Monday through Thursday, Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News runs from 9 to 10 p.m. Shortly thereafter, Hannity makes a phone call to the White House.
Hannity is one of a few dozen friends and family members who have the direct line to the third floor of the executive residence, where (as New York Magazine reports) Donald Trump is usually alone, since Melania doesn’t share the president’s bedroom:
Their chats begin casually, with How are yous and What’s going ons. On some days, they speak multiple times, with one calling the other to inform him of the latest developments. White House staff are aware that the calls happen, thanks to the president entering a room and announcing, “I just hung up with Hannity,” or referring to what Hannity said during their conversations, or even ringing Hannity up from his desk in their presence.
New York Magazine’s shocking exposé reveals the many sources that are intimately aware of the relationship the two men share and how it has crafted the communications strategy for the White House.
Earlier in the Trump presidency, mornings started with Trump watching MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CNN’s New Day, which ultimately lead to “rage-tweeting” and an entire day’s plans going off-kilter. According to one former White House official,
It got to the point that they were just like, “We need to get him off these channels and onto Fox & Friends or else we’re going to be chasing down this crazy-train bullshit from MSNBC and CNN all day.”
Former chief of staff Reince Priebus and press secretary Sean Spicer were able to able to move the president to Fox News, which puts him in a better mood. But this has caused problems of its own. Said a current White House official.
Sometimes on Fox, a lot of stories are embellished, and they don’t necessarily cover the big news stories of the day. When they cover the smaller stories, if that gets the president riled up, then that becomes an issue. Whenever he tweets, all of us do a mad dash or mad scramble to find out as much information about that random topic as possible. We’re used to it in a lot of ways, so it’s part of our morning routine.
Trump doesn’t trust anyone willing to work for him as much as his does his old friends—and chief among them is Hannity: “Generally, the feeling is that Sean is the leader of the outside kitchen cabinet.”
On some days, Trump and Hannity speak multiple times, with one calling the other to inform him of the latest developments.” According to the Daily Beast, the content of the calls varies between news and “gabbing like old girlfriends about media gossip and whose show sucks.”
Last month, Hannity was revealed to be a client of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen despite efforts from Cohen’s lawyers to keep it secret.