[L]ately Drudge has appeared irked by Trump and his White House, frustrated with the president's inability to carry out the ambitious agenda he campaigned on. And he's not being shy about it.
Over the past several weeks, Drudge's website has covered the White House with a more critical eye, more frequently drawing attention to news not exactly flattering to the president. It displayed as a banner headline a story about Trump certifying the Iran nuclear deal, something that Trump had vehemently opposed during the campaign. It has covered stories about the investigation into Russian election meddling with increased intensity, surprising some observers with recent banners about "THE EMAIL" and how "RUSSIANS PASSED DNC DIRT DURING JR. MEET." And, last week, the site took a direct shot at the president's lack of progress with a banner declaring former President Barack Obama to be "LIVING EASY." It linked to a Los Angeles Times story headlined, "Trump set out to uproot Obama's legacy. So far that's failed."Also of note from the report, the Drudge connection to Trump's left wing influencers:
The recent coverage has served as a red flag -- or a flashing siren, if you will -- to those who frequent the Drudge Report. Drudge hasn't turned definitively against Trump yet, and he didn't respond to a request for comment for this story, but according to two people close to him, he is certainly antsy with the rate of progress coming from the White House.
"He's growing impatient," one of the people close to Drudge told CNNMoney. "Drudge takes some credit, I think, for getting Trump elected into the White House and he expected him to follow through on the promises he campaigned on. Look, it's not going well so far. Some of it is, but for the most part it's trouble. Drudge can see that. He's not blind to reality."
The other person close to the reclusive publisher told CNNMoney that it "seems like Matt is starting to get a bit miffed."
"Drudge may have helped Trump win the White House, but he's never beholden to anyone," the person said. "What's gnawing at him now is that Trump is not following through on his campaign promises -- the ideals that helped him win and also brought Drudge's backing."
Drudge hasn't just bathed the president in a sea of positive headlines. He's also been giving advice to Trump and his closest aides.
During the campaign, Drudge frequently spoke with and doled out advice to Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, according to a person familiar with their conversations. The person told CNNMoney that Drudge was one of the first individuals Kushner would call for advice, and that Drudge was more than happy to give it. A spokesperson for the White House did not return multiple requests for comment.
When Trump moved to the White House, Drudge continued to try to steer the president and his administration. A senior administration official told CNNMoney that Drudge has continued to speak frequently with Kushner and has visited the White House several times. A separate person close to Drudge said he's met with the president and spent time with Ivanka Trump...
"I know that he talks to a lot of people in the White House and he is very well listened to," said another person who is close to Drudge. "If the visitor logs had come out, nobody would be surprised that he is a regular visitor."
Which should make it all the more troublesome for the White House that the tone of the coverage on his website has seemed to shift in recent days. Drudge has been an unabashed Trump supporter. But he wants to see results.
And then there is this:
"Drudge smells smoke and maybe sees some fire and he is trying to figure out this: Does he put the fire out? Can the fire be put out? Or does he put himself in the position to pour kerosene on the fire and take advantage of that? So basically, Drudge is trying to figure out if he is the fireman or the arsonist," said conservative columnist John Ziegler, who was an occasional guest host on Drudge's old radio show, though they were not very close. "He hasn't figured out what the end game is."-RW