To judge by Thursday’s events, Mr. Trump has decided that inflammatory attacks on the news media are the best way to position himself for re-election. At the meeting with social media activists, Mr. Trump laid out a strategy of using the media as a foil while going around it to deliver any genuine news.
At times, it seemed, the news itself was less important than the drama of delivering it. Mr. Trump recalled how he electrified the world last March by tweeting that the United States would recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the long-disputed Golan Heights — a decision that upended decades of American policy.
“I go, ‘Watch this — boom!’” the president said. “I press it, and within two seconds, ‘We have breaking news.’”
Journalists were not the only ones surprised by the announcement. Mr. Pompeo, who was in Israel meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the time, was blindsided by it.
“It’d be a rocket ship when I put out a beauty,” Mr. Trump said of his most incendiary tweets. “Like when I said, remember I said, somebody was spying on me? That thing was like a rocket.” Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to the tweet, early in his administration, when he accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower the month before the 2006 election.
The president spoke of the way the White House used to communicate as if it belonged to another age.
“You know, I used to put out, like, a press release. Right? And people would pick it up, sort of, you know. The next day, two days, they’d find it sitting on a desk,” he explained. “People don’t pick it up. It’s me, same. If I put it on social media, it’s like an explosion. Fox, CNN, crazy, MSNBC.”