Aides took advantage of Trump’s short attention span to keep him distracted and off Twitter during Comey testimony
A report from the New York Times published in the aftermath of fired FBI Director James Comey’s congressional testimony offers a look into President Donald Trump’s reaction to Comey’s testimony, including how his aides packed his schedule “by design” so he wouldn’t be able to watch the entire Congressional hearing.
“We know how to fight better than anybody, and we never, ever give up — we are winners — and we are going to fight,” Trump reportedly told an assembled group of conservative evangelicals in during the “Faith and Freedom” conference in the middle of Comey’s testimony.
“In all,” Times writers Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman wrote, “Mr. Trump watched only about 45 minutes of Mr. Comey’s testimony, the people close to the president said. Much of that time was spent under the eye of his take-charge personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, one of the cabinet members he trusts most.”
“This was by design, with the president’s tacit consent,” the report continued. “His aides packed the day with meetings and speechwriting sessions, including the “Faith and Freedom” conference and terrorism briefings with his national security adviser H. R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson.
“The idea: Keep Mr. Trump occupied, even-keeled and away from Twitter,” the report continued.
According to Trush and Haberman, the president’s “top advisers, especially his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, were worried that the president would defy Mr. Kasowitz and take to Twitter to vent his pique with Mr. Comey, who he believes is on a personal mission to destroy his presidency.”
“Aides were bracing for some kind of Twitter eruption on Thursday night or early Friday,” the report continued, because they “expected the president to either watch the full hearing later in the day on TiVo, or — potentially worse — simply skip to coverage on Fox News or CNN, where Mr. Comey’s most damaging comments were playing on a loop.”
Trump did not live-tweet the hearings or the wall-to-wall coverage afterwards, and according to the report, “many of Mr. Trump’s aides were less than impressed by the public performance of Mr. Kasowitz.”
Read the entire article on the Comey testimony’s reception by the president and within the White House via the Times.