If you’ve been paying attention to politics at all over the past few years, you know that President Donald Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity have quite the bromance. Hannity has steadfastly defended the president on nearly every issue, and the president has also let the world know how much he loves and respects Hannity.
Much to the horror of his White House staff, Trump has been known to fly off the rails, using “facts” from Hannity to make his point — even when those statements have been lightyears away from the truth. Still, despite the men’s public affection for each other, Hannity and the president might be even closer than we initially suspected.
While most of America watched in utter shock when Trump was elected President of the United States in November 2016, we should have really seen this coming. On the heels of Barack Obama being elected as Commander-in-Chief, many were ready to rebel and conservative media encouraged them to do so.
Hannity was one of Obama’s biggest adversaries, and his constant dismissal of the then-president helped embolden Trump and his supporters. The Washington Post reports, “Hannity speaks the president’s language and reinforces his instincts to be himself and punch back against political opponents.”
Next: Their very messy mutual friend
Sharing a lawyer
Apparently, Hannity and Trump shared more than just a high opinion of one another. Michael Cohen acted as both men’s legal advisor. Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer, but the spotlight turned on him when news about the Stormy Daniel’s payment broke. We also learned that Hannity was a secret client of Cohen’s.
When it was revealed that Hannity was the mystery third client that Cohen was trying to keep secret. Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, who was in the room, said it was like ‘a bomb went off.’ Hannity, for his part, has been nonchalant about the entire ordeal saying, ‘Cohen never represented me in any legal matter. I never retained his services … I never paid Michael Cohen for legal fees.’
Still, we have a feeling that there is more to this story, especially since Hannity and Trump continue to have each other’s backs.
Next: This is the real reason Trump is obsessed with Fox News
Friends at Fox
Trump’s relationship with Hannity grew stronger after a ploy by then–chief of staff Reince Priebus and then–press secretary Sean Spicer backfired. The two men realized Trump had become obsessed with hate-watching shows on MSNBC and CNN and sending off tweets of rage.
To calm him, they steered him towards Fox shows only. Unfortunately, that created a different kind of monster. An anonymous White House official explained to NY Mag,
Sometimes on Fox, a lot of stories are embellished, and they don’t necessarily cover the big news stories of the day. When they cover the smaller stories, if that gets the president riled up, then that becomes an issue. Whenever he tweets, all of us do a mad dash or mad scramble to find out as much information about that random topic as possible. We’re used to it in a lot of ways, so it’s part of our morning routine.
Surely someone else is hiring.
Next: Hannity is Trump’s go-to guy
An unofficial chief of staff
As Fox News’ golden boy who is raking in millions of dollars from his news show and radio program, Hannity would never leave his top position for a role in the White House. However, that hasn’t stopped him from acting as Trump’s unofficial chief of staff.
A former White House official told NY Mag, “Sean Hannity understands the basic issues of economic nationalism and “America First” foreign policy at a deeper level than the august staff of Jonathan Chait and the f*ckin’ clowns at New York Magazine.”
Why so angry?
Next: A true and loyal friend
Clinging to Hannity
With all of the leaks and the insane amount of turnover in the White House, it’s apparent that Trump doesn’t exactly feel very trusting towards his staff. It’s no wonder then that Hannity has been able to weasel his way into a special relationship with the POTUS.
More than most politicians, Trump abides by the Groucho Marx law of fraternization. He inherently distrusts anyone who chooses to work for him, seeking outside affirmation as often as possible from as vast and varied a group as he can muster — but Hannity is at the center.
“Generally, the feeling is that Sean is the leader of the outside kitchen cabinet,” one White House official said, echoing other staffers (current and removed). I was told by one person that Hannity “fills the political void” left by Steve Bannon.
Next: Their late-night chats
Hannity and Trump’s relationship is actually much closer than we realized. In fact, the two men have late-night pillow talks on a near-daily basis. According to NY Mag, Hannity has a direct line to the President.
NY Mag reports that Hannity usually calls the President around seven in the evening just as Trump leaves the Oval Office. Apparently, their chats begin casually and some days, they even speak multiple times, with “one calling the other to inform him of the latest developments.”
So what does Trump’s staff think about it? The publication writes, “White House staff are aware that the calls happen, thanks to the president entering a room and announcing, ‘I just hung up with Hannity,’ or referring to what Hannity said during their conversations, or even ringing Hannity up from his desk in their presence.”
Next: Making each other feel grand
Buttering each other up
So what exactly do Hannity and Trump spend hours on the phone talking about? It’s probably what you would expect.
An insider revealed to NY Mag, “He and the president alternate between the ‘witch hunt!’ and gabbing like old girlfriends about media gossip and whose show sucks and who’s getting killed in the ratings and who’s winning (Hannity, and therefore Trump) and sports and Kanye West, all of it sprinkled with a staccato f*ck … f*cking … f*cked … f*cker.”
Next: Mental stimulation
Since the men think the entire world is against them, they act as pseudo therapists to one another. NY Mag reports, “The talks may be more important for Trump than for Hannity in a therapeutic sense, even if it’s nearly impossible to accept what we’re seeing from the president reflects any kind of therapy.”
The magazine also revealed the two spoke a few hours before Trump welcomed home the newly freed Americans who’d been held hostage in North Korea and that “he and Hannity told each other how proud they were, how happy the news made them.”
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