President Trump's aides consider some of his early morning tweets an "amazing distraction" that has them scrambling to respond and prefer him to pick one of several tweets they offer up for the president's three Twitter accounts, according to the former White House communications director.
Mike Dubke, whose resignation paved for the short tenure of Anthony Scaramucci, told Georgetown University students Tuesday night that the president doesn't write all of his tweets, though he "has a very good handle on how to abbreviate into 140 characters."
Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2017
At an event hosted by the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown's McCourt School, Dubke said, "The president writes a good number of his tweets, but some of them are also suggested tweets."
He said the staff typically writes the tweets for the official @WhiteHouse and @POTUS accounts, but that Trump does many of his @realDonaldTrump account tweets, especially those before 8 a.m.
"@realDonaldTrump, which are the ones that generally [get] most of the attention, those are also sometimes written from, there are suggestions," Dubke said. "As an example, our team would send three sample tweets for consideration at one of the handles, kind of a mild, medium, and hot tweet. I won't tell you which ones usually made it through, but that was the way we handled it. We'd offer three tweets and a lot of times that's what you see more so during the kind of working hours," he added.
But sometimes Trump's tweets written without the knowledge of his staff would cause a stir, he said at the event that also included former Obama Communications Director Jen Psaki and was emceed by C-SPAN's Steve Scully.
"One of the things we had to deal with is one of his tweets would change the entire narrative on cable news," said Dubke, adding, "A single tweet would then dictate what the programming was for the next hour and a half on cable news, which was an amazing power but also an amazing distraction."
They also impacted daily meetings. When asked by Scully to describe those 7 a.m. gatherings, Dubke said, "We had to deal with all of the things that you outlined in terms of what our message of the day would be, message of the week, etc., etc., etc., what pieces of legislation, what bill signings were happening, what executive orders were going out, in addition to having to react to a tweet that might not have been vetted through any channels before it went out."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org