The Trump White House has been famously, historically leaky. All manners of aides and associates, it seems, just can’t stop tripping over themselves to anonymously tell reporters stuff about Trump! (For the record, that’s how we’re defining leaks in this context: anything told to a reporter by an anonymous source). A lot of the time, the leaks pertain to issues of grave national security: standoffs with nuclear-powered rogues states, feuds with heads of domestic spy agencies. A lot of the time, though, the leaks are weirdly, aggressively inconsequential. And right now, right here, it’s the dumb ones we’re celebrating. For The FADER's Leak Week, here's 11 good ones from the Trump administration so far.
LEAKED: Trump is very specific about hand towel softness requirements
“Small things can provide him great joy or generate intense irritation,” the Huffington Post reported in February. “He’s registered a complaint about the hand towels aboard Air Force One, [a] White House aide said, because they are not soft enough.”
LEAKED: Trump is reportedly scared of stairs
In January, Jezebel pointed us to two stories of note about Trump’s relationship with the immobile escalator. “The Times of London … reported today that Trump clutched British PM Theresa May’s hand as they walked downhill last week because he was afraid: ‘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’ … in the Washington Post, a source puts forth the strange notion that Trump won’t be spending time in Kellyanne Conway’s office, which is on the second floor of the White House, because he ‘would rarely climb a flight of stairs.’”
LEAKED: Trump has a lil’ Coca-Cola button
Says the AP: “With the push of a red button placed on the Resolute Desk that presidents have used for decades, a White House butler soon arrived with a Coke for the president.”
LEAKED: Trump yells at the TV
The current furor over the firing of FBI head James Comey is certainly not trifling. But the fact that it came about in part because Trump was tired of hearing about the FBI’s Russia investigation on the TV has a nice touch of the absurd to it. According to Politico, in the days before deciding to fire Comey, Trump “had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.”
LEAKED: Trump enjoys early solo bathrobe time
In early February, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, the New York Times’ White House twin towers, blessed us with a Trump administration check-in absolutely rife with anonymously sourced nuggets. Like: “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. 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.”
LEAKED: At least at one point, his aides didn’t know how to turn on some lights in the White House
From the same report: “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.” Pulitzer for Glenn and Maggie, now.
LEAKED: Trump denigrated a nuclear-arms treaty he was theretofore unaware of
According to a Reuters report, Trump and Putin’s first phone conversation touched on some big stuff that the President of America was perhaps unprepared to discuss: “When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was.” Don’t worry, our leader played it extremely cool and good: “Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama Administration."
LEAKED: When Trump is down, his aides try to lift his mood with talk of his administration's extremist immigration policies
In March, the Washington Post dipped their heads “inside Trump’s fury” and found him “rag[ing] at leaks, setbacks and accusations” that had befallen his young presidency. They also uncovered an interesting technique that his underlings have for boosting up the boss man: “That night at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had dinner with [Jeff] Sessions, [Steve] 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.”
LEAKED: When he’s mad, he doesn’t let his friends come to Florida
Trump also has his own way of bettering his moods. A few months back, angry at various aforementioned missteps and seeking a way to express that displeasure, Trump uninvited Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus from coming to Mar-A-Lago. Says ABC, “As Trump was in the air aboard Marine One headed for Air Force One on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, a phone call was made from the West Wing to the team on board the president's plane with a directive to remove Priebus and Bannon from the manifest, sources said. They would not be going to the Sunshine State.”
LEAKED: Trump wasn’t sure if a strong dollar was good or bad
Here’s the Huffington Post, setting the scene for one late-night phone call: “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 … [to] his [since fired] national security adviser 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, perhaps, Trump should ask an economist instead.”
LEAKED: Trump actually used the phrase “bad hombres” in actual diplomatic conversations
"You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump said to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on a phone call in February (according to an AP report of the conversation). “You aren't doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn't, so I just might send them down to take care of it."
Added Politico, “The excerpt of the call did not make clear who exactly Trump considered "bad hombres" — drug cartels, immigrants, or both … it also did not contain Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's response.” Perhaps that response is lost to history; perhaps the stenographer didn’t feel right writing [President Peña Nieto does eye-roll jerk-off-motion] in an official diplomatic transcript.