impactful," marveled one of the authors, Stephen Moore.