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What Donald Trump doesn’t understand about Matt Drudge

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Yes, Matt Drudge’s “Drudge Report” is more than just a “link website”. Since Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the late 1990s, the Simplistic Page has served as a sort of front page for the political world – driving heaps of traffic to the sometimes obscure stories (or posts) that Drudge highlights.

And Drudge’s coverage of Trump in the general election was as complimentary as his coverage of Hillary Clinton, long an enemy of Drudge, was negative.

When Trump arrived at the White House, he didn’t forget Drudge: The two met in the Oval Office in early 2017, according to Politico.

All of this makes Trump’s recent attacks on Drudge fascinating.

“Our people have all left Drudge,” Trump tweeted Monday. “It’s a confused MESS, he has no idea what happened. Down 51%. @DRUDGE They love REVOLVER and others.” (It is not known where Trump got the figures on alleged Drudge trafficking, although there is evidence that Drudge’s ability to drive pageviews is declining.) “Drudge did not support me in 2016, and I’ve heard he’s not backing me now, “Trump tweeted earlier this month in a blatant rewrite of history.

That Trump feels betrayed by Drudge, whose site has focused much more on negative news about the president since at least last summer, is obvious to anyone paying attention.

Why he feels betrayed speaks to a fundamental lack of understanding on Trump’s part about what drives Drudge. While there is no doubt that Drudge is a conservative, he is primarily not driven by ideology.

Rather, he’s driven by the story or, to put it more bluntly, the pageviews and referral traffic that he can rack up in any story.

“Matt Drudge is first and foremost a businessman and a brilliant man,” author Matthew Lysiak, who recently wrote a book on Drudge, told Axios in July. “His interest isn’t in political loyalties. It’s in page visits.”

Pumping Trump has been good business for Drudge for several years. And now demolishing the incumbent is a good deal. So that’s what he does.

The point: Trump is a politician and a fully transactional person. Which is why it’s strange that he has a blind spot for the purely transactional nature of Drudge.

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