The person who is mostly closely linked with U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter is Daniel Scavino Jr. (43), the White House Director of Social Media and Assistant to the President. The White House Director of Social Media is a new position that was instated for the first time since President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. The top leader’ words equal power. Perhaps for this reason, Scavino Jr., who is a channel for the president’s public messaging, is considered one of the most influential power elites, who not only manages President Trump’s social media accounts but is also deeply involved in decision making by the U.S. administration..
Scavino Jr. was born to an Italian immigrant in New York in 1976. While serving as a part-time caddie at a golf course at the age of 16 in 1992, he met with Trump for the first time. He majored in communications at the State University of New York Plattsburgh, and worked for Coca Cola, before serving as a manager at Trump National Golf Club from 2004.
During President Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, he was in charge of social media strategy for the then Republican candidate, before winning recognition for his contributions and being appointed to the new post of White House Director of Social Media. U.S. political magazine Politico reported that President Trump so strongly trusts Scavino Jr. that the president even seeks his advice on key policies including U.S. sanctions against Iran, deployment of U.S. troops to the Middle East, and immigration.
When President Trump announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria in December last year, several U.S. congressmen who were visiting the White House told President Trump, “There is serious vacuum in national security.” Then, the U.S. president immediately instructed his staff to “call Scavino Jr.” Scavino Jr. demonstrated his true value at the gathering. Showing positive comments on the withdrawal of troops from Syria posted on social media channels, he reportedly countered the congressmen who were opposed to the withdrawal of troops, on the president’s behalf. Politico noted that “It was a moment that Scavino Jr. caused (the president) to make national policy through “Twitter reaction” rather than “geopolitical strategy.” President Trump also has often said at unofficial meetings, “I often ask Scavino Jr. for his opinion. He is armed with common sense and gives seasoned views.”
Due to the president’s robust trust in him, Scavino Jr. is reportedly visiting the Oval Office at least six times daily. The New York Times reported that other presidential aides often inquire Scavino Jr. about the president’s mood. He is one of the few original White House members who are still staying put in the White House, about two years and five months after the inauguration of the Trump administration. He earns an annual salary of 179,000 U.S. dollars, which is among the highest among the 120 White House employees.
People have widely mixed opinions about him. Some people make positive assessment of him, saying that he is nicely connecting the president with his supporters through social media. However, critics say that he only provides information that the president would love to hear, thus blinding the president, just as evidenced by the episode regarding the ‘withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.’
Politico predicts that despite such controversy, Scavino Jr. will most likely play a key role in President Trump’s election camp again next year. More than anything, he is reportedly building up the president’s trust due to his reclusive behaviors of avoiding power struggle within the White House, and keeping a certain distance from the media, unlike other presidential aides.