That Donald Trump chose to spend the first 48 hours of his presidency feuding with the news media over crowd sizes, crowing about his win in front of a wall of killed CIA agents, spreading inaccurate information and firing off tweets didn’t shock his supporters or critics.
But it showed two likely hallmarks of the Trump administration, according to interviews with people involved in and close to his government.
First, his team will be very combative, even when the facts are not on their side, trusting that their political base dislikes the news media and will believe them no matter what. Sometimes, they are likely to muddy the water or throw a hand grenade into a political debate just to change the headlines.
“What you’re seeing with the press secretary is what the administration is going to do, they are going to challenge the press,” said Rep. Tom Reed, a New York Republican on Trump’s executive committee. “A lot of people in the Beltway forget that the news media doesn’t have much credibility. This is the way he ran his campaign, and it worked.”
And second, when Trump grows angry, he will usually want the strongest response possible, unless he is told no, and that he will often govern or make decisions based off news coverage.
“Most of the people around him are new to him. One of the things they don’t understand about him is he likes pushback. They are not giving him the pushback he needs when he’s giving advice. He’s a strong guy. He’s intimidating to a lot of people,” said Christopher Ruddy, a Trump friend who talks to him often and is the CEO of Newsmax. “If he doesn’t have people who can tell him no, this is not going to go very well.”