On this episode of Recode Decode, NBC correspondent and MSNBC anchor Katy Tur talks about her new book recounting her time on the Trump campaign trail, “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.”
Kara Swisher and co-host Hilary Rosen take Katy through her journalism career and how she found herself writing about Trump, even though she’s not a political insider.
You can read some of the highlights here, or listen to the entire interview in the audio player below. We’ve also provided a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.
Kara Swisher: Recode Radio presents Recode Decode, coming to from the Vox Media podcast network. Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode. You may know me as the person who taught Donald Trump everything he knows about Twitter, but in my spare time I talk tech. You’re listening to Recode Decode, a podcast about tech and media’s key players, big ideas and how they’re changing the world we live in. You can find more episodes of Recode Decode on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play Music or wherever you listen to your podcast, or just visit recode.net/podcast for more.
Today is November 8th, 2017, which means it’s the one year anniversary of one of the most surprising days in American political history. To commemorate this special occasion, I’m in New York City with my friend Hilary Rosen. She’s a political strategist for SKDKnickerbocker and a political commentator for CNN. Hey, Hilary.
Hilary Rosen: Hey.
KS: How you doing? Hilary and I are doing a bunch of interviews together this month, talking with some really interesting people from the political world. We started last week with the Vice President of Public Policy of Yelp Luther Lowe and Washington, D.C., super lawyer Beth Wilkinson.
As I mentioned, today is the one-year anniversary of the election of 2016, which is why we’re excited to be talking to Katy Tur, an NBC news correspondent and the anchor of MSNBC Live. She’s the author of a new book called “Unbelievable: My Front-Row seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.” What campaign was that, again, Katy?
HR: Welcome to Recode Decode.
Katy Tur: Thanks for having me. Clearly, I’m talking about the George Bush campaign. George Bush Sr.
KS: I wish. We all wish that he was running again. We’re going to get to your book, which is about the Trump campaign and how you got to it, but let’s have a little bit of your background, how you got to cover this in order to write this book. Because you’re not a political journalist, initially.
No, absolutely not. I was a foreign correspondent. I had just moved to London to live a life overseas.
KS: This is for NBC?
Yeah, four years was the minimum of time I was going to be there.
HR: How did you get to NBC?
I got to NBC the good old-fashioned way: Blood, sweat and tears. I was a one-man band in Brooklyn. Then I was a one-man band for The Weather Channel, chasing tornadoes.
KS: Wow, that’s a big job.
Then I weaseled my way into WNBC.
KS: How could you leave that job? That’s like the best ...
Because it paid absolutely nothing. It didn’t pay, period. And I was tired of carrying my own camera. Then I made my way to NBC, and here I am now.
KS: You were in London, and what happened? You were just sitting there ...
So, I’m in London. I’m there for nine months.
KS: You were covering what?
I was covering terrorism, I was covering feature stories. I had just ... did a story about trying to find the devil in the foothills of the Swiss Alps. I covered everything: Plane crashes, whatever came up that happened overseas. I came back to the states to fulfill a Make-A-Wish request, and then also to remind my bosses that I exist, because if things aren’t going to hell overseas, they tend to forget about you.
I am standing around the newsroom, just shooting the shit with some friends, and Donald Trump is in the news. Univision has dropped him, Macy’s has dropped him, NBC’s dropped his pageants. Somebody said, “We need someone to cover this, who can we get?”
KS: This was about the Mexicans ...
This was about after, right after he announced ... This is when he said, “Mexico’s sending rapists over the border.” Bradd Jaffy, who’s a senior producer on “Nightly,” said, “Katy. She’s just here. She’s standing around the newsroom.” So, that’s how I got put on my first Donald Trump ... The candidate story.
HR: So you were still a London bureau person?
I lived in London. Officially. Until April of last year.
HR: They just said, “We’ll send you”?
KS: Is this how these decisions are made? Hilary ...
HR: It is, right? Because then they sent you to New Hampshire to cover an event, and you ended up never leaving the campaign.
Never. I got told that I was being assigned the campaign full-time, but it would be six weeks, tops. It turned out to be 510 days.
HR: At the time, they didn’t think they needed to assign a seasoned political reporter to the campaign because ...
They didn’t want to. There was a lot of pushback from the Washington bureau. Why would we put somebody on this guy? He’s a joke. Nobody is taking him seriously. He’s gonna drop out, this is all for publicity. At the time, even though the Trump campaign was adamant about their desire to stay in the race, but there were questions even within the campaign about how long he was going to do this.
KS: What did you think? What did you ... Were you annoyed?
I thought, “They don’t take me seriously, clearly, if they’re gonna put me on this.” It’s not like they were assigning me to Jeb. But I also thought, “Hey, listen. Sure. Six weeks. New York City. It’s fine. I can go back to London after that.”
But it very quickly turned into something much larger. At first, it didn’t seem like much, because it was just, the first rally I went to was a couple-hundred people around a backyard pool, and he was talking about all his standing ovations. And I’m thinking, “What is this guy doing?” He’s calling me out, telling me I’m not paying attention to him, and I’m thinking, “This is ...”
KS: This is at backyard rallies?
This was the very first rally I ever went to. But quickly after that ...
KS: Can I ask you, did you know him? Because we recently interviewed Maggie Haberman, who had covered him for years and years and years.
No. Even though I worked in New York City, I had never directly covered Donald Trump. Because he was tabloid fodder, he was a reality show TV host. He wasn’t somebody that ... I was covering fires and shootings.
KS: And you were in Brooklyn, right?
I was in New York City, too.
KS: He didn’t have a lot in Brooklyn.
No. I did. I worked for WPIX and WNBC, so I covered the tri-state area for awhile. But he wasn’t a thing, beyond sometimes appearing on Fox News, and talking about birtherism, or being the host of “The Apprentice.” He wasn’t a thing for New York news at the time that I was covering that.
HR: And people in New York didn’t take him seriously.
No one took him seriously.
KS: We’ll get to this, but little footnote in history, he is the only candidate to have won for president, ever, that actually lost his home congressional district. Because the people who knew him best didn’t vote for him.
He’s got a long history here. A long history in this city, and it’s not the most positive history in the city. There are lots of fans of his here, no doubt, but you had years of Jimmy Breslin just calling him out, and calling him, seeing him before anybody else saw him. Seeing him just for just somebody who is a snake oil salesman, essentially. Someone who sells his name more than he sells anything of value.
HR: But that worked for him, and worked for you. You said in the book that you were a political neophyte, covering a political neophyte. And I thought that was really, really instructive. That in essence, you were able to see something in him that traditional political reporters wouldn’t have seen.
KS: Or did you? What was your first impression?
My first impression was, “What is this guy doing?” But it changed, because I did that ... I sat down for an interview with him ... It was very contentious.
Early. This is July 8, 2015. I thought when I sat down that I was a part of his act. This was just what he was doing to get attention for his brand. So I presumed he’d go after me, I presumed he’d try to tear me down. Because I worked for NBC, we dropped his pageant ... It could be a nice piece of revenge for him. But once the interview was over, I quickly realized that he was pretty serious. Because he started screaming at me off-camera, telling me that I would never be president. Mocking me for stumbling.
KS: That he would never be ... Or that you would never be president?
No. That I could never ... Katy Tur could never be president.
HR: What? What?
HR: And you said, “Well, I’m not running.”
I said, “I’m not running.” I said, “I have no plans to run.” In the back of my head, I thought, “Well, neither will you.” But I bit my tongue, because I’m a journalist.
KS: Did you not think he would? Did you see something ... Because one of the things I remember in that time period, is being at a party — Hilary, you might have been there — where all the political reporters were very typical, they were very ensconced in Washington, and they have a certain tone, political reporters do. They were all making fun of him, and I have relatives in other states, and had been to them, and they loved Trump. The Trump they saw was “The Apprentice” Trump, and they liked that Trump.
And I thought, “Oh, I think he may have a shot.” It was really ... Everybody literally yelled at me. “You’re ridiculous, you don’t know politics.” I’m like, “I don’t know, he seems ... I’m a lesbian from San Francisco,and he appeals to me, and I don’t know why ’cause I hate him.” You know what I mean? This is not my candidate.
I think there is something that a lot of people, who even hate him, like about him ... Find him entertaining, find charismatic, find ... That draw you into him. There are reasons that people might say, “You know what? I don’t like the guy; I think he’s crass, I think he’s terrible, but the system doesn’t work. Let’s put something else in there. Why not try something different?”
I was in Arizona in July of 2015, when everybody was saying, “He’s an absolute joke.” 5,000 people showed up and waited to see him in Arizona, in Phoenix. Soon after that, 20,000 people showed up in Mobile, Alabama. Clearly, there was a vast disconnect between what Washington was saying, what New York was feeling, and what people in the country were feeling. I think I was able to recognize that, and I was able to find value in that sooner, because I didn’t have the preconceptions of what you can and cannot do in a political campaign.
I mean, I knew you don’t criticize our veterans, but when I would call the RNC, they would tell me, after the John McCain flap, that there’s no way any Republican voter would stand for that. They would never stand for that. They are not going to vote for him, they are going to force him out of this race. I promise you this. Then I go to these rallies, and there’s thousands of people. They’re saying, “He’s just speaking his mind.” So there was a reality to what was happening on the ground, and then there was this Twilight Zone to what people presumed was happening in the offices in Washington and New York.
KS: How did you communicate that back to headquarters, NBC headquarters in New York?
We had morning conference calls every day. And every day, there would be this controversy, or that controversy, and the whole room would be whipped up, and would give all the reasons why this was the end of Donald Trump.
I remember at first, with a kind of small voice, because who the hell was I ... Then, toward the end of the campaign, in a louder voice, saying, “Guys, you might think this is a giant deal, but I am not seeing that on the road. People do not care. The harder we push at him, the more we shed a light on him, the more we fact-check him, the more we contextualize him; the more they like him. They hate us. They hate us. They don’t believe anything we’re saying. Even if they do, they don’t care. Because they want something different. And that different, that change, is Donald Trump.” I was like the Simpsons’ meme: Old Man Yells at Cloud.
HR: I think — and I encourage everyone listening, if you haven’t gotten this book, to read this book. Because I have read a lot of political campaign books, and this one is really good, it’s really readable. I noticed, just at the outset, that one of the things that was so different about it was that you don’t really focus on the campaign as much. Which is what political strategists like me did all year.
We focused on: He doesn’t seem to have structure, or he doesn’t have an operation, he’s not professionalizing anything. How can he possibly turn this street popularity into a presidential victory? There was just nothing there, except a bunch of rallies. But your book really promotes the voter, that came in contact with him, and the passion he engendered.
I wish that we got more of a chance to talk about the voter on the air for the various broadcasts we do, and I think that’s a major mistake that the media made, the free-press made.
HR: Did you try to do that? Was that ...
I did. I mean, I certainly did. It’s difficult, because you have a minute and 30, minute and 45 seconds to tell an entire story of the day. We have this tendency to want to do the most recent thing.
KS: Whatever crazy thing he says.
Whatever crazy thing happened latest in the day, is what you lead with, so that it’s freshest.
KS: The hot take.
So that people don’t feel like they’re watching old news, and I think that’s kinda misguided.
So we would end up talking about his tweets, or the Republican party reaction or the Democratic party reaction. Or this analyst or that analyst, saying that this was the end. Rather than talking to the voter and trying to find out why they believed in him, and why they thought he was a better option than everybody else, despite all of the various outrageous things that he did.
KS: Talk about that voter. Talk about how you interacted with that voter, and what you thought of them.
I talk about it in the prologue of the book, and ...
KS: Why don’t you read a little bit?
Just this little ... The sense of why they were so upset, why they felt so left out, why they felt like they weren’t being heard. This is how I encapsulate it all ... I’ll just read a portion of the book:
“I’ve learned that none of this matters to an electoral college-majority of American voters.” Talking about all the controversies ... They’ve decided that this menacing, indecent, post-truth landscape is where they want to live for the next four years.
“Look, I get it. You can’t tell a joke without worrying you’ll lose your job. Your 20-something can’t find work. Your town is boarded up, patriotism gets called racism, your food is full of chemicals, your body is full of pills, you call tech-support and reach someone in India. Bills are spiking but your paycheck is not. And you can’t send your kid to school with peanut butter.
“On top of it all, no one seems to care. You feel like you’re screaming at the top of your lungs, in a room full of people wearing earplugs. I get it."
I had just spent nine months out of the country.
KS: In London.
In London. All over the world, really. You turn the television on, you don’t see commercials for pharmaceutical companies ... For pills. You don’t see those overseas. People aren’t screaming at each other overseas. You don’t have a ban on peanut butter. There is a sense of country in a place like France. There’s a sense of country in a place like the U.K., in the various cities that I visited overseas.
And when I came back, and I heard people say, “I just want jobs to go to Americans. I feel like you have to come into this country legal. That is just fair.” I understand that. I understand where that frustration is.
You go to small towns and there’s no charm there any longer. It’s not for lack of trying, it’s just that the young people in those towns have moved on to better opportunities in cities. So, big-box corporations swoop in. There’s not mom-and-pop stores. There doesn’t feel like a future for these areas. You don’t feel good. You don’t feel good.
And call me crazy, but I ... When I’m overseas, I eat whatever I want, I feel fine. I eat here, I eat, and my stomach hurts. There’s something in our food. You don’t feel good in your daily life in this country. I understand why people just felt like they were not being heard. Not paid attention to. They didn’t matter. And they elect these politicians ... They might like their local politicians, but they go to Washington, and suddenly nothing gets done.
They become creatures of Washington, and they’re just fighting, and everyone takes their sides, and I can see why someone like Donald Trump, who refuses to back down, refuses to apologize ...
KS: Well, he’s them.
Refuses to play by the rules, can be appealing. Because at the very least, he’s somebody who’s not an ideologue ... Hey, he won’t care about this certain thing, he won’t care about that certain thing; he is just going to get things done. He is going to make a deal, he’s going to shake Washington into working again. I understood that feeling, even for those who didn’t find him to be a palatable human being.
KS: Right. There’s also the impact of television. Again, what I was saying about “The Apprentice,” that someone ... Some political reporter was talking about that ... They know him in a different way than zip code 10022.
They do, and this garners laughter when I mention this, but it’s the truth. You talk to people, and you say, “Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about health care, doesn’t know anything about policy.” And they’ll say, “Well, he doesn’t need to.”
Why doesn’t he need to? Well, he’ll hire the correct people to do it. How do you know that? How are you so confident in it? I saw him do it on “The Apprentice.”
He’s just always done a very good job of that, selling himself as the smartest person in the room, selling himself as a deal maker.
HR: As a boss.
As a boss. As unique among men. He’s been doing it for decades.
HR: You talk about that in the book, about how many times it came up during the campaign about whether how he ran his race was a good gauge of how he would govern. And there was this sense, among a lot of mainstream business men, for instance, who thought ... Well, he’s saying he’s picked out specific populations and appealed to them with specific coded racism words, or coded women issues, or whatever it was ... That he’s speaking in code to get elected to certain segments of the population. But once he gets there, it’s gonna be different. Once he gets there, he’s going to be very mainstream, he’s gonna ...
I would have that conversation with ...
HR: Be a good businessman, and the like. So you talk about how important that was, and how you tried on the campaign trail to say that he was going to govern.
Behave precisely the same way.
HR: So, my question now is, are you surprised with how ineffective he has been at getting things done?
No. No. We kept being told by people within his campaign, people in his family, that he would pivot, he’d change. For the general election he’d move towards the middle. He didn’t really care about the things that he was sayings, he was just trying to get Republican voters on his side.
KS: And he said it off the record on a lot of issues.
Yeah, he did. He’s somebody who was a Democrat before he was a Republican. He doesn’t have a loyalty to any certain policy. He has a loyalty to hearing the crowd roar, to hearing applause, to hearing cheers, to having people like him. So, I kept being told, “He’s transactional. He’s transactional; he’ll do whatever is gonna ... [whatever] he needs to do to get himself elected. He’ll move towards the middle.”
But it became very clear that he didn’t want to do that. Because the stuff that got the loudest cheers were the personal attacks. It was the vitriol. It was the anger. It was the outrageous comment. It was the, “I’m not being treated fairly, and everybody around me is criticizing me.” Or, “Everyone that might criticize me is not on my side, therefore, not on your side.” People really liked that message. So when he got into ...
HR: So, that’s why he stays there now, because it still gets the loudest applause.
It still gets the loudest applause. You’re not going to get giant applause for nuanced policy, for nuanced diplomacy.
HR: For compromise.
People were tired of that. Not all people; I’m talking about Trump voters. People wanted to be told that there are simple solutions to the world’s problems.
KS: Complex problems.
When we get back, we’re going to talk about the campaign itself, and you being on it over time. Because, you became the subject. I know you probably don’t like a lot of attention on yourself, but got a lot of attention, and it got a little dangerous. We’re gonna talk about that. We’re also gonna talk about your family’s background, which is in journalism, too. So you had some sense of dramatic incidents.
We’re here with Katy Tur from NBC News and MSNBC. She has a new book out called “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.” Is it actually patented the craziest? There’s probably some crazy one, too, that we don’t remember. But we’ll be back, we’ll be talking more. I’m also here with my co-host Hilary Rosen.
I’m here in NYC with my co-host Hilary Rosen, political strategist and CNN analyst. She is my co-host for the month of November. We’re talking politics in special bonus episodes of Recode Decode. We’re here with Katy Tur, who is the well-known NBC reporter, on-air reporter ... What do you call yourself, Katy?
NBC correspondent, MSNBC anchor. Presenter, if you’re overseas.
KS: Anchor, presenter. You’re a presenter. We’re talking about, specifically, her new book “Unbelievable” — we’re talking about a lot of other things — which just came out. It’s about her time on the campaign trail, her unlikely ... What happened, because she was on a campaign that she didn’t think she was gonna be on ...
Expect to be on.
KS: Expect to be on, and she was not a political reporter. Just very briefly, you come from a journalism ... You’re ...
Yeah, my parents are journalists.
KS: Your parents are journalists, and very well-known ones.
My parents started Los Angeles News Service in the ’80s. My dad convinced a helicopter company to lease them a helicopter when he was 24, or something, and they started covering Los Angeles news from the air ... Police pursuits, fires, shootings, anything that you could see from a helicopter in Los Angeles. Which is good, because Los Angeles is a giant place.
My mom would hang out of the helicopter and shoot the video, and my dad would fly and report. They popularized the live police chase on television, they popularized reporting from the air, they have shot and reported on some of the most famous images, scenes from Los Angeles, during the ’90s, especially.
HR: Specifically O.J.
Specifically O.J. They were the ones that found him on that slow-speed pursuit. My dad remembers other assignment editors yelling, “Find that asshole Tur.” Because my parents were ...
HR: Because if you find the asshole Tur, you’d find O.J.?
Yeah, exactly. Because my parents were always first on the scene to every story; they had a knack for it. They were the ones hovering over the corner of Florence and Normandy during the L.A. riots, when Reginald Denny, the red gravel truck driver, got pulled from his truck, the cab of his truck and beaten to within an inch of his life.
KS: That was their footage.
HR: After the Rodney King verdict.
That was after the Rodney King verdict, yeah. During the riots. They made history.
KS: They did. What did that teach you? Did you bring ... Because that’s ... A lot of tabloid-y, it’s a little more dramatic ...
The car chases were tabloid-y, certainly.
KS: Journalism, nonetheless, but it introduced a different kind of journalism.
It did. This was the ’90s; “The Real World” had just started, people were getting fascinated by watching things happen in the moment. Technology had moved forward fast enough to bring you those images live. You could have a microwave on your helicopter. Not a microwave like you have in your house, but a microwave for projecting images, that would send the images that you shot out of your camera live into a TV screen. That’s new.
HR: Were you up there with them?
Yeah, all the time. Yeah, since I was a child.
KS: That you would go up in the helicopter ...
I lived in the helicopter.
KS: That’s awesome.
I lived in the helicopter. I was so comfortable in the helicopter. I ... My dad was covering the Rose Parade ... I was 4 or 5 or something. And he was doing radio reports, and I got up out of my seat; took my seatbelt off, opened the door of the helicopter, which is a complicated thing for anybody, let alone a 4 or 5 year old, and just wanted to see the floats better, so I just looked outside. I remember I’d always seen my mom with the door open. And my dad ... And I’m not wearing a seatbelt, I’m just standing there, in a helicopter, hundreds of feet above the ground. My dad said he almost had a heart attack.
KS: Because he’s flying the helicopter.
He’s flying the helicopter. He calmly said, “Katy, please sit down.”
So they covered ...
HR: Little did he know that day, that their daughter would grow up and win the Walter Cronkite Award for reporting.
I think my parents had good expectations for me. I don’t think that they were surprised. I think they’re proud. I hope they’re proud. They risked their lives for their journalism, and I say that because after the Reginald Denny beating, after they shot that video and then testified against the gang members who tried to kill Reginald Denny, they got death threats.
KS: Because they saw it.
They got death threats. They also called out the LAPD at the time, saying the LAPD had abandoned the city during the riots. So they were nobody’s friend for a little while.
KS: Because they saw it, from the air.
They saw it, so they weren’t afraid of speaking truth to power, they weren’t afraid of saying something that would put their life at risk. They felt like it was the right thing to do. So, that’s how I understood journalism; that it was worthy of risking everything for. So when I started doing this campaign, and I started getting death threats, myself ...
HR: Talk about why. Let’s explain to people who don’t, who aren’t following everything.
Donald Trump didn’t like the media. Or doesn’t like the media.
KS: Or does, but pretends he doesn’t.
HR: He’s obsessed with it, but ...
Yeah, he likes you when you’re nice, but he doesn’t like you when ...
HR: It’s a permanent foil.
You’re not nice, in his words. That was almost the title of the book, “Not Nice.”
KS: You had a contentious relationship?
We had a contentious relationship. If I said something that he was pleased with, he would try to introduce me to the rallies as if I was this wonderful reporter. One time, he tried to introduce me almost like I was his wife. “This is Katy Tur, everyone.”
KS: Right. What was nice in his ...
I guess he’s leading in this poll or that, or he’s moderating his tone ... This was mostly early on in the campaign. I was always the one saying, on TV, that his supporters don’t care, that he’s got a real chance of winning. I was always that person.
KS: So he liked that?
I’m sure that pleased him to a degree, but I was also always the person who would call him out when he wasn’t telling the truth. I was always the person who would fact-check him immediately after a speech. Sometimes those fact-checks would go on for minutes, and minutes, and minutes, where I would just read all of the things that he said and tell you all of the reasons why they were not true. I didn’t sugarcoat anything. I wasn’t going to be cowed by his force of personality, buy his bullying, or by his charm.
KS: Was it just him, or the staff?
It was both.
HR: After those moments ... Our listeners who are not political experts may not realize that you go to these political events and rallies, and they put the press, they put us in, essentially, what in the Trump campaign became known as The Pen, and you’re sort of cordoned off from the rest of the folks. Sometimes you can sneak around and talk to actual real people, but they put you in a single place. Donald Trump used to point to the press pen, frequently ...
“Look at that scum.”
HR: And call you out, personally. Often, he would ... “Look at that disgraceful Katy Tur.”
HR: He called you disgraceful. He called you a liar. The whole crowd would then shift their attention to the press pen and point and boo at you. What did that feel like?
And call me names.
HR: What did that feel like? That’s when you recalled your parents’ strength?
I didn’t recall it in the top of my head. Later on when I was thinking, “Why was I not as freaked out about this as maybe someone else would have been?” I remembered my parents. But, it was just the way we grew up.
He would call me out a lot, and yeah, you’re right, we were in a pen. It’s not unusual to be in an enclosed area if you’re in the press, because that’s where you put your equipment. It was unusual because they wouldn’t let us out. Then he would point us out, and get the entire room ...
KS: Wouldn’t let you out ... “You cannot leave this area.”
Once he got to the venue, we were not allowed to leave, not even to go to the bathroom, unless we had an escort. A bathroom buddy.
HR: Why did you all put up with that? Just curious, you just couldn’t ...
I kept pushing back, I kept saying, “Why are we dealing with this?” The Secret Service was going along with it. That didn’t make any sense; the Secret Service doesn’t work for the campaign, it works for the American voter. Why are they putting us in this pen, why are they doing the bidding of this campaign? It’s against the Constitution! We’ve got a First Amendment right to talk to people.
KS: The Clinton campaign didn’t do that. They kept you away from the candidate, but they didn’t, the Clinton campaign didn’t keep you away from the crowds.
It didn’t make any sense. We fought it. We fought a lot of things. We tried. I would just walk out and just give attitude to people.
HR: But essentially by doing that, you became part of his act.
HR: So you had to then consistently go on air afterwards and reinterpret the act. Because all the networks had started covering his rallies live, which is what they all got criticized for later, was giving him, quote, “too much attention.”
Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s a discussion that is worthy of being had going forward: How much attention should we be giving him, and how much should we be airing live? I think it’s a discussion about whether or not we should be airing the press briefings live.
HR: They did it yesterday; I was so annoyed.
At what point is it worthwhile any longer? They’re not telling you anything.
HR: And then you realize how stupid the questions are.
They’re obfuscating. They’re ... It’s just ...
HR: So go back to the point Kara raised, so you didn’t personalize.
Sorry, you’re getting me into my daily struggles.
HR: So you didn’t personalize it, is what you’re saying.
I tried not to personalized it.
HR: Despite how personal he made it.
He would call me out all the time; I was used to it. The time that was really scary was the day of the Muslim ban, when he announced he didn’t want any Muslims to come to the country. We were at a rally in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and this is right after San Bernardino had happened, where that couple had murdered a bunch of people at an office party. President Obama, the day before Donald Trump made this announcement, had done a speech on terrorism, and then Donald Trump comes out and says, “I’m gonna ban Muslims, ’cause we don’t know what the heck is going on. The administration in power is not properly vetting people. There are Muslims in you neighborhood hiding other Muslims, who are making bombs in their living rooms, and they’re out to get you, the American people.”
Republican voters, at the time, felt like the biggest thing they feared was being the victim of terrorism. Republican voters, majority of Republican voters, felt this way. So we are in a press pen in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, we have just spoken to a number of supporters, none of whom were bothered by this idea. They all welcomed it. The harshest criticism we heard was, “I have to think about this.” Others were saying, “We should deport all Muslims who happen to be in this country.” So there was a lot of anger.
Donald Trump walks into this room and he’s whipping up this crowd, and before he gets to the Muslim ban ... And he basically is saying the media is complicit in this, ’cause we’re not reporting it. So, the media is putting your life at risk, dear voter. He takes the stage, and the crowd is angry, and he looks angry, and before he goes to the Muslim ban, he goes on a riff about the press, and then he goes on a riff about me in particular.
He’s angry because of tweets I sent a few nights earlier, where I talked about protesters interrupting his rally and forcing him to abruptly end his rally speech.
HR: Which happened.
Which happened. Furious about this, because he cannot look weak. So, furious at me, already tweeted about how I should be fired. My phone is already ablaze with people telling me that I am a terrible person, telling me that I deserve to die. So I’m sitting in this rally, on the riser, but I’m sitting down, I’m trying not to be ... I’m trying not to stand out. Something did not feel safe.
And then he says, “Little Katy, Katy Tur. She’s back there.” And he points me out. The entire room ... We’re in the belly of a warship ... The entire room turns around and boos and screams and calls me names. Men are standing on chairs, and I think to myself, “Just smile and wave.” Because what are you going to do? How are you going to defuse the situation? You smile and wave, you make it seem like it’s all part of an act, and then you go on with your work, and you move one. You just compartmentalize it.
HR: But you had to be escorted out of there by security.
When the rally was over, a Trump staffer came up to me and said, “These guys are going to walk you out,” and pointed out two guys from Secret Service to walk me to my car, because it was a pitch-black walk down a gangway to my car, which was parked with all of the other Trump supporters. My phone, once again, going nuts. People defending me, and then also other people telling me what a horrible person I am.
KS: They didn’t quite use those words, right?
More ... they were a little more harsh.
HR: Then, after that, you actually ... NBC sent security with you, frequently, right?
We got armed security.
HR: It’s quite unusual for a political reporter to have to travel with security.
KS: Because of actual death threats? Because of actual death threats.
Yeah, and I’d get weird things at work, sent to me at work, that people couldn’t explain, coming from random places. Untrackable things, it seemed. There was a lot of concern about my safety, and my parents were certainly concerned about my safety.
But, to bring it back to where we started, I think the reason why I didn’t really ... I was able to compartmentalize it, and able to just kind of move past it, and not think about it too much, not let it get in the way of my reporting, is that my parents did this. Even though it’s ... We grew up that way.
KS: Can I ask you, why did he pick out you, do you think? It’s not your fault or anything, I just ... What was it about?
I had a big sign on my head that said, “Please, point me out.”
KS: Obviously, the misogyny is so clear to me. It’s always a woman, it’s always ...
Hold on. He uses different terms for men and women. He’ll say, “That wacky Congresswoman.” He called Mika Brzezinski wacky, as well. That’s not a term he uses for men.
KS: “Little,” he does. “Little” is one he uses for men and women.
HR: That’s the comparison to himself, right? He’s big, and they’re little.
Yeah, exactly. Little Kim Jong-Un, Little Katy Tur, Little Bob Corker. He’ll go after men, though, as well. He called Tom Llamas a sleaze, for instance. I think there’s probably a lot of reasons why he singled me out so much. I’m not in his head, so I can’t tell you the one overwhelming factor that was in play, but I will say this: I was on the campaign trail earlier than anyone else. I was the first network news correspondent assigned to cover him full-time, the first one to essentially take him seriously as a presidential candidate.
There were long months where I was the only familiar face in a room for him. He knew if he wanted to go after the press ...
KS: That you were TV.
Yeah, and he knew if he wanted to make someone the face of it, that I would be back there. Because I was always there; he got to know me.
HR: Once you’re on a campaign, once you’re a candidate, there gets to be a point where every day is so rote that you don’t learn any new information. You’re only retaining the things you learned in the early days of the candidacy, because you can’t absorb new information. There’s just too much incoming.
Yeah, especially with this campaign. It was a daily deluge of invective.
HR: You were also the first, if I have my memory correct, you were the first on-air reporter to talk about the “Access Hollywood” tapes.
I was, yeah.
KS: That was because NBC had the tapes in their vault, because “Access Hollywood” was an NBC distributor.
HR: But it was an NBC-distributed show, or something?
KS: They had the tapes before anybody else.
Yeah, but Access Hollywood still had the tapes.
HR: But NBC got ...
KS: Was aware of them.
HR: You got them sooner than others, so ...
Yeah, we did. Because it’s an NBC property.
HR: How did that feel? Because up until that time, you were really reporting on the voters as much as you were reporting on Trump, and all of a sudden this is personal, it’s emotional, it’s about women and sexual harassment, and I don’t think there is a single one of us covering the campaign that didn’t also sort of take this personally. How was that, going out there first and taking this on?
The first time I heard the tape, I was sitting in an office, and my ear was right up against the computer, because the volume was really low, and I could make out Donald Trump’s voice distinctly. It’s a voice, at that point, I knew better than my own. And he’s talking about trying to sleep with a married woman, he’s saying these things that, on a hot mic, clearly he wouldn’t say if he knew ... Although, he had been saying wild stuff on “Howard Stern” before, so this is not totally out of character. But, hearing him say, “You can grab them by the pussy,” was ... My jaw cartoonishly dropped to the floor.
I remember yelling out in this executive’s office, in Executive Row, where everyone’s relatively quiet, “Oh my God, did Donald Trump just say he can grab women by the pussy?” I mean, screaming this out, and then thinking, “Wow, if anything’s going to stop this campaign, it’s gonna be this. Or is it?” I think I thought immediately, “Oh my God, he can never survive this.”
HR: You were the one who kept telling NBC that none of these other crises were gonna stop ...
Nothing mattered. So I thought ...
HR: Did you think this one would?
I thought this one might, but almost immediately, I thought, “Well, I don’t know. I don’t know.” I thought it might for a few reasons. One, his campaign went completely dark. Fifty former and current Republican lawmakers were either calling for him to drop out or calling for him ... Or saying they weren’t going to vote for him. The crescendo of condemnation was ... It was a crescendo. It was loud.
Then again, I knew that Donald Trump was not somebody who would ever drop out of anything; he would never quit. If you forced, if you pushed him back into a corner, he would just fight harder. So, what was going to happen in the debate, was my question. How was he going to try to turn this on Hillary Clinton? How would he use Bill Clinton and his accusers?
KS: That was precisely what he did.
Would that work for him? And then the real test was: What’s going to happen at his first rally after that? If the same amount of people, same amount of enthusiasm is out there, well then, no, it doesn’t really matter. And that’s what happened.
KS: Talk about that. The first one.
The first rally out of that was thousands of people. Thousands ... I don’t remember exactly where it was. It might have been Ohio. Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of people screaming and cheering. The more that he was backed into a corner, the more that they felt like they needed to defend him, the louder they got. There was a woman wearing a shirt that said ...
HR: An equal amount of women, by the way. I went to several of those rallies after that “Access Hollywood” tapes.
There were a lot of women there. One woman was wearing a shirt that said ... She wasn’t the only one, but she was the one that I got the images of, I guess ... “Donald Trump can grab me by,” and she had an arrow pointing down. She looked like a normal woman, she was wearing glasses. She looked like someone’s mom. She looked like someone on the PTA at somebody’s middle school. She didn’t look crazy.
KS: That she wanted her pussy grabbed.
I guess ...
By Donald Trump. It was wild. It was wild. They didn’t care.
KS: Why? Again, they wanted change.
I am not a ...
I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a social anthropologist.
KS: How did the other reporters — we still have a few minutes in this section — react to this, to you? What happened to the dynamic? Because there is a dynamic among reporters on the campaign trail.
In what way?
KS: Were they shocked? What happened among the group of you?
Shocked by the “Access Hollywood” tape?
KS: No, not that.
HR: The attention ...
KS: By the attacks on you.
Oh, by the attacks on me, personally? On Katy Tur? They were appalled. I would get people coming up to me, other reporters who I respect and who I’ve always looked up to, coming up to me and saying, “Are you okay? Can I walk you to your car? Is NBC taking care of you? I can’t believe he’s doing this. Does he understand what’s happening?”
Then you broaden it out, and you say, “This is an attack on all of us.” There was real concern that somebody was going to get hurt. Real, genuine concern that somebody was going to get hurt, surprised that it hadn’t happened already.
HR: You continued, even during those attacks, to have a significant amount of access, which I found interesting, and I thought in your book was really well described. That you continued to speak regularly with Hope Hicks, who’s now the Communications Director — Press Secretary in the campaign — that Trump continued to talk to you. He would use you publicly, but privately you would still get your stories, you’d still get some interviews, and you’d still ...
Well, because I never ... I had a good relationship.
HR: It’s a little bit like what Maggie Haberman does on the print side, right? Where he attacks the New York Times constantly ...
HR: But is consistently calling up Maggie. You’ve become that, in many ways, on the broadcast side.
Because you develop a relationship, and there was ... Some of his campaign staff thought it was ... didn’t like what he was doing to me, specifically.
KS: What did they say to you?
They would dance around it, because it’s an uncomfortable thing. I was talking to one staffer about his attacks on the press, and more in general — I don’t like to make it just about me — towards the end of the campaign, and I said, “Does he know what he’s doing? Does he know that he’s putting us in danger? Does he remember Roanoke, the two reporters who got killed on camera? Is he worried about it?” “Yes he knows, no he’s not worried about it; he doesn’t care.”
KS: Doesn’t care.
KS: All right, on that note, we’re here with Katy Tur, from NBC News and MSNBC, where she’s a correspondent and an anchor. We’re talking about her book, “Unbelievable.” We’re gonna shift and talk when we get back. I’m also here with Hilary Rosen, a political consultant, and also an analyst for CNN. She’s here this month, talking with me in special bonus episodes of Recode Decode about politics. We have guests who are oriented towards politics. When we get back, we’ll talk about that and more.
We’re here with Katy Tur. Her new book is called “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.”
I can’t remember the subtitle, so don’t worry about it.
KS: That’s all right, I like that. You left ... When he won. Talk about, very briefly, what happened toward the end of this campaign. That you ... You left covering. You didn’t go to the White House.
I left covering. I didn’t go to the White House. Day of the election ...
KS: Did you think he was going to win that day?
I did. I did. I thought I must be crazy, but I just had ...
KS: Because all polls were to the contrary.
HR: Talk when you actually called it before Election Day. You’re one of the few that consistently thought he would win.
I just saw that enthusiasm, and I thought, “You can’t discount it.” Bringing the emails back up, the Comey stuff, was a way for Donald Trump to convince weary Republicans, moderates or people on the fence ...
HR: To come home.
That they should come home. They should vote for him, and they can’t take the risk of somebody who might be under federal investigation ... Oh, what an irony! I just thought, “This guy has defied all of the odds. Why is it going to change on Election Day?”
He was right when he would say that he could draw thousands of people, just him on a stage, no guitar. Hillary Clinton needed all the celebrities around her. He was right, that’s true; she didn’t have the same amount of enthusiasm. Who knows what other factors are in play?
I’m obviously not a federal investigator, so I can’t tell you how Russia came into this, and how much sway they may have had, or whether or not the campaign may have colluded. I don’t know. I know everyone will say, “But her emails, but her emails.” I don’t know, either. I was covering the Trump campaign, so I rarely talked about that. All those answers will come out sooner or later.
KS: Or not.
Probably a little bit down the line, if anything. Or not. Or nothing.
HR: But you’ve made the decision, as Kara alluded to, after the campaign — and Recode listeners might not know this, but it’s sort of typical after a presidential campaign for the top reporters covering the candidate that wins to then get what is considered the plum reporting position, which is to be the White House correspondent.
I took myself out of the running.
HR: You decided not to do that.
KS: Why was that?
I didn’t wanna go to Washington. I think what made me so effective during this campaign was that I wasn’t a political animal, and I shouldn’t become a political animal.
HR: A smart decision.
I also had had enough of the daily interaction with him and his team. I did it. I wanted to write this book. It would have been really difficult to write this book had I been in the White House press corps. And, on a personal level, I’m getting married, so I wanted to maintain this relationship. It was the first time I think I made a really personal decision in my career.
KS: Also, a healthy one. I think a lot of people who are covering ... I talk to a lot of the reporters covering the White House, and they seem ill.
And look at Maggie. Maggie didn’t go to Washington. Though she’s there a bunch, she didn’t go to Washington.
KS: But even covering it on a daily basis, they seem exhausted.
It’s exhausting even from the position I’m in, as an anchor covering it every day. It was exhausting during the campaign, and it was infuriating, and also just tiring having to stand up for basic facts. Basic facts. “Yes, gravity exists.” CNN has a great ad out right now ...
KS: The apple.
I shouldn’t be promoting a competitor, but it’s a great ad. “This is an apple. You might hear people saying it’s a banana, but it’s not. It’s an apple.” I was tired of having that fight, day in and day out. I was also tired of being so glued to my email.
KS: So, what are you doing now? You’re doing a show, you’re doing a daily show. Let’s talk about this. It’s a lot to do with politics. It’s pretty much all ...
It’s mostly politics.
KS: Mostly politics. You don’t really cover anything else. Talk about where you think the current state we are in this administration. Because, today, again ... The two senators leaving. Giving up. Essentially giving up. They don’t want to cover Trump anymore, essentially. That’s what it feels like. Or maybe I’m wrong.
It is everything in relation to ... Everything now is in relation to Donald Trump. How do people ... Not, “do you vote on my side?” but, “Are you praising me?” And that’s where this administration stands. It’s not enough to be a Conservative, it’s not enough to be a Republican voting Republican; you’ve gotta be a Republican who is enthusiastic about the President. Who is willing to say how great he is on camera, in those boardroom-esque ... On-camera-sprays, we call them, where he has everyone go around the room and tell him how great he is.
KS: It’s very Dear Father.
KS: Dear Leader.
HR: And Senator Jeff Flake and Senator Bob Corker, two senators who’ve just announced that they’re not going to seek re-election. The fact that they’ve both done that, after they took on the president, almost is a victory for Donald Trump, isn’t it?
Absolutely. And for Steve Bannon.
HR: It’s not that they ...
This is not the Republican Party, this is the Trump Party.
HR: They’re getting a huge amount attention for their dissent, but there’s still 49 Republican senators who are way on board.
I think it’s becoming clearer that the Republican Party as we knew it is ceasing to exist. It’s now becoming the party of Donald Trump, whatever that is. Then the question is, what is the party, what is the policy for the party of Donald Trump? Where do you stand on things? Is it just finding a way to say how great he is all the time? Is that what the Republican Party is going to be going forward?
We cover the fracturing of the Party, and where it goes next, every day; we cover the press briefing, we try to fact-check it as needed; we fact-check the president as needed; we’re trying to follow this zeitgeist, where does it lead next? And then the Democrats. What’s going on with the Democrats.
HR: I wanna talk about the Democrats in a minute, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders, yesterday ... The Press Secretary said, at a briefing, something that got everybody sort of all up in arms again. When she said that Donald Trump has accomplished more in his nine months than Barack Obama did in eight years.
KS: Yeah, she does that a lot.
It’s a lie!
HR: What I thought was interesting, and I wonder if the media is covering this enough, which is: clearly they’ve had no legislative victories to speak of. But what they have done, systematically and effectively, that gets ... I wonder if you think so ... Too little media attention, is: They’ve essentially begun to dismantle the government; its regulations, its consumer safety, its financial securities, the across-the-board gambit of regulations that have been changed or are in the process of being changed, that will be extraordinarily difficult to undo.
Do you think that’s getting enough attention, vis-a-vis ... So in essence, Donald Trump is accomplishing a huge amount, that is true. But is it the things that people sort of expected and are really thinking about?
He’s accomplishing a lot through Executive Order, but his accomplishments are, as you said, the rollback of regulations. Is that being covered enough? I don’t think we do. I think we could stand to cover what’s going on at the EPA, for instance, a lot more. There’s a lot of things that are happening there that aren’t getting enough attention and could have severe consequences for the future. I think we’re falling into the same trap, and ...
KS: Which is, he doesn’t have legislative victories, and therefore he’s not successful?
HR: And that we’re following the bouncing ball.
We’re following the bouncing ball.
HR: The shiny object, as it were.
KS: Talk about that, in the media. In the culpability of that, when you think about that idea ... First, missed the joke the entire time. Now, is indignant almost all the time.
It’s dangerous. It’s dangerous.
KS: Yeah, I have reporters going, “I can’t believe it.” I’m like, “What? The hundredth time he’s done it? When are you going to believe it?”
The surprise and the indignation is misplaced, and it’s not effective. I think we need to come at everything with the knowledge of what happened in the campaign, which is, not normalize it — any of this — but to try and follow what matters more than, again, the bouncing ball. More than the daily tweet, more than the daily controversy, or the fight that he’s in today.
It’s hard, because that gets so much attention. It’s hard because that’s what everybody is talking about. It’s hard to pull it back and say, “Wait, hold on. While you weren’t looking, this regulation just got rolled back.” Or, “This committee just passed this bill and is trying to undo Dodd-Frank.”
Any of the number of things that were put into place to protect consumers, to protect investors, to protect homeowners, whatever it is. To protect our water, to protect our air, to protect our National Parks, to protect your monuments ... Whatever it is, there’s so much that’s happening behind the scenes that we don’t get to see because we can’t figure out how much attention ...
KS: Because he’s attacking widows and orphans now.
Yeah, it’s hard. Because again, it’s the President of the United States. How do you ignore the President of the United States? When he says something, it is necessarily news. When there’s no diplomacy with North Korea, when the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker says, “I think he’s putting us in danger,” you have to cover that, that is a huge story.
We have North Korea and nukes. How do you not cover the president going after a Gold Star family, another widow? How do you not focus on the change in what we find acceptable in this country? The sea-change of how Americans not only are perceived, but what we tolerate? There is so much happening, culturally, that demands our attention. We have to figure out a way to balance that, and talk about what is happening behind the scenes.
KS: The actual impact.
HR: This big-picture analysis, this big-picture fight that we are constantly participating in, covering ... Choose your word ... Is actually the very thing, isn’t it, that keeps his supporters on his side? Because it’s the very thing that makes him believe as long as he’s fighting all of us, then he’s fighting for him. So, if we did shift, if we did say, you know, “Your water is going to be more polluted, your kid is going to be less safe in school.” If we did more of that ... The question is whether it would be different or not.
No, the results ... They wouldn’t.
KS: Well we don’t really know, do we?
I don’t think it would, because if we just talked ...
HR: First of all, they don’t believe it.
KS: So what happens with the Dem ... We have five minutes left ... What do you imagine happens? The Democrats ... Talk a little bit about when you think about ... You’re now a political reporter, whether you like it or not ... Where does it go? People talk about the fatigue, and people will get over it, and he’ll be voted out, and this and that. What is your assessment given ...
I don’t know.
KS: Because I think Flake talked about the fever will be over ...
The fever will break.
HR: When you have Democrats on your show now, do you feel like there’s an equal fight? Do you feel like you have Democrats around the table as often as you have Republicans around the table? Do you feel like the Democrats have shown up for the challenge in a way that you think gets to the people that you met on the campaign trail?
I think they’re trying to figure out what the challenge is.
KS: Or do we need Oprah to fight Trump? She’s the anti-Trump, presumably.
Here’s the thing: I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows. I think it’s all so ... We’re all living in this fog, and we can’t see past it. I don’t know how Democrats are going to be able to reach the voter that maybe voted for Barack Obama for eight years.
KS: Which they did.
KS: Meaning, everybody’s capable of doing different things.
Yeah, which they did. Then they voted for Donald Trump. The message, for them, is a purely economic message. But Democrats, like Donald Trump’s Republican competitors, as well, get caught up in the daily controvert. “Oh, Donald Trump is horrible for saying this. Oh, Donald Trump is horrible for saying that.” Or, “Donald Trump is trying to do this or that.” I think the problem is, it can’t be about Donald Trump.
KS: Except he’s the most interesting person in the room.
It has to about their message.
KS: I mean, who would you write a book about?
KS: The only thing people wanna talk about is Donald Trump, so they have to find a way to get their ideas, their platform, their policies, their initiatives ...
KS: Who does that? Who does that?
I presume it’s the Chairman of the Democratic National ...
KS: Yeah, who do you ... because you had a sense that Donald Trump was more serious before ... When Huffington Post put him in entertainment. You had a sense that maybe ...
That was a huge mistake. And then the byline ... Not the byline, the little author note after every ...
KS: It was ridiculous.
I think it was a mistake to be seen as being combative in that way.
KS: And cavalier, really.
Yeah, just being ...
KS: Silly, snarky.
Just being snooty about it.
KS: So, what is your sense of that. Is there any ...
I don’t know.
KS: You don’t know?
I wish I had answers. I think we won’t have any of those answers, we won’t truly know, until all of us get back out on the road and talk to people again.
HR: When you are booking your show, when you’re thinking about how to present the antidote to Donald Trump ...
Hold on, that’s not my job. My job is not the antidote to Donald Trump. My job is not to tell people how to vote, my job is not to convince people that Donald Trump is terrible.
HR: No, but it’s to show both sides. That’s what I’m saying. When you’re looking at who ... Who are the big gets, who are the big opportunities for the other voices?
Right now, the big gets are the people that don’t wanna be gotten, because they don’t wanna get the hellfire from the other side, which is Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders. Those are ...
KS: She likes hellfire. She’s good with the hellfire. She’s good at givin’ it back.
I know. That’s true. Those are the names that people look at in the Democratic Party as potential leaders for 2020. I wonder if there’s somebody just completely different that we’re just not thinking about.
HR: So you think some of the biggest Democratic names are, in essence, avoiding the fight?
I think that it’s the ... Conventional wisdom is that you don’t want to put your hat in the ring too early, because you don’t want to be the focus of everybody’s attention. The focus of all of the criticism.
KS: And his attention.
HR: Therefore, we have a sort of vacuum of ideas at the same time.
KS: Yeah, yeah.
HR: I’ll say that, as a Democrat. We have a vacuum of ideas.
Look at ...
KS: Come up with some, Hilary.
HR: I’m not putting that on you.
Look at what the DNC ...
HR: I have a lot of ideas.
I just wonder if the DNC has their finger on the pulse. They put out a press release after Flake announced that he wasn’t running again, just attacking Flake. It’s a little tone deaf.
HR: It seemed like a lost opportunity.
KS: He’s actually quite articulate about this. He’s more articulate than Democrats about the problem. You’re almost, like, “Gosh, he sounds like a Democrat.”
I think everybody just needs to tone it the eff down. Just tone it down, just bring down the volume. ’Cause if we’re all loud about everything, nothing penetrates. I think we’re facing big dangers when it comes to our sovereignty, when it comes to our democratic process, our elections. We have a foreign power who’s trying to manipulate us. We need to focus on that. That is a huge story. You can’t keep letting that happen, otherwise where will we be?
Look at that story in the New York Times about Idaho Falls and fake news, how it’s ripping the town apart. That’s a really scary story. It terrified me. It made me sincerely worried for our democracy. Is this the fall of Rome? Are we watching the fall of Rome?
KS: You have Los Angeles parents. I have relatives in the middle of the country. I’ve had that at every meal, every holiday meal is like that.
Yeah, but you know, we need to find a way to get back on the same page, and to share a set of facts, and to share a set of values. Until we do that, I don’t know how anything changes. I don’t know how it gets ...
KS: All right, last question. Are you still in touch with Trump?
I’m in touch with his people, I have not spoken to him.
KS: Do you want to do a big interview with him?
I would love to! Of course.
KS: Will he?
Donald Trump, sit down and do an interview with me.
KS: Will he?
I think that is not ... I don’t know. It’s possible, it’s possible. Last time I talked to him, he said, “I would like to sit down and do an interview with you.” And people would really respect it, they would.
KS: What was your first question for him?
I don’t know. “Why are you so angry?”
KS: Oh, that’s a great question.
HR: That is a great question.
KS: That’s a great question.
So, this is her book, Katy Tur’s book: “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.” It is now for sale, and you can see Katy on NBC and MSNBC, on her show, which she does a great job anchoring. And lots more in the future. Are you going to cover ...
When are you on next?
When are you on next?
KS: Whenever you invite me, Katy. I just come when called.
You gotta drop that CNN channel.
KS: I just like that Don Lemon. He begs me, he calls ...
Not you, I’m talking about Hilary.
KS: Hilary. Oh yeah, that Hilary.
HR: Eh, well, you know. We have our facts straight.
KS: You have apples, for sure.
Anyway, Katy, it was great talking to you. Thank you for coming on the show. Thank you Hilary, for joining me on this side of the interview table. We’ve got a few more to go.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.