Twice a day––at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.––White House staff members prepare a special folder filled with positive news about the president.
According to VICE, which spoke with three former and current White House officials who described the routine, the folders "are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful."
Officials begin the process of assembling the folder in the Republican National Committee’s “war room,” which monitors local and national news, cable television, social media, digital media, and print media to gauge national perceptions on Trump––and the Republican Party. White House staffers review the information, and file the most positive information into the folder to present to the president.
“Maybe it’s good for the country that the president is in a good mood in the morning,” said one former RNC official.
While White House officials acknowledged that Trump receives a collection of TV news screenshots and chyrons after various events, they insisted that the folder is not limited to only positive coverage, and that VICE's account mischaracterized the contents of these folders.
“How is it odd that the president receives daily news clips? It would be odd if he didn’t,” wrote White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in an email to CNNMoney. “Also this is a modern President that understands the impact of social media, cable news, etc.”
Social media immediately seized on the news, decrying the president as a shallow narcissist. (Indeed, Trump has been very vocal about how much attention he pays to the way the media portrays him; his public Twitter attacks on the "failing New York Times" and other media outlets have continued to defy presidential norms.)
And then the geniuses around him wonder why doesn't improve. Hell he's already the best president since Lincoln in his own mind.— Shango (@Darqman) August 8, 2017
This is usually something parents do to encourage their children to do well in school.— Michael Abromowitz (@FootballExpert) August 8, 2017
According to Jen Psaki, a former Obama White House communications director and now CNN contributor, “it is safe to say that President Obama was never given and never requested a packet of clips about chyrons of any kind."
When contacted by VICE reporters, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “While I won’t comment on materials we share with the president, this is not accurate on several levels." When pressed to point out any of the story's inaccuracies, Spicer declined to respond.