As the recent firing of controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski proved on Monday, Donald Trump can still surprise the press every once in a while. Yet it’s the stories about what he does and says as a matter of habit that, despite their predictability, delight newsreaders more than anything else. From his egregious use of Sharpies to annotate articles about himself and write personal responses to their authors, to that time he impersonated his own public-relations official, news about Trump being Trump is worth more than most traded-on-the-market currencies. Consider The Daily Beast reporter Olivia Nuzzi’s recent observation concerning the presumptive Republican nominee’s Google search habits.
In the final section of a GQ profile of Trump’s “accidental press secretary” Hope Hicks, Nuzzi makes a passing reference to the Donald’s morning routine at the office. Specifically, his penchant for reading “30 to 50 Google News results for ‘Donald J. Trump.’ ” Not one or two, nor even a sizable handful, but up to 50 published pieces of journalism whose SEO contain the words “Donald,” “J” and “Trump” in some kind of recognizable configuration. What’s more, his staff prints all of it out for him:
While Trump nurses an obvious addiction to cable news, the reading that’s put in front of him is largely confined to a topic he already knows well. Every morning, staffers print out 30 to 50 Google News results for “Donald J. Trump.” He then goes at the sheaf with a marker, making circles and arrows and annotating things he likes or doesn’t like. The defaced article gets scanned and e-mailed to the journalist or the person quoted who has drawn Trump’s attention, under the subject line “From the office of Donald J. Trump.”
As far out as these numbers sound, all the evidence points to it being closer to the truth than not. Many print and online journalists at publications great and small have posted scanned copies of Trump’s printed-from-a-computer copies of their articles. And in every single case, said printouts are rife with Sharpie-written comments of praise or ridicule, and adorned with the Donald’s flamboyant signature. But seriously, up to 50 of these every morning?
It could be worse, as sometimes Trump doesn’t even make it to the Sharpie stage and instead outright bans certain journalists and publications for their words. And whenever this occurs, there’s bound to be a “tantrum” or two:
“She sees the tantrums, and there are tantrums,” a source who’s been with Trump and Hicks told me. “He reads something he doesn’t like by a reporter, and it’s like, ‘This motherf*cker! All right, fine. Hope?’ He circles it. ‘This guy’s banned! He’s banned for a while.’ That’s exactly how it works.”
Makes you wonder if, after the billionth “motherf*cker” out of the Donald’s Sharpie-lined mouth, Hicks may eventually have enough of her boss. With Lewandowski flying the coop (probably not by choice), a full-on regiment change may be in order.