On Saturday, Fox News host and perennial Donald Trump booster Sean Hannity had an angry meltdown on Twitter when the New York Times suggested that he and the president speak regularly about policy issues and Trump's media presentation.
According to TheHill.com, he got more than he bargained for when Times staff jumped into to reply to his comments accusing them of "colluding" with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
An article titled "Trump Reaches Beyond West Wing for Counsel" asserted that among other unconventional advisers who the president reaches out to, "Sean Hannity tells the president that keeping promises on core Republican issues is crucial."
The article went on to say, "Presidents always deploy surrogates to appear on television to spout their talking points, but Mr. Trump has expanded on that by developing relationships with sympathetic media figures like Mr. Hannity who also serve as advisers. Mr. Hannity, the Fox News host, defends Mr. Trump’s most controversial behavior in public, but privately, according to people close to Mr. Trump, he urges the president not to get distracted, and advises him to focus on keeping pledges like repealing the Affordable Care Act."
This apparently sent Hannity into a rage.
"You colluded with HRC in 2016. It's none of your business who i do or do not talk too. Total fake news speculation about me/@POTUS," he complained. "Any conversation I have with ANYONE is supposed to be PRIVATE. I have NEVER talked to you. Was I surveilled and unmasked by u/NSA?"
Times reporter Maggie Haberman responded that Hannity's heated reaction is kind of bewildering given the anodyne nature of the article.
"W all due respect, we were interested in who POTUS talks to, not you, and several ppl close to him cited you," Haberman said to him. "Also reached out to Fox News pr, who took no issue w it. And it was hardly critical of you. Not sure why the reax."
W all due respect, we were interested in who POTUS talks to, not you, and several ppl close to him cited you https://t.co/sb9y4nDJYt— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman)1492899039.0
Also reached out to Fox News pr, who took no issue w it. And it was hardly critical of you. Not sure why the reax https://t.co/sb9y4nDJYt— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman)1492899094.0
Hannity replied, "The @nytimes has no clue who I talk to as I refuse to EVER TALK TO THEM! @POTUS knows you are FAKE NEWS and I doubt he talks to u either."
Dear lord https://t.co/RqwAdhjIKC— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman)1492899182.0
Pres. Trump did an exclusive interview with Haberman and fellow New York Times writer Glenn Thrush in the White House earlier this month.
Thrush joined the conversation to point out out to Hannity that he personally has witnessed Hannity attempting to counsel elected officials on political issues.
"I was once sitting with a Republican elected official preparing for an interview when he got an email from u giving him political advice," said Thrush.
I was once sitting with a Republican elected official preparing for an interview when he got an email from u giving… https://t.co/TCNeCwtKoG— Glenn Thrush (@Glenn Thrush)1492899351.0
Times writer Nick Corasaniti jumped in to remind Hannity of their interview from last year.
Here's an interview I did with Sean last year: https://t.co/uUMU1yGcoe https://t.co/QzNFgNxSMi— Nick Corasaniti (@Nick Corasaniti)1492901182.0
Hannity has been one of Trump's most devoted supporters in the media since his campaign began, and during controversies, Hannity's nightly show provided a safe harbor where Trump would only have to face softball questions.