Speed Reads

Trump & Friends

Trump reportedly treats Fox News hosts as significant policy and legal advisers

"It's no exaggeration to say that the Fox & Friends anchors and commentators have become de facto policy advisers," Mike Allen writes at Axios, even those Trump hasn't formally hired. Jonathan Swan adds that "Trump not only watches these folks religiously but consults them by phone," and he views Fox News personalities and former judges Jeanine Pirro and Andrew Napolitano "as quasi legal advisers." But few Fox hosts hold more sway over Trump than Fox Business star Lou Dobbs, The Daily Beast reports, "one of the main precursors to Trumpism" and "the #MAGA Socrates to Trump's Plato."

Trump calls Dobbs semi-regularly, tweets about him, and asks White House aides and confidantes if they watched specific Dobbs segments, The Daily Beast says. Dobbs is also "involved in some of the administration's more sensitive discussions."

During the first year of the Trump era, the president has patched in Dobbs via speakerphone to multiple meetings in the Oval Office so that he could offer his two cents, according to three sources familiar with these conversations. Trump will ask Dobbs for his opinion before and after his senior aides or Cabinet members have spoken. Occasionally, he will cut off an official so the Fox Business host can jump in. Dobbs, these sources all independently recounted, has been patched in to senior-level meetings on issues such as trade and tax policy. [The Daily Beast]

A Trump aide tells Allen that Trump watches conservative news outlets — Fox and Sinclair channels — because "those seem to be the only options that aren't chronically negative or personally vicious toward him," but it's a symbolic relationship; Swan calls it "the modern version of call and response: his tweets, their chyrons." This feedback loop has convinced Trump "he's winning his war on media," Axios says, but Swan has a caveat: "The nuance is he still craves mainstream approval, especially from his hometown paper, the NYT. It's the girl he can't get."