Each time Trump diverged from his prepared statement, Gabe Perez, the president’s teleprompter operator, had to hit pause, scroll forward or rewind the comments that had been loaded into the teleprompters. Perez was there to ensure the arrhythmic president could comfortably bounce between freewheeling Trump and teleprompter Trump.

It’s a talent Perez has honed over nearly four years in what some describe as one of the White House’s toughest jobs. Hired by chance after the Trump campaign Googled “teleprompters” and the company he worked for in New York came up, Perez has become the one person Trump trusts to manage his oratory acrobatics, embellishments and ad-libs during even the most scripted appearances.

“It’s like a high-wire act with no safety net,” said Jason Miller, Trump’s former communications strategist.