Doesn't anyone ever go on record nowadays? And why were so many stories later denied by their cited sources? So when I got the opportunity to write an insider history of the Trump White House I fairly tripped over my own feet to get through the doors.
“Michael Beschloss came to Mar-a-Lago right after I won the election,” the president told me, referring to the bestselling presidential historian. “He kissed my a-- for a week, now he’s on television getting paid money to attack me.”
What I discovered inside the Trump bubble was quite different from what had been reported. No, Melania and Donald were not estranged, they were tender lovers, who playfully teased each other. On almost any subject -- North Korea, China, Mueller -- the president brought up her name.
What about that famous story of Bannon and Priebus and Ivanka Trump? When Bannon supposedly shouted to Ivanka, “You are just a f------ staffer?”
“Never happened,” Ivanka told me calmly.
“There’s no truth to it?” I persisted. It sold 100,000 books.
“None whatsoever,” she said. “My life is too important for me to waste in rivalries and in personal vendettas. I choose to think the best of people. Most of all, I choose to be happy. I have no time for bitterness.”
It turns out that the real stories of what has been happening inside Trump-world are far more interesting than the fake ones.
So, with all the pressures, with talk of impeachment, what’s it like inside the White House these days?
“There are two kinds of staffers,” Jared Kushner told me. “Those who want to help Trump save the world, and those who want to save the world from Trump.”
Donald Trump is the sixth president I have interviewed and I came away impressed. Some will say that he is only lucky. He was lucky to win the nomination and the election. He was lucky to see what every great economist in the world had missed about the GDP, lucky at finding jobs that no one else could find, lucky at bringing back hostages that other presidents had left languishing in foreign prisons, lucky at achieving energy independence, lucky at defeating ISIS so easily.
Trump is, arguably, the first president in 40 years to avoid starting a hot war. You can say he is lucky. I say he is great.
Impeachment looms but the earlier, ridiculous claims that he is a Russian spy may have, ironically, inoculated him for history.
What’s it like in the eye of the Trump storm?
Calm and peaceful. “All of us hold out hope that the right thing will happen in the end,” Lara Trump told me. “Maybe we will all be long gone but, eventually, we will be vindicated and validated.”