December 4, 2016 8:58 pm -

It involves having intelligence briefings about the person you’re going to speak to, and reading–two things Trump doesn’t care to do.

Though Trump is a highly unusual president-elect — having never held elected office — there’s a normal procedure in place for these types of phone calls since Rutherford B. Hayes first installed a telephone in the White House in 1877. Everything is meticulously planned to leave very little to chance.


When President Barack Obama calls other world leaders, for instance, his aides bring him a National Security Council dossier that contains a complete intelligence portrait of the person with whom he’s about to get on the phone. The dossier includes everything from the leader’s personality and health to information about their children and spouses — even tidbits like whether the person likes jokes or small talk, Yahoo News reported in 2014.

“The world leader profiles include basic intel, idiosyncrasies, personal political pressures, whether any close relatives are seriously ill, girl- or boyfriend problems, personal health issues,” a senior administration official told Yahoo News at the time.

Immediately following the call, officials from both sides will produce “readouts,” or short summaries designed to drive media coverage.



D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.