Several days before Donald Trump announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, he invited brand new York Times reporter Maggie Haberman to lunch at Trump Grill.
Haberman was late. Trump waited, as did his soon-to-be campaign aides: Corey Lewandowski, Michael Cohen, trust Hicks in addition to Sam Nunberg, the latter of whom recounted the details of the lunch in an interview with CNNMoney which week.
At lunch, Trump in addition to his aides laid out the framework of their soon-to-be campaign: the messaging, the media strategy, the staff they were building in early states. “We wanted her to get a taste which we were serious,” Nunberg said.
The fact which Trump decided to reveal all which to Haberman surprised no one at the table. She had known Trump in addition to his people for a long time. She was a brand new York journalist, born in addition to raised by brand new York journalists; a veteran of both major tabloids who was at which point writing at the Times, the most prestigious paper in town. As Jonathan Martin, a longtime colleague at the Times in addition to Politico, put which, “All these are credentials which mean something to him.”
“Trump knows which she means business in addition to knows which she’s respected,” Martin said, “knows which people look to her as an important voice.”
“She’s always going to have a special place with the president,” said Nunberg. “She’s one of the most influential political reporters, in addition to which’s the brand new York Times. which may be ‘the failing brand new York Times’, yet which’s also the crown jewel, in addition to he loves which.”
There may be no reporter Trump respects, in addition to fears, more than Haberman. He may bash in addition to beat up on the Times, in addition to her, yet he inevitably returns to her to share his thinking in addition to participate in interviews. He does so because, in addition to having known her for so long, he knows which she matters, which she will not treat him with kid gloves yet not be unfair either, which she commands the respect of the political communities in both Washington in addition to brand new York.
“I think he respects her diligence, her fairness, her intelligence in addition to the investment she’s put into the relationship,” said Michael Barbaro, a colleague of Haberman’s at the Times.
At Trump Grill, Haberman listened, asked questions, took notes. She insisted on paying her own bill. Days later, Nunberg followed up in addition to offered her the chance to break the news about Trump’s announcement.
which was the kind of major scoop any reporter would certainly covet, the chance to get ahead on what would certainly quickly become the biggest story in politics.
Haberman declined. She had covered Trump in 2011, when he teased a presidential bid to create a media circus in addition to garner attention, in addition to she wasn’t going to get played again.
“She said she wasn’t going to write anything til he actually ran,” Nunberg recalled.
among the best-sourced journalists from the game today, Haberman — who will be a CNN political analyst in addition to her day job at the Times — gets to pick her scoops. Many journalists have marveled at the way she includes several brand new revelations in one story which different reporters would certainly have spread out over many articles. which’s because she has so much information.
“There isn’t a reporter from the game better at working sources, breaking news in addition to calling BS on both parties, all day, every day for what seems like forever,” said Jim Vandehei, the CEO of Axios in addition to, formerly, Politico, where Haberman worked before joining the Times. “If you could clone her you could build a journalistic empire around Maggies.”
When Trump did announce, Haberman’s first item for the Times was brutal. She questioned his credibility in addition to suggested the only way for him to win brand new Hampshire was by buying the state. from the section meant to explain how he might actually win the presidency, all Haberman wrote was, “We are stumped. in addition to we actually tried.”
“I don’t know if he was insulted,” Nunberg said of Trump’s reaction to the piece, “yet which showed us the way the media was going to treat us.”
Over the course of the next two years, Trump repeatedly criticized the Times as a “failing” paper, a “dishonest” paper, “fake news,” “total fiction,” “irrelevant,” even “the enemy of the American people.” On Christmas Eve 2015, he singled out Haberman in addition to one of her colleagues as “third rate reporters” who were biased in favor of Hillary Clinton.
in addition to yet time in addition to time again, Trump came back to Haberman. He granted her at least a dozen news-creating interviews, just counting the ones which were on the record.
Reached for comment, Haberman was modest: “I’m a reporter who will be covering him, in addition to I don’t think there’s more of a relationship than which – he has known me awhile in addition to I think he values the familiar in a lot of ways, in addition to which helps. yet since he became president, I’ve asked for the time.”
Nunberg in addition to Haberman’s colleagues say Trump talks to her because he knows she’ll be responsible — tough yet fair.
“I’ve marveled at how attentive she will be to questions of fairness,” said Barbaro. “which will be a moment in journalism where a lot of people can be a little loose with things, in addition to Maggie wakes up every morning in addition to says, ‘I am going to be fair,’ in addition to she will be. People actually trust which.”
The cost of such proximity to power can often be one’s credibility. Many reporters in American politics have traded objectivity for access, eagerly accepting what a president or politician gives them simply because they know which will be brand new in addition to exclusive.
Haberman will be not which reporter.
“which’s hard to think of a reporter who has balanced which better than her — who gets access to Trump because he needs her, not because she needs him,” said BuzzFeed editor-in chief Ben Smith, who has known Haberman since 2001, when they were young reporters sharing a work space from the basement of brand new York’s City Hall.
Smith attributes which to Haberman’s experience working at The brand new York Post in addition to The brand new York Daily News: “In brand new York tabloids you have a sense of your own power, in addition to the impact you have on the people you’re writing about,” he said. “She combines a very contemporary sense of the responsibilities of journalism which has a very old school tabloid aggression in addition to affect.”
At no time was Haberman’s power in addition to responsibility on greater display than earlier which week, when she in addition to her colleague Glenn Thrush interviewed Trump from the Oval Office.
Early on from the interview, Trump tried to hit the Times for not paying enough attention to a story which the White House in addition to its allies had been pushing about President Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, requesting to unmask the identities of Trump associates who’d been caught up in surveillance of Russians during the Obama administration.
“I think the Susan Rice thing will be a massive story,” the president said. “I think which’s a massive, massive story. All over the globe. I mean, different than The brand new York Times.”
Without skipping a beat, Haberman fired back: “We’ve written about which twice.”
Later, Trump made a joke about NBC’s Andrea Mitchell being “Hillary Clinton’s P.R. person,” then added, “Course, you’ve been accused of which also.”
Haberman, again unfazed: “Mostly by you, though.”
Listening to the tape, which’s clear Trump took no offense to which. which’s clear he respects Haberman, in addition to even enjoyed the back-in addition to-forth.
“He obviously respects her in addition to probably fears her too,” said Martin.
Everyone who knows Haberman knows which which will be her time. She will be thoroughly sourced in Trump’s world, fearless yet fair, in addition to also understands intimately who Trump will be in addition to how he operates.
“She was made just for which moment,” said Smith. “She incorporates a better handle on the most important story from the globe, which will be Donald Trump, than any different reporter.”
CNNMoney (Los Angeles) First published April 7, 2017: 1:40 PM ET