The Mirror

Trump aide resigns in wake of BuzzFeed profile: ‘It is poor form to accept Mr. Trump’s hospitality and then sh*t on him in print’

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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In the wake of the sharply negative profile of Donald Trump that appeared in BuzzFeed, one of Trump’s aides, Sam Nunberg, has resigned. Since when did Trump become a member of Congress or even Vice President Frank Underwood‘s aide in House of Cards? In an email to CNN’s Brian Stelter, who requested comment, Nunberg explains why he resigned and spares nothing where the profile’s author, BuzzFeed‘s McKay Coppins, is concerned. The Mirror obtained what looks to be a private email exchange.

It’s safe to say that Coppins is persona non grata to Trump and his employees. Maybe dead would be a better way to phrase it. One can’t help but think Trump might have taken sheer glee in saying the words “You’re fired!” to Nunberg as opposed to him simply resigning. But oh well.

In the email to Stelter, Nunberg, one of Trump’s “yes men,” as he was depicted in Coppins’ story, explained that he vouched for the reporter and BuzzFeed and therefore felt he must resign for the disastrous outcome. In reaction to the story, Nunberg insists Coppins’ career will be destroyed by the story. “As I take the long view, I am certain that Mr. Coppins unprofessional conduct will make Republicans, Democrats and all public figures reticent to ever trust him or give him any future access,” Nunberg wrote. “What goes around, come around. With this hit job and McKay’s ’40 percent’ comment during the Romney campaign, his professional reputation is null and void.”

Nunberg calls it “poor form” for Coppins to accept Trump’s “gracious” invitation to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, where there are apparently a lot of beautiful women, and then “shit on him in print.” In a later cleaned-up version of his response to Stelter, he changes “shit” to “disparage.” The Mirror personally thinks Nunberg should stick with “shit.” Coppins explains in his profile that he had to repeatedly explain to Trump about BuzzFeed‘s ethics policy. Trump ultimately sent Coppins a bill, but not before joking that he’d have to charge BuzzFeed $100,000 for the private plane ride there and so forth.

Asked if Coppins ever felt that Trump or his people expected favorable treatment for the luxurious arrangements in Palm Beach, he  told The Mirror Friday night, “As I wrote in the piece, I had to explain BuzzFeed’s ethics policy more than once to Trump, and I made clear that we would have to reimburse him with actual money — not repay him with a puff piece. As for whether he’s forever ruined BuzzFeed‘s relationship with Trump, Coppins explained, “I didn’t go into this adventure looking to build a relationship with Trump or ruin one; I wrote what I saw. It’s a shame he isn’t pleased with the final product but something tells me he will find it in his heart to forgive me eventually. He likes us reporters too much.”

See the full exchange between Stelter and Nunberg below. Please note the shift in subject from one email to the other.

Subject: CNN inquiry

Mr. Nunberg,

My name is Brian Stelter. I’m a media reporter and anchor for CNN. I’m working on a followup to the BuzzFeed piece about Donald Trump, and I’m told by an associate of yours — on condition of anonymity — that you are no longer working with Mr. Trump in the wake of the piece. Can you confirm this and describe the circumstances? Furthermore, is it correct to describe you as a political strategist who worked for Trump on a part-time basis for years? I’ve pieced together some details via past coverage, but want to make sure I’ve got it all right.

Thank you, –Brian

Subject: Reply to the CNN media inquiry re: McKay Coppins’ hatchet job

Dear Mr. Stelter:

Thank you for the inquiry.

I have the highest personal regard for Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization. All my former colleagues were of the utmost professionalism. I tendered my resignation directly to Mr. Trump on Friday morning after the publication of what I considered to be an incredible pejorative hit piece by McKay Coppins in BuzzFeed. While I did not expect a love letter, I expect an unbiased, professional and balanced article. Sadly, the number of rife inaccuracies, mean spirited tone and complete failure of Mr. McKay to properly reflect when Mr. Trump was speaking to him in a sarcastic manner, in a blatant effort to depict in the worst possible light.

For example, Mr. Coppins reports that he was “the only national reporter” for Mr. Trump’s speech before the NH Institute of Politics (NHIOP), when in fact Fox, CNN, Boston Globe, the Associated Press, Reuters and the all important WMUR, Manchester Union Leader and Concord Monitor gave the event balanced coverage. Mr. McKay lie about such a trivial matter?

Just last week on February 7th, the well-respected, established and professional Brad Cook of New Hampshire Business Review wrote the following: “On Jan. 21, Donald Trump, entrepreneur, developer, television star and interesting personality, appeared at “Politics & Eggs” at Saint Anselm College, sponsored by the New Hampshire College and University Council and the New England Council.

Trump, appearing on a frigid morning before a record crowd, addressed current affairs, party politics and, by his very presence, started a buzz about whether he plans to be a presidential candidate in 2016. The crowd noted several things from Trump’s performance. In no particular order, he certainly is self-confident, focused on Donald Trump, and well-connected. Everyone he mentioned, from politicians of both parties, to sports figures, to individuals, either were his “friends” or people he had seen recently. Personally, I expected Trump to be plastic, overbearing and superficial. To the contrary, he appeared intelligent, relatively insightful and analytical.”

You can confirm with Neil Levesque, Excecutive Director of the NHIOP who is cc’ed, as the best attended event they ever had, in an off year election. Further, NHIOP has extended an open invite for Mr. Trump to return which one would not know by reading Mr. Coppin’s prose. Also, immediately after Mr. Trump’s New Hampshire visit, his first in over three years, he polled higher than Sen. Cruz, Gov. Walker and Gov. Jeb Bush.

Because I coordinated the logistics of Mr. Coppin’s access to Mr. Trump and vouched for his professionalism and underestimated the venom of his editor Ben Smith, who took over four weeks to ‘edit’ the piece and the result hatchet job, I tendered my resignation immediately and without hesitation Friday morning. Mr. Trump graciously accepted and we exchanged no harsh words.

As proof of Mr. Coppin’s malice, I cite the fact that he refers to me, his legal counsel and his personal security guard as “yes men”because we render services to Mr. Trump. Further, Mr. Trump is not interested in employing “yes men” as he demands sincere and candid advice. Also, does Mr. Coppins depict those who serve Pres. Obama or Gov. Cuomo as “yes men”?

I continue to applaud Mr. Trump’s willingness to engage in the political on behalf of the conservative values he holds dear. If he was a liberal billionaire, like George Soros, whose current litigation with a former lover is not covered at BuzzFeed, Ben Smith and the crowd at BuzzFeed would be kissing Mr. Trump’s ass.

It is important to understand that Mr. Coppins was merely scheduled to travel from New Hampshire to New York with Mr. Trump. But when Mr. Trump’s 757 was unable to land at Laguardia because of poor weather and was diverted to Palm Beach, Mr. Trump graciously invited Mr. Coppins to stay at his club, eat his food and drink. While I in no way think this gracious gesture should guarantee favorable coverage by Mr. Coppins, I do think it is poor form to accept to Mr. Trump’s hospitality and then shit on him in print.

As I take the long view, I am certain that Mr. Coppins unprofessional conduct will make Republicans, Democrats and all public figures reticent to ever trust him or give him any future access. What goes around, come around. With this hit job and McKay’s “40 percent” comment during the Romney campaign, his professional reputation is null and void.

I also take solace with 100% certainty that more BuzzFeed visitors saw cat videos or took tests to determine their sexuality than actually read this piece. Since you contacted me through the Middle East Forum, let me note that none of Mr. Trump’s activities have anything to do with the Forum, which is a distinct current client of mine. My services to Mr. Trump have centered around communications and scheduling. It was an honor to work for this great entrepreneur.

Please do not hesitate to follow up with any other questions you may have.


Sam Nunberg