Katy Tur’s campaign book is out on Tuesday. As Post book reviewer Carlos Lozada notes, Tur spent 500-plus days covering Donald Trump on the trail. She was singled out by Trump at rallies, occasionally under the sobriquet of “little Katy.” He gave her an unwelcome kiss before a segment of “Morning Joe.” He performed at an unfathomable number of campaign rallies as Tur looked on. And he gave one of the primary campaign’s more memorable, cruel and condescending interviews to Tur.
So all of that — and surely much, much more — folds into Tur’s book, “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.” (Disclosure: The Erik Wemple Blog has not yet read it.) As part of her literary rollout, Tur appeared this morning on “Morning Joe.” And in what can be only a coincidence, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning:
Perhaps Trump the candidate’s fascination with Tur has continued into his presidency.
Fact-checkers won’t likely spend much time on this particular Trump tweet, but it figures in that URL wasteland of dishonest Twitter-borne remarks by our head of state. Though personal access to political leaders invariably feeds and rounds out accurate and penetrating portrayals in the media, Trump has rendered it nearly obsolete. If you want to know his real thoughts on something, check his Twitter feed. If you want to know how self-centered he is, check his Twitter feed. If you want to know how little he knows about Obamacare, check his Twitter feed. Otherwise, watch him ad-lib his way through a news conference or an interview. There’s never a doubt as to what this fellow thinks; he just tells you.
The open-book nature of the Trump candidacy provided an ideal opportunity for Tur, who by her own account was a “political neophyte” at the time that she began covering the real-estate mogul. A London-based foreign correspondent for NBC News, Tur was drafted to cover some Trump news in the summer of 2015 and just never stopped. As an NBC News executive put it, this was “an outsider covering the outsider.” Who cares about access, then?
As interesting as Trump himself, of course, are his followers — a group whose motivations have been the subject of a fair bit of argument among journalists and political scientists over the past year or so. Tur met a phenomenal number of them, and she addressed their sentiments in a recent New York Times op-ed: “Trump sees us,” those supporters told Tur. “You don’t.” Another interaction:
I once asked a man heading into a rally why he supported Donald Trump.
“Because he is going to build a wall,” the man said.
“What if he doesn’t?” I countered.
“I trust his judgment,” the man said.
That’s access, too.