President Donald Trump is so desperate for positive news about himself that he's paying White House director of rapid response Andy Hemming $89,000 to find good stories.
As the most recent CNN poll reveals, only one in four Americans trust Trump's White House for basic information. The numbers show that even Trump's own supporters don't believe what he's saying. The numbers make the Trump agenda much more vulnerable as his coattails aren't strong enough to carry members of his own party.
Politico cited public disclosures on the salary of the 31-year-old Hemming. However, news that he spends his days scouring radio, television and the web for stories that celebrate the Trump agenda came from Trump's own allies.
The "gossipy" commander-in-chief has demanded that his staff defend him on accusations that he won the popular vote, despite coming up 3 million short. He's launched a commission to try and prove he actually won the majority of Americans. He's gotten into fights over his inaugural crowd size. He has also demanded unflattering photos of him be deleted and mandated fake copies of a non-existant TIME magazine cover story be displayed in his properties.
The moody leader often takes to Twitter to defend himself or attack foes, only to have the tweets backfire. At times his defense can come from inaccurate or debunked information. Other times he fires off a tweet only to have it blasted and mocked by cable news pundits and the late-night comedians. As a result, staff have taken extreme measures to distract Trump and keep him from tweeting.
After just a month in office, there were reports that Trump was miserable in the job and hated his staff. Months later, the top aide Jared Kushner wasn't feeling much better. Meanwhile, reports are that Melania Trump is miserable. Even Eric and Don Jr. are unhappy and desperate for the White House nightmare to end. Advisors are so fearful of how Trump might react that lawyers were brought in to monitor the president during a key hearing, prompting CNN commentator Phil Mudd to wonder if the lawyers would be sitting in the White House residence at 2 a.m. to stop the president from tweeting.
It makes the role of the positive Trump news staffer all the more critical to impact the president's mood.
“It’s an important role,” former Trump spokesman Jason Miller told Politico of Hemming's role. “There’s so much good news that’s coming out of this administration, that we have to continue pushing all of these positive messages ourselves to remind people there’s a lot going on.”
“Andy does an incredible job of finding those hidden gems and trying to amplify those positive messages,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders. “He’s quick and I would say he has a very good pulse on what’s hot, but also on what wasn’t hot but should be.”