Donald Trump tried to wine and dine Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins into a flattering profile. What he got instead was a 6,000-word examination of his insecurities and pathologies.
But don’t blame The Donald for believing his strategy would pay off. He probably thinks it worked before. Just take a look at the report Newsmax’s chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler filed in 2011.
Like Coppins, Kessler too was given the 5-star treatment at Mar-a-Lago (though Coppins’ trip South was largely the product of accident.) But Kessler had a different take on The Donald.
“Donald Trump can be outrageous and boastful. But when it comes to a successful run at the presidency, don’t underestimate him,” Kessler wrote after spending Martin Luther King Day weekend at Trump’s Palm Beach country club estate.
Kessler’s Trump is mostly decent. He’s a “master negotiator” and a family man.
“Every morning, Trump reads the papers with Barron, commenting on developments,” Kessler writes of Trump’s relationship with his youngest son.
Kessler also notes that, unlike the other clubs on Palm Beach that discriminate against Jews and blacks, Trump’s club is open to anyone who can fork up the dough.
“Trump is proud of the fact that unlike Palm Beach’s Bath and Tennis and Everglades clubs, Mar-a-Lago accepts Jews as members,” writes Kessler. “He loves to make fun of the town’s Old Guard who belong to those clubs.”
The point is not to slam Kessler for writing an overly fawning piece on Trump. Yes, Kessler probably gave too much credence to the idea that Trump was actually going to run for president in 2012. But his story was valuable as well — perhaps, in a way, even more valuable than Buzzfeed’s piece.
We learn in Buzzfeed’s piece about a deeply insecure billionaire who needs affirmation at every turn. Coppins’ story is highly entertaining and very well written, but did we actually learn anything new? Very few people who read Buzzfeed’s piece probably thought of Trump in any other way.