President Trump's impromptu interview with The New York Times last week went viral for all the wrong reasons. With no official presidential staff nearby, reporter Michael Schmidt was able to sit down with the President for an unfiltered 30 minutes, which apparently was news to the White House and led to great consternation.
The interview took place in the Grill Room at Trump's private golf resort Mar-a-Lago. According to the Washington Post, the interview was arranged by Christopher Ruddy, a club member with a high level of personal access to the president, who invited Times reporter Michael Schmidt to lunch at Trump International Golf Club.
Schmidt talked with Trump over lunch, while the President was still in his golf clothes.
Excerpts from the interview made the rounds online.
“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”
"He’s been amazing. And he’s a liberal Democrat. I don’t know him. He’s a liberal Democrat. I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day, he said, No. 1, there is no collusion, No. 2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion. And he said that very strongly. He said there was no collusion. And he has studied this thing very closely. I’ve seen him a number of times. There is no collusion, and even if there was, it’s not a crime. But there’s no collusion. I don’t even say [inaudible]. I don’t even go that far."
As soon as word reached the White House that Trump was talking to the Times, they apparently did their best to reach him. Many White House aides, according to The Washington Post, are not fans of Mar-a-Lago, as President Trump is less constrained in the comforts of his personal golf course.
At one point, Trump’s personal aide interrupted the interview to hand him a cellphone with White House communications director, Hope Hicks, on the line to check in and possibly halt the interview.
“What interview? Today?"
Yes and Yes.
I so don’t care about their headaches. Much more concerned about our future — which should be causing us all headaches.— four waters (@fourwaters) December 30, 2017
Like they really give a crap! He could walk out on 5 th Avenue and shoot somebody and his cabinet and followers would deny it!— Vonda J. Walkama (@VWalkama) December 29, 2017
The problem is he most likely left that interview believing in his demented mind that he crushed it.— Diane Bradley (@dieeane) December 29, 2017
Further shows that he speaks from the heart without being filtered by professionals. That has its negatives, but you cannot deny that he is being genuine.— StandsAlone (@LoureiroArt) December 29, 2017
What evidence do we have that having an aide or advisor nearby has ever helped him stay on message?— Jennifer Cooney (@JenniferCooney9) December 29, 2017
Just another day in the life of Trump's White House, I guess.