The latest round of White House staff shake-up stories has prompted a change in how President Trump's team handles the media, shifting away from engaging in issue debates with reporters to a blunt yes-no approach.
Insiders said it is driven by Trump who was angered by a New York Times story predicting a staff shake-up that included dumping spokesman Sean Spicer. It was headlined: Looking Like a Liar or a Fool: What It Means to Work for Trump.
"Fuck the New York Times," Trump said. "They're not our friends. We're never going to win them over," he added, according to a Trump insider.
The change was most notably seen in Spicer's latest White House briefings. Where he used to battle with reporters, he shifted to saying little beyond policy statements. For example, in a short eight-minute Air Force One gaggle, he referred to earlier statements six times.
The goal "is to get across to the public that the media are assholes," the insider said.
Spicer did not comment on the president's first foreign trip.
There are also reports that the White House is considering trimming back on daily briefings, but more as a move to get tough with the media not because they are gun-shy.
Past administrations have skipped some daily briefings, especially on Fridays and Mondays, and always on days the president or top White House aides hold press conferences.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com