Decryption | “Dr. Maggie” and Mr. Trump

(New York) “I like being with her. She’s like my psychiatrist. »

Posted October 10

Donald Trump made the remark to advisers in the middle of one of the three interviews he gave to the journalist of the New York Times Maggie Haberman for her highly anticipated book, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.

In this 600-page book released last Tuesday and preceded by the most sensational excerpts in the media, the queen of scoops of the Trump era immediately defuses the former president’s double-edged compliment.

1665393932 610 Decryption Dr Maggie and Mr Trump


Confidence Man – The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America

“The reality is that he treats all his interlocutors as if they were his psychiatrists,” writes the one who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018, the supreme award for American journalism.

But there’s only one Maggie Haberman, nicknamed “DD Maggie” by one of his former bosses because of his unique gift of attracting confidences from the sometimes traumatized members of Donald Trump’s entourage.

Don who served the New York Times : in 2016, this newspaper published 599 articles bearing the signature of Maggie Haberman, alone or with those of other journalists.

Over the years, we owe this 48-year-old New Yorker, married and mother of three, indelible images: Donald Trump spending his evenings in a dressing gown watching the cable news channels; Donald Trump taking refuge in the White House bunker during anti-racism protests in Washington; Donald Trump flushing official documents down the toilet.

Praises and reviews

Many of his colleagues have boundless admiration for him. But she also has critics, who accuse her of a certain complacency with regard to Trump and his entourage, or a myopia preventing her from giving a broader meaning to her exclusivities.

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Maggie Haberman and Donald Trump, date unknown

His book is not a response to his criticisms, but it contains much more than scoops about Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump nearly getting fired by Donald Trump via Twitter, or about the “drug labs” the former president considered bombing in Mexico.

In the first half of the book, Maggie Haberman presents historians with clues to understand the extent to which Donald Trump was shaped by the New York of the 1970s and 1980s, by its corruption, its dysfunction, its racism, its characters and its tabloids.

Maggie Haberman is well equipped to tell this story. She was born in Manhattan to parents who met in the newsroom of the New York Post. His father, Clyde Haberman, had a long and distinguished career in New York Times. His mother, Nancy Haberman, has worked for decades for the public relations firm Rubenstein, which has represented the Trumps and the Kushners.

Maggie Haberman got her start in journalism herself working for the two major New York tabloids, the Post and the Daily News.

Who influenced Trump?

In one of the striking scenes of her book, she describes the second meeting between Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Roy Cohn, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man during the “witch hunt” against the Communists, and Roger Stone, an equally sulphurous but much younger, who was to become the political mentor of the future president.

“Seated at the end of a long table, shirtless under a silk dressing gown, Cohn pecks at his meal with his fingers. It features the man seated to his left, identifying him as ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno,” writes Haberman, referring to the former head of the Genovese mafia family.

Shortly after the introductions, Cohn mentioned to Stone the name of another of his clients who could help him find premises for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign headquarters in New York: Donald Trump.

Roy Cohn, whose absence Trump often lamented after his election to the White House, as Haberman recalls, died of AIDS in 1986, after spending his life in the closet. Stone is still part of Trump’s entourage, like another New Yorker at the time, Rudolph Giuliani.

Other characters straight out of a Tom Wolfe novel influenced Donald Trump, Haberman argues. George Steinbrenner, ex-owner of the Yankees, is one of them, who bequeathed to Trump a certain conception of masculinity, in particular by dismissing his managers all the time. It was while thinking of him that the property developer found the phrase that would contribute to the success of the reality TV show The Apprentice : “You’re fired! »

Trump also borrowed from former New York Mayor Ed Koch, loudmouth before the Eternal, his mania for throwing epithets at the head of his opponents, including ” lightweight (lightweight), which he adopted after wiping it off himself.

Haberman goes for another daring rapprochement: like the black pastor Al Sharpton, of whom he is the “mirror image” in several aspects, according to her, Donald Trump has refused to step aside after scandals involving his honesty or decency.

The New York tabloids helped him by convincing him that the public had an insatiable appetite for stories about him, be it his divorces, his bankruptcies or his “comebacks”.

New York’s ethnic divisions also inspired him with an idea that he never departed from, according to Haberman: “Hate should be a civic good. »

‘I want to hate these murderers,’ Trump wrote in 1989, calling for the return of the death penalty to New York State in a full-range ad that ran in local newspapers after the assault on a white female jogger in Central. Park.

“The dynamic that defined New York City in the 1980s has stayed with Trump for decades,” Haberman writes.

“He often seems frozen in time. » The diagnosis of « DD Maggie” seems the right one.

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Decryption | “Dr. Maggie” and Mr. Trump