BuzzFeed political reporter McKay Coppins spent 36 hours schlepping around New Hampshire — and then Palm Beach — with Donald Trump for a story that would expose the billionaire’s hot bluff of a gubernatorial run as precisely that.
But the piece went one further. Padded to the gills with prime snippets of Trump’s political posturing and pandering, it cost The Donald’s top advisor and political consultant, Sam Nunberg, his job.
Nunberg’s crime, it seems, was simply letting Donald Trump act like Donald Trump — in the presence of an enemy combatant. The aide, as Trump told the New York Post, had vouched for Coppins’ loyalties, assuring his boss that the reporter “is a friend of mine” whose story “will be fair.” Were he to publish a “wise-guy story,” the deal was, Nunberg would be fired.
Then Coppins published a “wise-guy story.” Then Nunberg was fired.
But not before he offered to resign. In Apprentice fashion, Trump insisted on having the last word, the Post reports:
“I told [Trump] when he fired me, ‘Sir, I’m willing to offer you my resignation.’ He didn’t accept that,’’ 32-year-old political consultant Sam Nunberg told the Post. But “this is not unfair, honestly,’’ insisted Nunberg, who lives on the Upper East Side. “I failed Mr. Trump, and that’s the long and short of it.”
And on Twitter, where Trump frequently unleashes his most vitriolic exclamations, the magnate had words of his own for the reporter:
@mckaycoppins is a failed and dishonest reporter who refuses to mention the sarcasm in my voice when referring to him or irrelevant buzzfeed— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2014
How come discredited reporter @mckaycoppins refused to write that the events in New Hampshire, Buffalo and N.Y. were all record breakers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2014
So what’s so groundbreaking about the BuzzFeed scoop that it earned Trump’s ire?
Well, nothing — and everything. There are no particularly salacious revelations of fact. Instead, it’s Coppins’ tone, and his refusal to take Trump’s media charade especially seriously — mixing in the would-be candidate’s prepared remarks with offhand mutterings and grumblings — that has enraged the billionaire.
And it’s what makes Coppins’ piece an outrageously entertaining read. Trump’s meltdown reaction probably only works to ensure that it will be as widely read as possible.