Aides to President Donald Trump regularly print out fake news and internet hoaxes and place them on the president’s desk in the hopes that he will read them, according to a new report from Politico.
Sources tell Politico that the situation has grown so dire that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus recently sent out a memo asking aides to not put any news stories on the president’s desk, out of fear that they may turn out to be hoaxes that he will impulsively tweet about.
One recent incident involved Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland printing out a fake Time magazine cover purportedly from the 1970s that predicted a coming Ice Age. As Time itself has documented, the cover was doctored as part of a hoax intended to spread misinformation about climate change.
“Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy,” Politico writes. “But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.”
This is relevant because aides will regularly slip Trump stories to manipulate him and get him on board with their agenda — Trump’s infamous tweet about former President Barack Obama illegally wiretapping Trump Tower, for instance, reportedly came after he read an article that was placed on his desk that falsely claimed Obama had spied on him during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Additionally, Politico‘s sources say that Trump fired Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh earlier this year after someone slipped an article posted on conspiracy theorist Chuck Johnson’s website alleging that Walsh was responsible for all the damaging leaks coming out of the administration.