Raise your hand, if, like me, it comes as absolutely no shock to hear President Trump is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – source for leaks coming from the White House.
Let’s keep in mind that this is the same Trump who would push stories to the press under the guise of “John Barron.”
In a new book, “The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game,” author Ronald Kessler claims that often, when you see the term “senior White House official” to describe an anonymous source in a news story, that “senior White House official” is actually Trump.
“Trump phones Maggie Haberman of the New York Times directly, as well as Philip Rucker of the Washington Post, and Jonathan Swan of Axios, feeding them stories attributed to ‘a senior White House official,’ creating the impression that White House leaks even more than it already does,” Kessler wrote.
Kessler goes on to suggest that for all Trump’s public rancor and fuming towards publications, such as the “failing” New York Times and Time Magazine, he really just wants their attention and favor.
The emotional wreckage that makes up the core of Trump craves positive attention and the limelight. That may be why he gets so bent out of shape when somebody else in his circle is recognized with a Time cover.
Kessler claims an aide told him that Trump’s goal is to win over Maggie Haberman.
“He wants eventually to win her over,” the aide said. “The president subscribes to the general theory that a little love can go a long way. Even if a story will be bad, give it a shot and maybe it will come out a little better.”
“He believes like this is his hometown paper,” former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told Kessler. “He likes the respectability of being in the Times.”
“He will say he had seven New York Times page-one stories before he ran for president, but on one day as president, he counted seven,” former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said.
So apparently, it’s not just Kessler seeing this.
Kessler previously pegged White House adviser Kellyanne Conway as the biggest leaker, and that may be right, as well.
He went on to point out an interview with Kellyanne that she thought was off-record, where she went on a tirade about then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, saying things that were so mean-spirited and unfair, that Kessler refused to print them.
He said she also has a lot to say – none of it good – about Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
So the next time you see a story from the New York Times that lists an anonymous source or a “senior White House official,” don’t scoff. Just expand your imagination a bit, and ask yourself if it’s a story that could somehow be twisted to a positive for Trump.