NEW YORK (Reuters) – A day that began with President Donald Trump spending an hour on television palling around with estranged wife Melania Trump quickly followed with a tweetstorm over a leak on the president’s bizarre dinner with estranged wife Melania Trump.
The internet took note.
“Bad. They called it #covfefe,” wrote one social media user, referring to the Trump team’s widely debunked misspelling of the president’s first capital flourish, made after getting his start in business and thriving in politics.
Beyond the tweets itself, the media’s response reflected the lingering memory of the chaotic world of the new president, who got the White House media criticism it did after his Friday evening tweet at 12:18 a.m. PDT and another the next morning.
The non-stop coverage of Trump’s town hall moderated by radio talk show host Laura Ingraham generated just 16 million cable news viewers, the smallest crowd for the White House event since former President Barack Obama was able to host two forums a year for the duration of his administration.
The last time Trump hosted one of his evening series was in September 2016. A later round of town hall events seemed to reverse that trend.
The internet buzz came just one day after the White House said it found no evidence to support reports that Melania Trump and her husband were feuding during their early days in the White House.
In particular, they were pointedly missing a story about the day, August 3, that showed Trump snatching Melania Trump’s hand as she comforted a crying crying daughter.
For both sides of the media and government, a quiet tantrum over anything that appears to be related to Melania Trump may fit neatly into a pattern of what Washington insiders describe as a relaxed, unfiltered relationship.
“We were lulled to sleep and pretty much made up as we went along,” said one official with an outside firm that tracks Trump, referring to a chaotic White House in the days immediately after the 2016 election.
The years-long roll call of grievances from the White House on Wednesday also included issues that could fill a previously unfiltered presidential Twitter account.
Ivanka Trump, vice president for international affairs, chided “fake news” for pushing “fake stories about her having a conflict of interest.” Trump later said that she was referring to fake news stemming from outlets such as Washington Post.
Trump’s decision not to respond to a variety of accusations of sexual harassment and abuse that have been leveled at his female advisers has angered several women, including former political aide Stormy Daniels and writer Jodi Kantor.
Both women have denied any sexual misconduct, but have taken issue with what they say is a pattern by the White House staff not to respond to their allegations.
Ivanka Trump had joined her father on Twitter on Wednesday, but did not say whether she was withdrawing her support from his presidency, though she has been the most vocal one of the former first daughter and his top adviser in pushing back against leaks.
Lawyer Gloria Allred met with Trump’s daughter Ivanka to express her “distress” over her father’s behavior, People magazine reported. “All the people asked her are not going to be used against her, and that she will not be manipulated or taken advantage of by the White House,” she told the magazine.“It is very hard for people to work for the president,” said former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican. “There is a very thin veil of credibility between them. There is no trust.”