No journalist has followed Donald Trump more closely than Maggie Haberman. From his time as a subject of senationalistic New York talbloid headlines, to his presidential campaign, to his tenure at the White House and his time since leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Ms Haberman has chronicled every step.
Her proclivity for giving America an inside look into Mr Trump’s world has culminated in Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, due to hit shelves on 4 October.
The book has already made a lot of news. Here are some of the biggest revelations so far.
Eight months before the book’s publication, Axiosreported an excerpt from the book which revealed that White House residential staff found wads of paper clogging the toilet, leading them to believe that he was flushing documents down the toilet. Mr Trump dismissed the allegation as “fake news”, but later, Ms Haberman published images of pieces of paper in the toilet.
Claiming he didn’t watch the Capitol riot on television
In an excerpt of her book for The Atlantic, the former president said that he did not watch the January 6 riot at the US Capitol on television, contradicting witness reports.
“I didn’t usually have the television on. I’d have it on if there was something. I then later turned it on and I saw what was happening,” he told Ms Haberman.
“I was having meetings,” he said. “I was also with Mark Meadows and others. I was not watching television.”
This directly contradicted testimony from many former administration officials such as Gen Keith Kellog, who was former vice president Mike Pence’s national security adviser. Similarly, Molly Michael, a former executive assistant to the president, said, “It’s my understanding he was watching television.” Meanwhile, former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said simply “yes,” when asked whether violent scenes were on display and that the former president watched them.
‘Nothing of great consequence’
Months before the FBI executed a search warrant, Mr Trump reportedly told Ms Haberman that he took “nothing of great urgency” when he left Washington, according to The Atlantic excerpt.
“He demurred when I asked if he had taken any documents of note upon departing the White House—’nothing of great urgency, no,’ he said,” she wrote, before he then said that he mentioned letters that he took letters from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. He then seemed to backtrack.
“No, I think that’s in the archives, but … Most of it is in the archives, but the Kim Jong-un letters … We have incredible things,” Mr Trump reportedly said.
What he thinks of Ron DeSantis
In the same Atlantic excerpt, Ms Haberman revealed what Mr Trump reportedly thinks of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Mr Trump endorsed the governor in 2018 during the GOP primary, but since then, Mr DeSantis has at times eclipsed Mr Trump for his lax approach to combating the Covid-19 pandemic, restricting abortion and opposing LGBT+ rights.
All of this has led some to wonder whether Mr DeSantis will challenge Mr Trump in 2024. “I heard that Trump was describing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in similar terms, calling him ‘fat,’ ‘phony,’ and ‘whiny,’ while claiming credit for making his candidacy in 2018,” Ms Haberman wrote.
Trump’s relationship with the author
Mr Trump has frequently criticised Ms Haberman throughout her coverage of him. But at one point during one of their interviews, he told two aides, “I love being with her; she’s like my psychiatrist.”
“It was a meaningless line, almost certainly intended to flatter, the kind of thing he has said about the power of release he got from his Twitter feed or other interviews he has given over the years,” she wrote. “The reality is that he treats everyone like they are his psychiatrists—reporters, government aides, and members of Congress, friends and pseudo-friends and rally attendees and White House staff and customers.”
Why Trump ran
Beyond all the commotion, one of the most vexing questions about the former real estate tycoon-turned-reality show host is why he would run for president in the first place, given his fame and wealth.
“The question I get asked more than any other question: ‘If you had it to do again, would you have done it?” he told Ms Haberman. “The answer is, yeah, I think so. Because here’s the way I look at it. I have so many rich friends and nobody knows who they are.”