White House aides reportedly blindsided by 'embarrassing' Trump interview

  • White House aides were mortified by President Donald Trump’s wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, which one staffer called “embarrassing.”
  • Trump was alone with a Times reporter for the interview Thursday at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
  • The president’s comments in that 30-minute sit-down – hitting on the Russia investigation, his legislative achievements, plus domestic and world affairs – dominated headlines Friday, to the chagrin of his staff back in Washington.

White House aides were mortified by President Donald Trump’s 30-minute interview with The New York Times, the contents of which dominated headlines all day Friday.

The interview published on Thursday hit on some familiar topics for Trump: the ongoing Russia investigation, his legislative achievements, and some domestic and world affairs.

The president was largely unfiltered in the one-on-one with The Times, to the chagrin of his staffers back in Washington who were reportedly caught off-guard by both the interview itself, and Trump’s musings with a reporter who was invited to speak with the president by one of Trump’s close confidants, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy.

According to The Washington Post, the encounter rattled Trump’s White House aides, who were not present for the interview; a lapse known to cause ripple-effects due to Trump’s tendency to speak off-the-cuff in a way that invariably captures headlines worldwide.

By all accounts, White House chief of staff John Kelly has put in considerable effort to moderate access to Trump and filter the information he consumes, which is why Trump’s interview with The Times reportedly sent some Oval Office staff scrambling.

The Post’s Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey reported that Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, got on the phone once she received word of the president’s sit-down with The Times to “check in on the interview from afar.” Another aide The Post described as “frustrated” called the interview “embarrassing.”

Trump frequently mingles with guests when visiting his private properties like Mar-a-Lago in Florida. And after a year in office, that is still a thorn in the side of those charged with monitoring the interactions of a president who is easily influenced by outside feedback.

An unnamed former White House staffer told The Post: “At Mar-a-Lago, anyone who can get within eyesight changes the game.”

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