Profile: Dan Scavino, “the Secretary of Offense”, White House social media director, the man behind Trump’s Twitter account.
One of Scavino’s main roles is the care and feeding of his boss’s ego. He has learned how to fend off any negativity with a ready supply of superlatives. While Hope Hicks would inform Trump about how some matter might be playing in the mainstream media, Scavino, Hicks told me, would “tell him how things are playing with his people. That’s a gauge for him that the president takes seriously.” Checking in with the base is as easy as looking at his phone. Scavino’s old friend offered an example: “Dan would scroll through his Twitter feed and if Franklin Graham says something particularly complimentary, he’ll say, ‘Look what Franklin Graham just wrote.’ Or if [CNN show host] Brian Stelter says something particularly stupid, he’ll run over and say, ‘Look what Fake News is doing.’ ”
The full extent of Scavino’s role in Trump’s Twitter regimen has never been fully disclosed. White House officials initially maintained to me that he only typed and posted verbatim what Trump dictated to him, while occasionally contributing anodyne tweets relating to the president’s schedule. (“News conference at the White House concerning the Omnibus Spending Bill. 1:00 P.M.”) Somewhat begrudgingly, one senior official did not deny that Scavino also sometimes corrected Trump’s spelling errors.
Evidence of Scavino’s active participation in Trump’s tweets emerged last autumn. On the morning of Oct. 4, Scavino posted to his own account one of the social media director’s usual rants against the media: “NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!” One minute later, the identical message was posted on his boss’s account as an original Trump tweet. Scavino hastily deleted his first tweet, but not before eagle-eyed users took screen shots.
On a recent Monday in late March, I dropped by the West Wing to have one last in-person visit with some of Scavino’s colleagues and hopefully catch a glimpse of the social media director. The evening before, Yashar Ali of The Huffington Post had broken the news that Scavino’s wife, Jennifer, had filed for divorce several weeks earlier. I had heard rumors of the split from a former White House staff member who, while praising Scavino’s crazed work ethic and fealty to Trump, casually added, “By the way, it also destroyed his marriage.” Scavino had long struggled to balance his ambitions with caring for his wife, who suffers from chronic Lyme disease. That day in the West Wing, he was nowhere to be seen by the time I arrived. Scavino had boarded Air Force One with Trump and flown to Manchester to capture images of the president somberly proposing the death penalty for opioid dealers.
Perspective: Scavino makes $179k/year of taxpayer money to tweet and go on KFC runs. What an administration!