We all enjoy a little positive reinforcement in life. Donald Trump is no different. In fact, it seems the United States president craves it more than most.
According to Vice News, which spoke to three current or former White House officials, Trump’s staffers go to extraordinary lengths to boost his self-esteem. Twice each day, at 9.30am and 4.30pm, they prepare a “special folder” for the president, full of positive news stories, tweets praising him and “sometimes just pictures of Mr Trump on television looking powerful”.
Some in the White House refer to this folder as “the propaganda document”, Vice reports.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus, both of whom have since been deemed surplus to Mr Trump’s requirements, were reportedly behind the idea and responsible for delivering the folder to the president.
“While I won’t comment on materials we share with the president, this is not accurate on many levels,” Spicer said of Vice’s story. He did not elaborate on the alleged inaccuracies.
Trump does appear to care deeply about how he is perceived. The president frequently, publicly complains about negative media coverage, and has a habit of thanking television hosts on Twitter when they say nice things about him, his favourite show being the Fox News morning programme Fox and Friends. He refers to media outlets he does not like, such as CNN, the Washington Post and New York Times, as “fake news”.
Trump tends to seek out praise when he can as well. The election campaign ended almost a year ago, but the president still frequently holds political rallies, where he basks in the adulation of his supporters. Notably, his first cabinet meeting at the White House in June turned into a bizarre spectacle as Trump’s top advisers repeatedly lavished praise on him.
“We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda,” Priebus said.
“This is just the greatest privilege of my life,” Vice-President Mike Pence said.
It carried on like that for a while. So there is some genuinely good news for Mr Trump here: If he wants positive reinforcement, there are clearly heaps of people willing to provide it.