Amidst the horror and catastrophe of Donald Trump’s first month in office, something funny is happening. It’s not the kind of funny that diminishes the ongoing nightmare of having this man as president, but it’s funny nonetheless, and good God, do we ever need distractions right now.
Here’s what’s happening: There are tons of leaks coming from the White House. The entire place is a giant, leaky ship, and it seems like stories come out daily that document every single moment of Trump’s existence inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And while lots of them contain near-lethal doses of the aforementioned horror, others are just embarrassing in the funniest way possible.
In this post, we will focus on the latter. There are plenty of places to get your fill of the horror—including every other political article on this very website—but here and now, we’re only interested in hearing about how Donald Trump has already complained that the towels on Air Force One aren’t soft enough. That’s the good stuff right there, and there’s plenty of it to go around. We will update this list as new material leaks—please enjoy!
(Note: Some of this stuff is still horrifying. Sorry.)
1. Trump will not put up with rough towels on Air Force One! (Source)
According to a White House insider, the tough-talking Commander in Chief was so incensed by the roughness of the hand towels on the presidential jets that he registered a complaint.
2. Trump called Gen. Mike Flynn at 3 a.m. to ask whether it was better to have a strong dollar or a weak dollar. (Source)
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump was confused about the dollar: Was it a strong one that’s good for the economy? Or a weak one?
So he made a call ? except not to any of the business leaders Trump brought into his administration or even to an old friend from his days in real estate. Instead, he called his national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, according to two sources familiar with Flynn’s accounts of the incident.
Flynn has a long record in counterintelligence but not in macroeconomics. And he told Trump he didn’t know, that it wasn’t his area of expertise, that, perhaps, Trump should ask an economist instead.
3. Trump wants intelligence reports to max out at nine bullet points because reading sucks. (Source)
The aide, who refused to be named, also said that Trump hates reading so much that he demands all of his briefing materials to be condensed into a single page containing no more than nine bullet points.
4. Trump loves the phones at the White House. (Source)
Okay, this one isn’t actually a leak, but it’s funny anyway:
President Trump, who flew across the country on hundreds of nights during the 2016 campaign to sleep in his own bed, has now spent five straight days in the unfamiliar surroundings of the White House. His aides said privately that he seemed apprehensive about the move to his new home, but Mr. Trump has discovered there is a lot he likes.
“These are the most beautiful phones I’ve ever used in my life,” Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening.
5. Trump is afraid of stairs. (Source)
After reading the original excerpt, it’s worth taking a deep dive into Jezebel’s thorough investigation.
President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May were spotted holding hands last week, but it was more than just a sweet display of friendship, The Times of London reports. “Downing Street officials claimed the president’s phobia of stairs and slopes led him to grab the prime minister’s hand as they walked down a ramp at the White House,” the Times writes.
6. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Josh Dunford convinced Trump to go through Yemen raid by saying “Obama wouldn’t have done it.” (Source)
Mr Obama had reportedly been told about the plan to kill al Rimi, who took over control of the Yemeni affiliate of the terror organisation in 2015, but held off approving it because his advisors had wanted to wait until a moonless night which would not have happened again till after he left office, the New York Times reported.
7. Donald Trump is usually in a bathrobe by 6:30 p.m. (Source)
Usually around 6:30 p.m., or sometimes later, Mr. Trump retires upstairs to the residence to recharge, vent and intermittently use Twitter. With his wife, Melania, and young son, Barron, staying in New York, he is almost always by himself, sometimes in the protective presence of his imposing longtime aide and former security chief, Keith Schiller. When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home.
8. Trump watches Sean Spicer’s daily briefings and will bring him into the Oval Office to criticize his performance. (Source)
He often has to wait until the end of the workday before grinding through news clips with Mr. Spicer, marking the ones he does not like with a big arrow in black Sharpie — though he almost always makes time to monitor Mr. Spicer’s performance at the daily briefings, summoning him to offer praise or criticism, a West Wing aide said.
Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Spicer’s initial fiery appearance in the White House briefing room, urging him to wear a sharper suit and appear more confident, according to a person with knowledge of the conversations.
But inside, the finger-pointing and blame-casting continued. Unfortunately for Spicer, Trump is obsessed with his press secretary’s performance art. Our Jonathan Swan hears that Trump hasn’t been impressed with how Spicer dresses, once asking an aide: “Doesn’t the guy own a dark suit?”
9. Trump’s aides had to meet in the dark because they couldn’t figure out the light switches. (Source)
Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room. Visitors conclude their meetings and then wander around, testing doorknobs until finding one that leads to an exit.
10. Trump didn’t want to hire Sean Spicer because he didn’t think Spicer was fit for TV. (Source)
As Trump thought about staffing his administration following his surprise victory, he hesitated over selecting Spicer as White House press secretary. He did not see Spicer as particularly telegenic and preferred a woman for the position, asking Conway to do it and also considering conservative commentators Laura Ingraham and Monica Crowley — who ultimately stepped down from an administration job because of charges of plagiarism — before settling on Spicer at the urging of Priebus and others.
11. Jared Kushner didn’t want Kellyanne Conway in the White House because he didn’t want any threats to his current position. (Source)
Two people close to the transition also said a number of Trump’s most loyal campaign aides have been alarmed by Kushner’s efforts to elbow aside anyone he perceives as a possible threat to his role as Trump’s chief consigliere. At one point during the transition, Kushner had argued internally against giving Conway a White House role, these two people said.
12. Aides have to keep Trump away from “bad” information because he gets cranky. (Source)
One person who frequently talks to Trump said aides have to push back privately against his worst impulses in the White House, like the news conference idea, and have to control information that may infuriate him. He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that.
13. He talks back to his television, particularly when Don Lemon is on. (Source)
Cloistered in the White House, he now has little access to his fans and supporters — an important source of feedback and validation — and feels increasingly pinched by the pressures of the job and the constant presence of protests, one of the reasons he was forced to scrap a planned trip to Milwaukee last week. For a sense of what is happening outside, he watches cable, both at night and during the day — too much in the eyes of some aides — often offering a bitter play-by-play of critics like CNN’s Don Lemon.
14. Trump was super rattled by Melissa McCarthy—a woman!—playing Sean Spicer on TV. (Source)
More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him. And the unflattering send-up by a female comedian was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job in which he has struggled to strike the right balance between representing an administration that considers the media the “opposition party,” and developing a functional relationship with the press.
“Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak,” added a top Trump donor.
15. He was also rattled by Bannon being on the Time cover, billed as a “Master Manipulator.” (Source)
Bannon’s rising profile — captured on this week’s cover of Time magazine, which labeled him “The Great Manipulator” — caught the attention of senior officials, as well as Trump, who takes pride in his own cover appearances and inquired about Bannon’s Time debut with aides.
16. Oh yeah, the women’s march really pissed him off too. (Source)
President Trump had just returned to the White House on Saturday from his final inauguration event, a tranquil interfaith prayer service, when the flashes of anger began to build.
Trump turned on the television to see a jarring juxtaposition — massive demonstrations around the globe protesting his day-old presidency and footage of the sparser crowd at his inauguration, with large patches of white empty space on the Mall.
As his press secretary, Sean Spicer, was still unpacking boxes in his spacious new West Wing office, Trump grew increasingly and visibly enraged.
17. Revising the travel ban was a way for the Trump administration to cheer him up after his tweet storm about former-President Barack Obama. (Source:)
Trump had dinner with Sessions, Bannon, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, among others. They tried to put Trump in a better mood by going over their implementation plans for the travel ban, according to a White House official.
18. Trump gave Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) a ride on Air Force One down to Florida on Friday (March 3) and then Rubio agitated the administration by not sticking up for it on Meet the Press on Sunday. (Source:)
Trump was brighter Sunday morning as he read several newspapers, pleased that his allegations against Obama were the dominant story, the official said.
19. The administration, including Sean Spicer, is taking phones from certain aides and checking them for messages to the press. (Source:)
In another effort to deter leaks, White House spokesman Sean Spicer demanded that some aides there surrender their phones so they could be checked for calls or texts to reporters, Politico reported on Sunday.
What are we forgetting? Sound off in the comments below, and check back, as we’ll be updating this post with each new leak.