Sean Hannity is effectively running Trump's White House behind the scenes, pulling the strings to get the people and policy he wants.
A new report at the New Yorker reveals new details about how multimillionaire Fox News host Sean Hannity has been operating as Trump's secret "West Wing adviser."
Hannity speaks with Trump on the telephone "virtually every night" after his show ends at 10 p.m. each weeknight, the New Yorker notes, which has led White House advisers to call Hannity the "shadow chief of staff."
A Republican political expert who has a paid Fox News contract told the New Yorker that Hannity, supposedly a journalist, is effectively a "West Wing adviser" — and that this improper role has come about thanks to the "utter breakdown of any normal decision-making in the White House."
"The place has gone off the rails. There is no ordinary policy-development system," the adviser explained. As a result, Fox is "filling the vacuum" in the White House, where Trump has struggled to fill positions and retain staff thanks to his abysmal management failures.
The New Yorker reports that critical hiring decisions at the Trump White House are also being influenced by Hannity.
Trump's current communications director and deputy chief of staff, former Fox News executive Bill Shine, was hired shortly after Hannity acted as the "matchmaker" between Trump and Shine by arranging a dinner with the two men at the White House.
Shine was a key figure in the multi-decade coverup of sexual abuse by Fox News founder and president Roger Ailes. He was also a producer on Hannity's Fox News show for years.
Hannity — who reportedly earned $36 million in 2018 alone for his sycophantic pro-Trump propaganda — has been criticized even by some of his Fox colleagues for violating basic ethical standards of journalism in his obvious support of Trump, and for appearing to have undue influence on Trump's policy decisions.
For instance, Trump's wildly unpopular decision to shut down the federal government over a racist border wall was in large part fueled by Hannity and his fellow Fox News cohorts urging Trump to do so. Most Americans railed against the unnecessary move, but Trump catered to Hannity while American families and businesses suffered.
As Hannity has been whispering in Trump's ear, steering policy and personnel decisions, he also stands to benefit from policies Trump has pushed — notably the Republican Party's tax scam. The law was written in private to benefit ultra-wealthy people like Hannity.
Hannity and Trump are so close that they even shared a lawyer for years. Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen also worked for Hannity, helping him to amass his gigantic portfolio of 870 homes across 7 states worth at least $90 million.
Cohen has now revealed how he worked at Trump's direction to violate the law. It is unclear what involvement Hannity had in such affairs, if any — but he has gotten himself involved recently by publicly claiming that he knows Cohen is lying, which might get him subpoenaed by Congress as a witness.
Like Trump, Hannity has stoked racism and racial animosity using his public platform. He smeared the Black Lives Matter movement, which fights for racial justice and opposes police brutality, as a "racist group threatening" to "kill white people," and even compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan.
As part of his years of smears against President Barack Obama, Hannity even falsely claimed that a 1985 thesis from First Lady Michelle Obama meant she had a "race problem."
Hannity has also repeatedly used his show to defend Trump's racist outbursts. He defended Trump when he said a judge was biased because of his Mexican heritage, and supported Trump's smears of Khizr Khan, the Muslim father of a fallen soldier.
And now it is clearer than ever that, through Sean Hannity, the network also runs Trump's White House.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.