The phone calls between President Donald Trump and Sean Hannity come early in the morning or late at night, after the Fox News host goes off the air. They discuss ideas for Hannity’s show, Trump’s frustration with the ongoing special counsel probe and even, at times, what the president should tweet, according to people familiar with the conversations.
When he’s off the phone, Trump is known to cite Hannity when he talks with White House advisers.
The Atlanta Journal reports,
The revelation this week that the two men share an attorney is just the latest sign of how Hannity is intertwined with Trump’s world — an increasingly powerful confidant who offers the media-driven president a sympathetic ear and shared grievances. The conservative commentator is so close to Trump that some White House aides have dubbed him the unofficial chief of staff.
This portrait of the interactions between the president and the talk-show host is based on interviews with more than a dozen friends, advisers and associates of the two men, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.
For a president who feels, intensely, that he is under siege, Hannity offers what he prizes: loyalty and a mass audience. And Trump, in turn, has directed his supporters to Hannity’s show — urging people on Twitter last week to watch the commentator attack special counsel Robert Mueller III, who heads the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
Their bond intensified during the 2016 campaign and has grown even stronger during Trump’s time in office.
“The bottom line is, during the heat of the campaign when relationships are forged, he was always there, offering good advice, in person and on television,” former deputy Trump campaign manager David Bossie said of Hannity. “The president sees him as incredibly smart and articulate spokesman for the agenda.”
Trump and Hannity usually speak several times a week, according to people familiar with their relationship. The Fox News host, whose show averages more than 3 million viewers daily, is one of the few people who gets patched immediately to Trump. The two men review news stories and aspects of Hannity’s show, and occasionally debate specifics about whatever the president is considering typing out on Twitter. There have also been times when Trump has assessed the merits of various White House aides with Hannity.
The frequency of Hannity’s contact with Trump means that “he basically has a desk in the place,” one presidential adviser said.
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