Top White House officials, including Cabinet heads, have been forced to learn a few tricks to help keep President Donald Trump’s attention during meetings.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster has rubbed Trump the wrong way with his crisp, businesslike briefings, which the president finds overly formal and off-putting, reported Axios.
According to colleagues, Trump preferred the more conversational style of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign a month into the administration over his secret conversations with the Russian ambassador.
McMaster, a U.S. Army lieutenant general, has learned he can keep the president’s attention by peppering his briefings with jokes and references to Trump’s name, colleagues say.
His deputy, Dina Powell, is especially good at this, White House officials say, and engages Trump by bringing up theories he believes in and things he’s said in the past.
Economic adviser Gary Cohn, a rumored replacement for chief of staff Reince Priebus, has also switched to a more conversational style when briefing Trump on official business, the website reported.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin grabbed the president’s attention during one recent briefing on Chinese currency manipulation by flattering his importance.
“That was before you were on the world stage,” Mnuchin said, according to the website.
Previous reports have shown Trump prefers “killer graphics,” such as pictures, videos and colorful charts, and often interrupts meetings with questions and unrelated digressions.
National security officials also strategically mention Trump’s name in papers because that keeps him reading, rather than losing interest.