Picture the scene: you’re Donald Trump, the large adult son who somehow managed to wrangle their way to the Presidency of the United States. Large swathes of the American people hate you. Your children keep making illegal blunders. People tweet you all day with insults like “Drumpf” and “Wotsit Hitler”. There are television shows dedicated to taking the piss out of you.
You can’t even play golf every week without someone calling you lazy. Or incompetent. Or a threat to civil liberties. And world safety.
You’re under a lot of stress. So what’s your solution? You get a folder of compliments delivered to you every day. Twice.
As reported in VICE News, twice a day Donald Trump is presented with a document full of positive news about himself. The package, known in the White House as the “propaganda document”, is said to be 20-25 pages long and delivered to President Trump personally at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m every day.
The propaganda document is said to include “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.”
It is alleged that former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering it to Trump every day, and apparently the only feedback the White House communications shop has received about the folder is: “It needs to be more fucking positive.”
VICE News have since contacted Sean Spicer about the propaganda document, with the former Press Secretary disputing the nature of the folder. “While I won’t comment on materials we share with the president, this is not accurate on several levels,” he said in an email. Asked what about the story was inaccurate, Spicer did not respond.
Now, as a concept, keeping hold of compliments and positive feedback isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it can be a nice little self-care tip to help when your morale is low, taking a compliment is a good skill for someone to have and good news always puts a spring in your step.
Indeed, as one former RNC official told VICE News, “Maybe it’s good for the country that the president is in a good mood in the morning.”
However, it is a little odd that the “Leader of the Free World” can be so in need of positive reinforcement that in days where good news about Donald Trump is low, staffers in the White House communications shop are asked to show him flattering pictures of himself.