White House officials were reportedly concerned that President Donald Trump would use TIME’s annual list of the 100 most influential people to determine favorites within his inner circle, according to a Politico Magazine report published on Sunday.
White House officials were reportedly concerned about potential fallout if advisers like Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and Jared Kushner were included on the list, but key White House policy influencers like Vice President Mike Pence and chief of staff Reince Priebus were not.
The final list included Bannon, Kushner, and Priebus, though it did not include Pence. Also on the list was Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who recently became an unpaid member of Trump’s staff and got her own West Wing office, as well as Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Trump himself was also included on the list.
Officials were concerned that instead of writing the list off as “fake news,” the president would “take it as a blueprint for governing, and give short shrift going forward to top aides who did not make the cut,” the report said.
Trump has demonstrated a tendency to play his top aides off against one another to see who comes out on top.
“Trump’s history is he doesn’t like everyone agreeing all the time and he doesn’t like unanimity. He doesn’t even like consensus,” NewsMax CEO and Trump confidant Chris Ruddy told Politico in January. “He likes the competing argument to be made and a real fight for what is the best idea to come out.”
This has become evident recently, as Trump loyalist Steve Bannon’s influence in the president’s inner circle has reportedly waned over the last few weeks, amidst reports of infighting between the embattled chief strategist and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner; a number of botched White House rollouts that Bannon played a primary role in, like the travel ban and the American Health Care Act; and Bannon’s removal from his post on the National Security Council.
The president has long enjoyed a love-hate relationship with the press, and the Politico report said that although Trump has often ridiculed the press in public and called it the “enemy of the American people,” the president and his staffers enjoy a less contentious relationship with the media behind closed doors.
Officials’ concerns over the TIME 100 list apparently came on the heels of the president’s and Sean Spicer’s public ridicule of Zeke Miller, a TIME reporter who had mistakenly reported – and then quickly corrected – that Trump had removed a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office. Spicer laid into Miller during a White House press briefing, calling his report “deliberately false reporting,” and the president continued to bash Miller during a Black History Month luncheon two weeks later, as well as during a visit to the CIA headquarters.