President Donald Trump's campaign aides say they kept his propensity to get into heated Twitter battles in check partly by making sure he saw lots of positive remarks about himself — and they advised current White House aides to do likewise, according to a Politico report.
The job was made easier by Trump's preference for newspapers over websites. Staff was able to some degree to control what he read by not placing as many negative stories on his desk.
If enough positive stories were not available, aides said they turned to friendly conservative media to gin some up.
"If candidate Trump was upset about unfair coverage, it was productive to show him that he was getting fair coverage from outlets that were persuadable," his former communications director Sam Nunberg told Politico. "The same media that our base digests and prefers is going to be the base for his support. I would assume the president would like to see positive and preferential treatment from those outlets and that would help the operation overall."
Trump also likes to watch cable news, which was harder to manage.
When he got into a Twitter feud with Gold Star father Khizr Khan, the staff arranged a meeting with Gold Star Mothers of Florida and made sure it was covered. They also advised conservative media about Khan's ties to the Democratic Party.
Positive stories would be tweeted out by campaign officials with a large number of Twitter followers, and they would persuade conservative columnists and Fox News to tweet them out as well. They would then print out the large number of tweets and show them to Trump so he could see the message was being managed and he did not need to continue such feuds.
Another Trump associate said the president is more likely to listen when he's shown deference and offered praise and respect.
If Trump starts obsessing over a grudge, the best fix is to simply change the subject, Politico quotes his friends as advising.
"Leaving him alone for several hours can prove damaging, because he consumes too much television and gripes to people outside the White House," Politico wrote.
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