Former W.H. Communications Director Gives Rare Look Inside Trump’s Oval Office
"As Sean Spicer used to say, I was there for 10 Scaramuccis." That is how the former Trump White House Communications Director, Mike Dubke, described his tenure in the job.
Dubke, a Hamilton College Alumni, joined First News with Keeler in the Morning Friday to promote a speaking engagement at his Alma matter. He will be engaging in debate with former General Counsel, Mark Elias, for the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Elias himself is also a Hamilton College alum.
Though the event is exclusive to the Hamilton College community, WIBX's First News with Keeler in the Morning was able to spend almost thirty minutes in conversation with Mike Dubke. During that conversation, we were given a rare look into an administration and an oval office, that at times is said to be in chaos.
In the wake of the release of Bob Woodward's most recent book, 'Fear: Trump in the White House,' stories began to surface of an out-of-control Trump Administration and even prompted an anonymous op-ed to be written by a senior official in the administration claiming they were "Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration."
WIBX's Bill Keeler asked Dubke specifically what he thought about the Woodward book. Dubke responded by saying there are certain things in the book he knew for a fact were not true.
There is nothing on that desk but a telephone and a little box with a button in it he presses to get his Diet Cokes.
Dubke recounts the portion of the book that mentions an instance where former Trump Economic Advisor, Gary Cohn, pulled an order related to steel tariffs off of the President's desk. Dubke says, "I know that to be untrue because the President is very fastidious about not having any paper on his desk." He went on to say "Next time you watch an interview from the Oval Office, you will notice there is nothing on that desk but a telephone and a little box with a button in it he presses to get his Diet Cokes." Dubke did go on to acknowledge the journalistic credibility of Woodward. He emphasized that what may have happened in the Woodward book, is similar to why people in the Trump Administration leak.
Dubke addressed the issue of leaks in the White House. Dubke admits, "Part of my job was to plug leaks while I was in the White House." Though he never specifically tells us who is a known leaker or if one still exists in the White House, Dubke says they happened. The reason? Dubke says sometimes, it's simply one official trying to get back at another. Dubke talks specifically about his role as Communications Director being in charge of the President's "messages of tomorrow." When the Communications team was working to frame work or policy decision to come out in the future, leaks would sometimes happen and would disturb that message. Dubke says, "When someone puts out our plans or leaks them to the media that's very distracting, but also destructive to our overall goal of crafting a message." Then he has to determine who and why the information was disclosed.
One of the most interesting topics discussed with Mike Dubke was President Trump and his Tweets! Dubke revealed that even though many of Trump's tweets are spontaneous and without any staff review, many are also well thought out. Dubke explains that by using tweets you can bypass some of the flaws of using a traditional press release. Dubke says, "By the end we weren't even putting out press releases unless we had to, because it had to go into the official record." Dubke attributes the power of the President's tweets to the change in strategy.
There were a number of phenomenal stories Dubke shared. He even gave us insight into the staff's reaction to Trump's comments over the Charlottesville riots. Dubke talked about the fact there was frustration following Trump's controversial remarks. He indicated that the purpose of the press conference in which Trump made the remarks was intended to be for economic development, but Trump took things in another direction. Dubke says it's because Trump has a difficult time allowing verbal arguments to just go away. Dubke says, "I would love for him to have just dropped it and stopped talking about it." But, when it comes to a verbal battle President Trump generally has trouble 'letting it go.'
You can listen to our full interview with Mike Dubke in the video below. Interview can be found in between the 47:27 and 1:11:22 mark.