Donald Trump and Fox News’ Sean Hannity have nightly chats, says report

One source says the television pundit gives the president 'strategic advice' 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Monday 14 May 2018 15:05 BST

President Donald Trump reportedly talks to Fox News host Sean Hannity every night after his show airs.

The US leader and the conservative television pundit spend time “gabbing like old girlfriends” nearly every weeknight, according to New York Magazine.

While it was previously known the president’s preferred viewing is the right-leaning network, a source close to the matter told the magazine that Mr Hannity actually “gives tactical advice versus strategic advice” to the president.

The report stated that White House staffers are well aware of the phone calls during which they discuss the “latest developments” since Mr Trump has announced them often in the past. But, the calls are not relegated to post-show, the magazine reported.

There have been days when the pair speaks several times and staffers said it helps the president “decompress” as opposed to the beginning of his term which included several early morning angry tweet streams based on watching MSNBC's "Morning Joe" or CNN's morning programmes. They often refer to the ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign team and Russian officials, both thinking it is a "witch hunt," a phrase the president has tweeted often.

Colbert couldn't contain his joy over Sean Hannity being named as Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's mystery client

Mr Hannity is “not a systematic thinker at all. He’s not an ideologue,” a source said, much like Mr Trump. The radio and television host is one of a dozen people with direct access to the Oval Office and his influence "fills the void" left by former advisor Steve Bannon, who parted ways with the White House in August 2017 according to a White House official, adding that Mr Hannity is like an additional White House staffer who works outside of the building, in the media.

A former Trump official told the magazine that Fox News and Hannity's nearly-unconditional support of Mr Trump is “a f*****-up feedback loop” that puts Mr Trump “in a weird headspace. What ends up happening is "Judge Jeanine" or "Hannity" fill him up with a bunch of crazy s***, and everyone on staff has to go and knock down all the f****** fires they started".

The two do not just share phone calls and thoughts on politics, they also share lawyer Michael Cohen. The beleaguered attorney has been at the centre of a lawsuit by Stormy Daniels, a woman who said she had an affair with the president in 2006 and that she has the right to speak about it since Mr Trump never signed a nondisclosure agreement. She was also paid $130,000 by Mr Cohen just days before the November 2016 election in order to keep quiet about the affair. The source and what Mr Trump knew about the payment are unconfirmed and Mr Trump has denied the affair.

“Generally, the feeling is that Sean is the leader of the outside kitchen cabinet,” a White House official said. Mr Bannon also weighed in, saying that Mr Hannity "understands the basic issues of economic nationalism and ‘America First’ foreign policy at a deeper level than the...clowns at New York Magazine".

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