It is no secret that Fox News’ Sean Hannity has a close relationship with President Donald Trump. The two men reportedly call each other on a nightly basis after Hannity’s hit Fox News program has aired and folks within the White House have taken to labeling Hannity the shadow chief of staff. The kinship between the two has recently resulted in Hannity getting first crack at post-summit interviews in Singapore and Helsinki.
Well, according to those in the White House, it would appear that the Hannity/Trump relationship includes the two men coordinating on the Fox host’s programming choices and storylines. During a fascinating and juicy interview with National Review’s Jaimie Weinstein — the whole hourlong conversation is worth listening to, frankly — Axios’ Jonathan Swan relayed what his sources had told him about Hannity’s show and how it is a big part of Trump’s messaging.
Noting that he doesn’t know Sean Hannity at all, Swan told Weinstein that it is “very clear” from talking to White House insiders that Hannity is viewed as “an extension of the White House’s communications shop.”
“The way to think about his show is in some ways an extension of the Trump White House, and in some ways, he is actually selling the president’s message probably in Trump’s mind better than the staff at the White House,” Swan added.
The Axios reporter went on to discuss a story that someone relayed to him about Trump watching a broadcast of Hannity and how the president knew exactly what was coming next.
“It was the first time he’d watched the replay,” Swan stated, “but it was from the previous evening, but he knew what was coming. He’d say ‘Wait for it — wait for it.’ And it was clear to this person that they, him and Sean, had kind of pre-gamed.”
“Coordinated,” Weinstein exclaimed. “Wow!”
“I don’t think that’s like…they talk a lot, right?” Swan responded. “Do you think they don’t talk about storylines and things that come up? I’d be stunned if they didn’t. I don’t have any inside knowledge of what they talk about.”
Swan’s recounting of the what staffers in the White House are saying about Trump’s relationship with Hannity comes weeks after Trump brought on former Fox News co-president Bill Shine — a close friend of Hannity’s — to run the White House comms shop. Politico also reported on Monday that Trump is making more and more of his decisions based on the Trump-Fox Feedback Loop and that he has “his cellphone at the ready to dial up any number” of Fox’s on-air talent.