tv Maggie Haberman Interview on Covering President Trump CSPAN April 28, 2018 12:17am-12:28am EDT
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maggie, first, congratulations. extensiven with your coverage of donald trump. it began before he was president. when did you begin reporting on him and where was that? >> i spent 14 years in your cite coverage of donald trump. tabloids for a very long time. working for the tabloids, you invariably covered donald trump in some way. he was omnipresent. he was a spicy quote who would make a story better. very long time. he showed up after 9/11 when he to pitch -- when he wanted to of the revamped version twin towers. i did not see him until he made a huge splash at the conservative political action committee. he was roasted memorably by president obama at the white house correspondents association
dinner in april 2011, shortly after he announced he was not running. i spent a lot of time watching him, covering him, learning about how driven he is by a desire to be taken seriously and that is a lot of what you saw in his desire to run and win in 2016. >> did you take him seriously when he said he would run in 2015? maggie: i took him seriously in 2011 when he was talking about running. when he then announced during sweeps week, when the apprentice was still on the air and he was the star of it or involved in it, that he would not be running for president, once we rolled around to 2015, one of his advisers at the time wanted me to write a story ahead of time saying he was going to declare on that he was running. june 16 i said i would not write it until he actually ran, having gone through that experience before. i did not believe that he would stay in the race. i thought that he would do it
for a while and boost the brand and then bow out. but he did really well. he does not like being perceived as a quitter. by october 2013, i took it seriously. he was leading in the polls. nothing seemed to put a dent in his floor of voters. he stayed around 25% in a very crowded republican primary. be all he needed. i didn't and then i did. >> you have seen the evolution from businessman to candidate and then president. is there any difference? what is the same about donald trump the businessman and donald trump the president? >> almost everything is the same. it's a wonderful question. when he was getting ready to move to washington, there was a question whether he would fully make the move. many of us who had watched him overtime during the campaign, including his own advisors, expected he would find ways to get back to new york city on the weekends. he has not done that.
the traffic would be too much. what he has done is go to mar-a-lago, his florida property. it is the same basic concept. he is a homebody. he is very provincial. he believes his own instinct is the best. who does not like to be educated by anyone, let alone outside advisors. that has been a huge challenge for his aides in the white house, many of whom did not know him prior to him winning the presidency. that is a constant with him and his business. >> in winning this award, the judges said this. you often convey the feeling of being a fly on the wall of the white house. how have you used those 14 years to cover this president? is it strategic for you when you hear something about this president to go back to what you learned those 14 years when you covered him as a businessman? maggie: there are always basic
precepts about donald trump that i try to go back to. one of the things that has been stymieing for people who are learning about him is the assumption that there is some grand plan at play with most of what he does. like this morning when he called in to fox and friends to do in interview, which he has not been doing in a long time. it is something he loves doing. i think he was looking to create tension, i think he was looking to create a new storyline. at the end of the day, he likes doing these interviews. it feels good to him. i think people overthink the degree to which there is a strategy. that is a lot of what informs my thinking. i try to think about how he views the world. it helps interpret a lot of what he does. >> how do you think he views the world? maggie: there is a lot of us versus them. he next a pretty broad assumption people out to get him in some way or another.
he rarely closes the door on anyone. everything is an ongoing deal or negotiation, which is why you can see him fire peoplem but never do it himselfm because he is very confrontation averse. by tweet is not quite the same thing. then he can strike up these relationships with them once they are gone. people never look quite as appealing to donald trump as when they are walking away. >> he has publicly criticized you in the new york times. does that impact your reporting? maggie: no. it is a time-honored tradition. many presidents have done it. many governors and mayors have done it. he may be doing it most explicitly with his own fingers on the twitter keyboard. at the end of the day, he is trying to impact coverage. it doesn't change how we do anything. but it is worth remembering that the new york times, for most of his career as a developer in new york, was a symbol of the elite. who he felt rejected a somebody not from manhattan, from the outer boroughs, that theme of not being taken seriously.
that is why the times looms so large in his imagination. >> the new yorker headline from an interview you did with the publication of must last year, a conversation with maggie haberman, trump's favorite foe. does he treat you differently behind the scenes than he does on twitter? maggie: i would not discuss private conversations in one way or the other. there are a number of times that i have interviewed him and spoken with him and then his presence speaks for itself. >> does he dislike the media, do you think? maggie: no. i think he loves the media. i don't think he understands that a media-devoted government is about. this is for someone for whom the meeting was very transactional, whether it was the tabloids or gossip pages. he is unused to a press corps that is not devoted to the cult of personality.
>> final question on this -- what are your thoughts on winning this award? what does it mean for you? maggie: it is a huge honor. i was really stunned and >> overwhelmed by it. when i saw that they were calling me, my immediate thought was i did not mess up a report recently, so i'm not sure why they are calling me. [laughter] it was very gratifying. it is thrilling and overwhelming to be honored by my peers in this way. i am very grateful. >> your advice for aspiring journalists? maggie: stay off twitter. [laughter] i wish i did more of it myself. that's the main one. >> maggie haberman with the new york times, white house correspondent. congratulations and thank you. maggie: thank you. >> by the way, the other winners for saturday night's dinner include winning the award for the merriman smith award for broadcasting is cnn. honorable mention went to nbc
news. taking home the merriman smith award for print is politico. honorable mention with the washington blade. honorable mention to cbs news. c-span will be covering the dinner saturday live, coverage begins 9:30 p.m. eastern. you can watch it on c-span, c-span.org, or listen along free with that c-span radio app. >> before the correspondents dinner this weekend, we will have live coverage of president trump, holding a rally in michigan. that gets underway at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> sunday night on "afterwards." "the trump white house: changing the rules of the game" author interviewed by liberty consulting. >> he is always very intentioned, bobbing and weaving, counterpunching. it is all an act. forterviewed his top aide
26 years. when she joined the organization, there were only seven other employees. she knew him better than anyone on the business and social side. she said there were two donald trumps, one is the one you see on tv who makes these outrageous comments to get attention for his brand, and even if it creates negative publicity, he still becomes the center of attention every day, both in conversation and for the media, but then there is the other donald trump, the one insiders know, who is just the opposite. he is thoughtful. he listens. he is careful about making decisions. >> watch "afterwards" on c-span2's book tv. >> president trump welcomed german chancellor angela merkel to the white house friday. after meeting in the oval office, the two