Donald Trump voraciously drinks Diet Coke, is addicted to watching news and uses TV to manipulate his own moods, insiders say.
From the moment he wakes up, he uses CNN for news, watches Fox News for comfort, and – they suspect – takes in MSNBC’s Morning Joe to get himself riled up for the day.
To keep himself in a fighting mood he consumes 12 cans of Diet Coke daily, according to some of the 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress that spoke to The New York Times.
And a fighting mood is most certainly what he’s in, they say – because for Donald Trump every day is a new battle against his detractors, both real and imagined, and television is his lifeline to the world.
Trump last month told Air Force One reporters that he was too busy ‘reading documents’ to watch TV and catch up on the Roy Moore scandals.
But according to the New York Times’ sources, he spends his days mainlining TV news from dawn to dusk.
Trump wakes up each day at 5:30am after five-to-six hours of sleep and flips on the TV, usually with his phone to hand in case any tweets occur to him.
Sometimes he’s in bed when he makes these posts, or in the adjoining snug. Occasionally he’ll be in the Treaty Hall, where he sometimes makes his daily calls in his night attire.
Wherever Trump is in the White House, a TV will usually be on somewhere – and per Trump’s rules, only he and technical support staff are allowed to touch them.
As a result the televisions are set up to provide a constant drip-feed of facts and opinion and – importantly, insiders say – headlines about himself.
Trump views his presidency as a day-to-day battle for legitimacy against liberal news channels, insiders said. The TV allows him to remain aware of the battleground.
He even tells staff to view each new day as a new ‘episode’ in a show about him defeating his opponents.
‘He believes passionately that the liberal left and the media are out to destroy him. The way he got here is fighting back and counterpunching,’ Senator Lindsay Graham told the paper.
HOW MUCH CAFFEINE DOES TRUMP DRINK?
Insiders say that Donald Trump drinks 12 cans of Diet Coke a day.
According to the Coca-Cola company, each 12oz can of Diet Coke contains 42mgs of caffeine.
That means Trump drinks 504mgs of caffeine a day – that’s 104mgs more than the daily recommended dose for adults, according to Mayo Clinic.
Drinking too much caffeine can cause a range of side-effects, including insomnia, nervousness, irritability, restlessness and muscle tremors.
The likeliness of an elderly person suffering negative effects is pronounced at doses of more than 200mgs, according to a 1998 study – although it affects individuals differently.
So for Trump, continual access to the news is essential. He watches TV for four hours a day, aides said, and sometimes double that, volume on or off.
For Trump CNN is the primary source of actual information, with Fox News – specifically Fox & Friends – providing comfort food.
Actual comfort food comes in the form of his regular supply of Diet Coke, brought to him by aides at the touch of a button.
Trump drinks 12 cans a day – consuming far more than an adult’s daily recommended dose of caffeine.
Aides are so familiar with his routines, they use his morning TV tweets to gauge how he’ll be on any day.
If a Fox News anchor says something noteworthy and Trump doesn’t tweet it, they’ll know he’s watching CNN or MSNBC – and so is likely to be grumpy and agitated.
Anything Trump misses, he catches up with on what he calls his ‘Super TiVO’, which records cable news.
Trump’s compulsion to watch TV is so strong that when meetings are held in the White House dining room, the 60-inch TV he had installed there when he moved in remains on constantly.
The volume is off, sources said, but the president’s eyes will keep flicking away so he can take in the scrolling news tickers.
The result of this is a president whose actions and reactions are governed by the media and its messages.
When Michael Flynn, former adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about talking to Russia, Trump was cheerful the next day, at Republican fund-raisers, the insiders said.
It was only after the rolling news coverage about the Flynn plea that Trump became angry and began attacking Hillary Clinton on Twitter in response.
According to The New York Times, in November Trump was sent a list of questions about claims made in this article for fact-checking purposes.
Shortly afterward, the paper said, he accosted the White House press pool on Air Force one and began boasting of how little he watches TV.
‘Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television,’ he said.
‘I know they like to say that. People that don’t know me, they like to say I watch television – people with fake sources. You know, fake reporters, fake sources.’
‘But I don’t get to watch much television. Primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents. A lot. And different things. I actually read much more – I read you people much more than I watch television.