CBS News’ John Dickerson asked New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who has become chronicler-in-chief of the Donald Trump era, “How long has Donald Trump been in your head, or have you been to him?”
“At least 11 years for this level of intensity,” she replied.
“And what’s it like to have Donald Trump on his mind, or part of his thinking, for 11 years?”
“An old friend of mine told me, ‘That doesn’t heal with time.’ And I think collectively we’ve experienced it at various points.”
Haberman has been covering Trump as a subway reporter for New York’s tabloids since the late 1990s. He had 599 bylines or co-bylines in The Times in 2016 alone – more than one a day – and that pace has only slowed slightly over the years.
Now, she has written a book about him: “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America” (published Tuesday by Penguin Press).
Dickerson asked, “I want to read from something you wrote: ‘To be fully attuned to Donald Trump, the presidency and his political future, people need to know where he comes from. ” what do you mean, Where does he come from?,
“New York in the 1960s, the ’70s, the ’80s, was a very unique setting,” Haberman said, “because of this combination of unfortunate and sometimes corrupt forces that touched the media, Which touched on City Hall, which touched on the political party systems in various cities, how it carried out real estate projects, and what touched on racial tribalism, John, and what he took from his life in New York. is a big part.
The current incarnation of that racial tribalism is reflected in some of Haberman’s scoops about Trump’s presidency years. Like other books from the Trump era, “Confidence Man” has drawn attention for new revelations: Trump fired his son-in-law, and engaged in casual transphobia. But Haberman’s larger goal is to put the scoop on the book and its Times coverage to chart 50 years of static, unchanging DNA in the archeological framework.
She said, “Donald Trump is generally the same depending on the context. And he treated the White House as if he were still in a real estate office dealing with local county leaders, as if it was still 1980.” was.”
“What are the elements in the Donald Trump playbook that he has lived through his entire life?” asked Dickerson.
“He has a few tricks that he’s used forever. And people apply a ton of tactics to what they’re doing. But really, these are tricks. And that’s the quick lie, it’s one ally versus the other. With there’s backbiting, it’s someone else to blame. It’s all, again, about creating a sense of drama, a sense of chaos, and often, John, about keeping responsibility away.”
Haberman’s reporting has upset and embarrassed Trump. Still, he agreed to sit with her three times last summer.
Dickerson asked, “Are you surprised that he spoke to you for your book?”
“No, he talked to everyone about their books,” he replied. “It’s almost an obvious need to sell yourself.”
“He said at one point to someone else, but with you in his presence, [that] You were like his psychiatrist?”
“He treats everyone like they’re his psychiatrist. It’s nothing typical to me. That’s what he does. He works everything out in real time with everyone.”
Haberman provided new details about Trump’s refusal to accept defeat in 2020, citing sources who heard Trump say, “We’re never leaving.”
Dickerson asked, “Was Donald Trump’s reluctance to step down, part of the playbook that developed so many years ago, or is it something new?”
“It was both,” she said. “It was part of his theme, believing that everything was going to work out for him, as it always was. Whether it was his father helping him navigate the system or helping him financially Be it, or the elected officials standing in line for him, he always believed that things would work out. And after November 3, 2020, it became clear with each passing day that he was No was going to happen, and he didn’t know how to handle it.”
When he left the White House, he was not empty-handed, as FBI agents found in that search of his Florida home.
“When Donald Trump referred to things in the White House as his property, he had a long history of doing so,” Dickerson said. “So do you think that’s why he took those confidential documents?”
“I really do. I think it’s also possible that he took them for some other reason, and we don’t know what that is. He looks at everything in terms of leverage, whether it’s an edge over someone else He definitely likes trophies.”
Trump is facing a legal crisis in several jurisdictions:, , , and then Where he is mostly hiding these days.
Dickerson asked, “You write that when you saw him after leaving the White House, he looked shrunken?”
“In one interview, he had very clearly lost weight, and so he was definitely physically shrunken, but he just looked less,” Haberman said. “And what I discovered during the last year when I was talking to people is that he almost became a Charles Foster Kane-like figure walking around his club and being present in his world and being It was there to remind me that when the holidays were, someone was completely out of the rhythm of normal daily life.”
“What do you think will happen again?”
“With the caveat that I don’t know and I can be proven wrong, I think he has put himself in a corner where he has to run,” Haberman said. “I think he needs the protection that running for president (he thinks) will help him counter the investigation he calls ‘witch hunt.’ And that’s the way he does fundraising. And makes money. Now his identity is all about being a politician. So, I hope he will run. It doesn’t mean that even if he announces the candidature, that he will remain full time.”
Whether he runs or not, Trump has made his mark on the GOP, whose national party dubbed the January 6 riots “legitimate discourse” and where a third of the Republican candidates running for election in 2022 admitted their lie that The election of 2020 was stolen.
“Have they essentially transferred the skills of the New York real estate world to a political party, weird as it is?” asked Dickerson.
“How have they transferred He New York sees the real estate industry in the Republican Party,” Haberman replied, “and not just the New York real estate industry, but the New York political system. We’ve seen it in ways that are clear with the Republican Party in terms of comments made at rallies, and we’ve seen it in subtle ways in how candidates treat journalists or how they deal with a basic set of facts. joins.
“Not everyone has reacted to some form of emulation of Donald Trump, but most of them have.”
Haberman writes that Trump told him how easy his life would be if he had never run for president. And he looked back not at what he had achieved, but what the presidency meant for Donald Trump.
Dickerson said, “When Donald Trump asked himself in your presence ‘If I had to do it again,’ what did he say?”
“The answer to what he said is yes,” replied Haberman, “because the way he looks at it, he has a lot of rich friends and nobody knows who they are. And it was very clear that he took the presidency. Seen as the ultimate vehicle for fame.”
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Story produced by Alan Goulds. Editor: Ed Givnish.