Trump Haberman LRB Oct 19, 2022

Trump Haberman LRB Oct 19, 2022

In 2015, Maggie Haberman was offered a scoop: Donald Trump was about to announce his run for president. But he didn't write it for his new employer, The New York Times , because "it was really nonsense." Trump had told reporters that he would run for president by at least 1988, always "retiring earlier when he had to do the really hard work of a candidate."

In 2011, Haberman reported in Politico that Trump was taking "very concrete steps" to become Obama's Republican challenger in 2012. Though he didn't seem like an obvious Republican candidate, he wrote, he "abruptly reversed" his position on abortion. to join the party, and the head of the Southern Baptist Convention had instructed that a "bold New Yorker" was not necessarily unattractive to evangelical voters: Trump was a "celebrity" and "we are still in the age of celebrity." Haberman had followed Trump to New Hampshire, where he had apparently campaigned for the primary; she thought he was real. When he told her that he wasn't actually operating, she was embarrassed.

She came here to assume that he would never put her name on the ballot, why would he? He had "little emotional involvement on most issues"; he knew less about electoral politics than the typical West Wing viewer; he did not prefer to travel or work long hours. Above all, Haberman knew that he was afraid of being a loser and did not yet know that he had found a solution. Coming here four points behind Ted Cruz in his first main round, Trump tweeted that he had indeed been "robbed" of the Iowa caucuses and threatened to sue Cruz for fraud. He didn't mind giving up as long as he never had to admit he had lost.

Haberman caught up soon after, taking Trump's candidacy more seriously than anyone at The New York Times : She felt there was a market for what he was selling. Elisabeth Bmiller, the paper's Washington bureau chief, admitted that until Trump became president, she thought Haberman's accounts of his mistakes were exaggerated: he really couldn't be "impulsive enough not to understand the workings of the presidency without a real ideology. .

No other reporter would pay special attention to Trump during the election, his presidency and, just when Haberman thought he was going to get a break, after the presidency; In interviews, she often admits that she is exhausted. She is, as she likes to say, a "source reporter", not an investigative reporter - people call her to burn their reputation or burn a colleague. It has helped him that the New York Times is the newspaper that Trump respects the most, while at the same time pretending to publish it with contempt. It also didn't hurt that she had started out at his favorite tabloid, the New York Post : he knew where she was from. Trump was quick to tell his aides that talking to her was like opening up to a psychiatrist (although he was quick to assure them that he had no experience talking to an actual psychiatrist).

Haberman was used as a "blackjack" quite often, he admits. Essentially, it made her the most widely read reporter for The New York Times ; In 2016 alone, it had 599 signatures. His stories were often the premise of other reporters' stories or repeated in television reviews (he was rarely credited). If the Trump featured in her first e-book, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America , seems all too familiar, it's probably because so much of our perception of him was already her.

Haberman's Trump is a person who will say whatever he thinks will get him through the next ten minutes. He has no sense of humor and is not embarrassed. The best I can say about him is that he takes no pleasure in giving people bad information; he would do something else. Instead of studying how the federal government works (or is supposed to work), Trump has "recreated the world that shaped it": his father's mid-century New York: tribal, corrupt. As president, he was surprised that a Democratic congresswoman from the Upper East Side did not accompany him during his first impeachment trial; he had once donated to her campaign. What did you think the money was for?

Haberman has been criticized for relying on the story that White House employees used to find crumpled printed paper in the bathroom, but she says she didn't notice when Trump was at work. What is particularly disheartening is that the meat of Haberman's guide covers Trump's life before he became president, in books by Gwenda Blair and Michael D'Antonio and articles by Wayne Barrett for the Village Voice , long before he Trump ran for office, however, his report was not better recognized by voters before the 2016 election.

By 2022, it shouldn't be any kind of revelation that Trump was never the witty tycoon who posed as The Apprentice. Haberman describes him as a "narcissistic drama-seeker who blankets a fragile ego with an intimidating drive," and nothing in his reporting suggests any other case. But he concludes his guide by stating that "the truth is that, after all, hardly anyone knows him." Hey? Perhaps along the lines of James that no one has "the last word on a human heart". But she has long pleaded that we know Trump all too well now, for all the greatness he will bring us. She is almost certain that she will walk again.


  1. Thank you Clair. I am looking forward to your newest Red Rose Club story.


  2. Amazing how you explain in great detail how you work. I tend to flesh-out my characters first and see where my story takes me, unless I have a paragraph written in the back of my mind…:)


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