Although paparazzi flare-ups aren’t unheard-of in Washington (just ask Dick Morris, Monica Lewinsky and Hope Hicks), this sustained stakeout is very TMZ for the land of C-Span.
So why, two years in, is The Daily Mail still so invested in Ms. Trump, even as some polls find that her approval numbers have sunk, particularly among the millennial American women who make up a key demographic for the Daily Mail website?
Maybe the tabloid, which is besotted with Meghan Markle, thinks it has locked onto the closest thing Americans have to a princess. Centuries after the break from the Crown, is The Daily Mail tapping into a strand of Yankee D.N.A. that yearns for erstwhile royalty?
Whatever the reason, Ms. Trump seems to be getting good ratings — to put it in Trumpian terms.
The Daily Mail did not return requests for comment, but former staffers said it was part of a strategy to boost web traffic. The Daily Mail was founded in 1896 and its print paper remains focused on British readers. Its website (officially known as the Mail Online), however, was started in 2003 and, according to comScore, within a decade became one of the most highly trafficked news sites worldwide, thanks in part to a cascade of celebrity click bait and lurid crime stories.
Former staffers attested to Ms. Trump as a traffic driver, with clicks coming primarily from the United States. “It’s a classic Daily Mail guilty pleasure,” said Taylor Lorenz, the former head of social media for The Daily Mail, about the nonstop coverage of Ms. Trump’s comings and goings. “If those posts weren’t doing well, they wouldn’t be running them.”
Mr. D’Agostino had another theory. “The Daily Mail has carved out a niche,” he said, speculating that the real value of his photos was to feed the maw of search engines and the 24-hour news cycle, “so that if you’re looking for a story about Jared and Ivanka, you’re going to end up on The Daily Mail.”