“Now Trump is realizing that you become what you say on the microphone. His image wasn’t that bad before the campaign. But when he returns to New York after this race his brand won’t recover,” said New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Arianna Huffington interviewed Dowd about her latest book, The Year of Voting Dangerously: the Derangement of American Politics, at New York’s 92Y on Monday evening. Dowd critiqued Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as well as the media coverage of their campaigns. “Both candidates need scrutiny, not a free pass,” she noted.
Trump still provided more irresistible fodder, given his involvement with various media outlets and his latest venture, Trump Tower Live. “Tonight they launched Trump TV, with an interview of Kellyanne Conway,” who Dowd described as ‘Trump’s lion tamer.’ “For Trump the trap door in the upcoming election is that the system is rigged,” she added.
Like many others, Dowd has found herself the target of Trump’s Twitter tirades, though she said she was “disappointed that Trump insulted me generically.” She asked infamous SNL Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin for his reaction to Trump’s recent Twitter putdown. Baldwin’s reply: “I don’t feel bad because Trump is our best writer.”
Trump’s tiff with the New York Times over their story about women accusing him of unwanted sexual advances also hit close to home. Dowd said when New York Times lawyer David McCraw walked through the newsroom after he wrote the reply letter to Trump, he got an ovation.
On the Clinton side, Huffington asked Dowd about Bill Clinton’s role in Trump deciding to be a candidate. “Bill Clinton encouraged Trump to enter the race, but he’s not Frank Underwood,” said Dowd, referring to the conniving main character on Netflix’s House of Cards series. “Not even Bill could’ve predicted Trump would rise to the top of the Republican field,” Dowd added.
As for Hillary Clinton, “having the first woman running on the major party ticket has clearly unleashed sexism,” said Dowd. Her book summary describes this presidential race as “one of the nastiest and significant battles of the sexes ever.” Indeed, the word ‘nasty’ has gotten a lot of play since Trump’s “nasty woman” comment at the third debate.
“Hillary has issues, too: she doesn’t apologize, and as the recent Wikileaks emails show, her campaign staff scripted even her ‘off the record’ comments,” said Dowd. “Donald is the king of winging it and Hillary is the queen of homework,” she added.
Trump should’ve done more detailed prep on the etiquette at last week’s Al Smith charity dinner. “He was too harsh, and the New York society media elite were booing him,” said Dowd. “Then it hit him that his brand was damaged, and he left soon after the event ended.” Her post election forecast: “I think he’ll disappear like a fiery orange comet.”