According to a new report, several Fox News hosts acted as “cable cabinets” of informal advisers to former President Donald Trump, using direct phone numbers to contact him at the White House and frequently in Oval Office meetings. dialed.
Tiffany Grisham, a former White House press secretary who resigned after the January 6 Capitol Hill riots last year and wrote a book critical of Trump, said the former president often wanted to do things on the advice of Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity. . and Jeanine Pirro, according to The Washington Post.
“Sometimes the president would come downstairs the next morning and say, ‘Okay, Sean. [Hannity] Thinks we should do it,’ or ‘Judge Jeanine [Jeanine Pirro] thinks we should do it’, she said.
“A lot of it was PR — what he should say and how he should say it; he should be strict against wearing a mask or whatever,” she said. “And they all have different opinions too.”
Former Trump administration insiders also said he was impressed by what the network showed and was particularly impressed by Hannity, Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Lindsey Graham.
The report said a former official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mr Trump would often dial in Hannity and Dobbs directly in Oval Office meetings.
Trump’s unofficial adviser, Michael Pillsbury, said the former president began embracing false claims of election fraud only after seeing Dobbs on the show. “It taught me the power of young producers at Fox, and Fox Business in particular,” Pillsbury said.
Mr Trump’s former chief of staff John F. Kelly reportedly highlighted the importance of the network at the White House and told others that Dobbs’ show was important for the president and his views to be understood. According to the report, if he could not watch the prime time show himself, he asked others to keep an eye on Fox News.
Former White House communications director Alyssa Farah said Hannity made the biggest impact on the former president in the last year of the Trump administration.
Ms Farah said West Wing staff often rushed to guess what advice Mr Trump would get from these Fox News hosts. He said the goal was simply to “try to get ahead of the advice these people give” because his informal lawyer “could completely change his mind on something”, she said.
Other former Trump administration officials said another Fox News host Mark Levine and Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo were also in regular contact with the White House. He added that several Fox News hosts had direct phone numbers to the president at the White House.
The US House Select Committee investigating the Capitol Hill uprising of January 6 last year made public communications between former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Fox News hosts in recent weeks.
Communications also showed Fox News hosts urged Mr Trump to back the riots last year when his supporters stormed Capitol Hill to protest the election of Joe Biden.
Last week, the House committee sent Hannity a letter asking her to testify voluntarily after she made public a text that she had allegedly sent to Mr Meadows as well as Trump supporter Jim Jordan.
Hannity’s text just four days before the riot said: “Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days.”
It added: “He cannot refer to re-election. Sometimes. I didn’t get to meet him well today. And even worse, I’m not sure what’s left to do or say, and I don’t like knowing if it’s really understood. Idea?”
Mr Trump hit out at Hannity after the text became public, saying he disagreed with what was said.