trump phone
Donald Trump (Photo: White House photographer)

Donald Trump famously refuses to communicate by text or email, which his advisers have said probably kept him out of legal trouble, but that began to change recently.

Friends, confidants and even some who aren't especially close to him started receiving text messages from the former president starting around the beginning of this year, and those who've been on the receiving end of his criticism for leaving a written trail of his communications reacted with surprise, reported the New York Times.

"Those who have witnessed firsthand his visceral aversion to record-keeping said they were shocked to learn about his new electronic habit," wrote reporters Jonathan Swan and Maggie Haberman.

“Has he now also started to take notes?” said John Bolton, his former national security adviser, when told of Trump's texting.

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Trump has long prided himself on being "smart" for avoiding documentation of his meetings, and he once yelled at Bolton for taking notes during a discussion and has snatched away notes after spotting a junior legal associate jotting them down during a meeting in the 1990s.

“I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn," Trump said, according to former White House counsel Donald McGahn. "He did not take notes."

The text messages sent from his cellphone have mostly been innocuous, according to recipients who got new year greetings, political observations or other missives from Trump.

However, some associates expressed concern about what he might say in those texts, but they're relieved that his phone now sends calls from numbers that aren't in his contacts straight to voice mail, according to two sources.

That change was prompted by Trump accepting a call from an NBC reporter who had called him during House speaker Kevin McCarthy's protracted election bid earlier this month.