A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Producers Manage The Trump Show

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Over at Politico, “How Trump Gets His Fake News” is getting a lot of play this morning. And why not? In one sense, it’s an old story: Trump’s staff has to treat him like a volcanic nine-year-old lest he decide on a whim to move the Oval Office onto a barge in the Chesapeake Bay or something. We’ve read dozens of pieces like this in the past few months because Trump, by all accounts, really is a lot like a high-strung nine-year-old. At the same time, this kind of stuff is liberal crack: you can never get enough.

So what’s the best part of this latest installment in the Trump saga? The fake Time cover that got Trump lathered up about climate change? How Katie Walsh almost got fired because of a blog post from a conspiracy theorist? The fact that aides desperately try to ply Trump with good news to keep his temper in check? The endless search for whoever fed him the latest unapproved tidbit of Trumpbait? They’re all good. But maybe this is the best:

More recently, when four economists who advised Trump during the campaign — Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore — wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “now is the time to move [tax reform] forward with urgency,” someone in the White House flagged the piece for the president.

Trump summoned staff to talk about it. His message: Make this the tax plan, according to one White House official present.

Once again, we see that Trump couldn’t care less about policy. Any old health care plan is OK. Any old tax plan is OK. Just announce something and get it passed. Who care about all the stupid details, anyway? Just smug PhD types and annoying tea party crackpots.

Nothing matters. It’s all just a big show.


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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