The New York Times Magazine published an raw look at Donald Trump on Tuesday, marveling at his success in the presidential race.
In the piece, author Mark Leibovich openly expresses disdain for much of the political conventionalism that Trump has impulsively cast aside, including stilted talking points and micromanaging campaign staff.
And the profile praises Trump for this, while chronicling the writer’s own evolving view of the property magnate — from antipathy to cautious fascination.
“I dismissed him as a nativist clown, a chief perpetrator of the false notion that President Obama was not born in the United States — the ‘birther’ movement. And I was, of course, way too incredibly serious and high-minded to ever sully myself by getting so close to Donald Trump,” he wrote. “So I decided not to write about him.”
Leibovich said that he reversed himself after seeing the Republican presidential front-runner at a mid-September rally in a Dallas arena. Trump’s speech there was filled with off-the-cuff trash-talk toward the media, Republicans, Democrats, and everything else in between.
“It was at this point that I began to feel glad I decided to write about Trump, who seemed to have clearly seized on some profound exhaustion with our politics. There’s very little difference between Trump when he’s not running for president and Trump now that he is running for president,” he wrote. “Trump is the same boorish, brash and grandiose showman we’ve known across many realms.”
Leibovich himself is a veteran Washington critic. He mocked the DC establishment last year in a book titled: “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital.”
Business Insider collected some of the other best passages from the new Trump profile below.
“He was impolite company personified, and many Republican voters were absolutely loving him for that. They seemed to be saying en masse that even if Trump could be crass and offensive at times (or, in his case, on message), could he possibly be any worse than what politics in general had become?”
“I have seen many press scrums, but never like this. It was scary. People were tripping, falling and being shoved out of the way. Cameras were dropped. What I saw was polite routines and traditions breaking down as the American political order reoriented itself around a new center of gravity. As the shouts and cries intensified, I found myself being drawn toward the bedlam.”
“Getting close to Trump is nothing like the teeth-pulling exercise that it can be to get any meaningful exposure to a candidate like, say, Hillary Clinton. This is a seductive departure in general for political reporters accustomed to being ignored, patronized and offered sound bites to a point of lobotomy by typical politicians and the human straitjackets that surround them.”
“He kept browbeating me to ‘write fairly’ about him, meaning that I should do a full and proper rendering of the Trump Phenomenon — the full degree to which it is, as he so often says, yooooge. Otherwise it would be ‘disgusting,’ as it was recently when a reporter described a ‘smattering of applause’ that he received at an event in Iowa, when in fact it was much more than a ‘smattering’ — trust him. ‘I don’t do smatterings,’ he said, spitting out the word.”
“Trump makes no attempt to cloak his love of fame and, admirably, will not traffic in that tiresome politicians’ notion that his campaign is ‘not about me, it’s about you.’ The ease with which Trump exhibits, and inhabits, his self-regard is not only central to his ‘brand’ but also highlights a kind of honesty about him. He can even seem hostile to any notion of himself as humble servant — that example of modesty that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln strove for.”
“If, as Mario Cuomo said, a politician campaigns in poetry and governs in prose, we can shove that notion aside in the case of Donald Trump. He campaigns in poetry in much the same way a wild hog sips chardonnay.”
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