One of Donald Trump’s favorite media targets tells how she attained that distinction in this spry look at the 2016 campaign.
NBC News correspondent Tur covered the presidential campaign from the very start, with Trump in her sights for more than 500 grueling days. At the beginning, she writes, she informed the disbelieving hosts of Today that, even after Trump’s opening remark that “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he was polling strongly in bellwether New Hampshire. “Trump wasn’t part of anyone’s plan,” she writes, adding, “for that matter, neither was I.” However, Trump managed to tap into a deep well of resentment and anger among disaffected voters who were content to trade in old notions of truth and decency for Trump’s wild ride. Trump’s own encounters with Tur were just as resentful and angry: he complained that she wouldn’t look at him and was distorting words she was quoting verbatim, and she had a special knack for upsetting him. “His rage didn’t register in the moment,” she writes in a post-mortem of an early encounter. “I thought it was all part of his shtick. The reality show star. But watching his face on-screen, it’s clear Trump isn’t playing.” Still, praise came from the author’s colleagues, and even, on occasion, from Trump himself, who grudgingly allowed that Tur was better than most reporters. In Tennessee, “he tried to introduce me to a crowd…a hand on my shoulder like I was his wife.” Trump’s anger, page after page of it, is discomfiting, and Tur’s reactions to it seem to verge on symptoms of PTSD. Even so, her own back-of-the-envelope analyses are borne out by subsequent events, as when she writes, “Trump is crude, and in his halo of crudeness other people get to be crude as well.”
A thoughtful account of covering what the author rightly calls “the most unlikely, exciting, ugly, trying, and all-around bizarre campaign in American history.”