Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) is embraced by Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of News Corp, during a dinner to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea during WWII onboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum May 4, 2017 in New York.
The White House switchboard keeps a list of “cleared callers” who can be patched directly to President Donald Trump — and those callers include conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch, New York Magazine reported Monday.
The switchboard operators, whose lines are open to the public, refer to this list of a few dozen people close to the president before dialing up him up, the magazine reported.
Beyond Hannity and Murdoch, who controls Fox News and a raft of other media outlets, some of the names on the list reportedly include: Trump’s older sons, Eric and Donald Jr.; Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots; billionaire and Blackstone Group CEO, Stephen Schwarzman; and Trump ally and campaign fundraiser, Tom Barrack.
A White House official told New York Magazine that Fox News’ influence on Trump was exactly equal to the Trump administration officials in the White House itself.
The White House did not provide comment to CNBC.
The disclosure of sections of the list came as part of a broader look into the relationship between Trump and Hannity, who is said to call the president regularly on weeknights after his evening opinion show on Fox.
Hannity, who endorsed Trump in the 2016 campaign and has been one of his staunchest allies ever since, has provided a huge platform for Trump’s associates to amplify the president’s messages. In recent weeks, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had recently joined Trump’s legal team, revealed on Hannity’s program that the president had reimbursed his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment intended to secure porn star Stormy Daniels‘ silence about an alleged affair with Trump.
Trump had previously denied knowledge of Cohen’s payment as part of the nondisclosure agreement she signed in October 2016. Cohen had told The New York Times that the money came from his own pocket, and that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign were involved.
In court proceedings surrounding materials seized from Cohen in federal agents’ raids in April, it was revealed that Hannity was one of Cohen’s clients between 2017 and 2018. Fox News gave Hannity its full support in a statement shortly after the link was made known.