Trump has previously denied claims that he watches too much television, arguing in a 2017 tweet that he has "very little time for watching T.V."

By Sean Neumann
July 06, 2020 04:53 PM
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President Donald Trump (left) and former National Security Advisor John Bolton at the White House on Aug. 20, 2019
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Former National Security Advisor John Bolton — a onetime top aide to Donald Trump whom the president later mocked as a "creepster" and a "lowlife" after Bolton published a tell-all — suggested this week that Trump may spend more time watching TV than he does in the Oval Office.

Bolton said during an interview with CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday that the president gets his information from a "combination" of television news and people he trusts outside the government.

"Does the president and his thinking get more shaped by television or government advisers?" CBS' Margaret Brennan asked Bolton, who has been giving interviews in recent weeks to promote his memoir The Room Where It Happened, about working in the Trump administration.

"Well, I think it's a combination of television and listening to people outside the government that — that he trusts for one reason or another," Bolton, 71, responded.

He added: "I think that if you could clock the amount of time he [Trump] spent actually in the Oval Office versus the amount of time he spends in the little dining room off the Oval Office with the cable news networks of one form or another on, it would be a very interesting statistic."

Bolton, who left the administration in September, recently told ABC News that he would be "troubled" if Trump won a second term on Nov. 3, where he is likely to face former Vice President Joe Biden.

"We can get over one term — I have absolute confidence, even if it's not the miracle of a conservative Republican being elected in November," Bolton said in June. "Two terms, I'm more troubled about."

Late last month, responding to Bolton's book (which the White House had unsuccessfully tried to block), the president tweeted: "Washed up Creepster John Bolton is a lowlife who should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information."

A White House official previously said Bolton's book did not contain classified info, though that position was reversed as the administration fought its publication.

It's no secret that Trump, 74, consumes a lot of cable news while at work at the White House.

The president often uses Twitter to respond directly to what political pundits and news anchors say about him. In some cases, he tweets in response to what he's watching in the exact moment, tagging a specific program or mentioning a network by name.

Trump has previously denied that he watches too much TV, arguing in a 2017 tweet that he has "very little time for watching T.V."

Still, a 2018 Washington Post analysis found Trump tweeted about Fox & Friends roughly twice per week.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted three times complaining about Fox News, CNN and other media outlets.

From left: President Donald Trump speaks with Fox News in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on May 3.
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President Donald Trump during a virtual town hall hosted by Fox News on May 3, 2020.
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Trump tweeted in mid-May that he was "looking for a new outlet" after he was apparently upset with Fox News coverage about his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Also in June, Trump falsely accused MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough of being a murderer and promoted a baseless conspiracy theory about the long-ago death of an aide in Scarborough's congressional office.

Scarborough responded by saying Trump's accusations were "extraordinarily cruel" and implored the president to stop watching his show.

“It’s not good for you," Scarborough, 57, said during a broadcast after being told, on air, that Trump had sent a tweet calling the host a "psycho."

"I think that might be why you go out and, like — you’re distracted," Scarborough said. "You’re tweeting so much."