New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman on Friday labeled former president Donald Trump as the “biggest demagogue” in politics the country has seen “in modern memory,” and “possibly in the history of the country.”
In an unusually blunt statement for a reporter, Haberman told CNN’s “New Day” anchors John Berman and Brianna Keilar that the recent suit brought by New York State attorney general Letitia James against the Trump Organization, Trump and his adult children touches on sore points for the former president.
“There’s no question that having a prosecutor stand up there and say he is not worth what he claims – he has made all kinds of statements about his finances that are not true – is something that he has tried to avoid for many, many decades,” Haberman said. “On a personal level for him, that cuts a little differently.”
The reporter also found Trump’s statement on “Hannity” Wednesday that a president can declassify government documents “by thinking about it” unusual. “I had never that heard before.”
But while that comment has gotten a lot of attention, Haberman focused on another part of the same statement, where Trump said that the declassification took place when he was sending materials to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
“That indicates that he intended to send these boxes,” she said. “Trump seemed to indicate that he had intended to send the boxes of material to his private club and home, whereas there has been this line from people around him that this was all, you know, an accident, things were just shipped out.”
“He even said himself in the interview, which is not true by the way, the General Services Administration, which is basically government officials, had packed the boxes. They have denied that they did that.
“They’ve tried leaning in on the idea that this was some kind of accident, and just now he seemed to suggest this was intentional,” Haberman emphasized.
Haberman also acknowledged Keiler’s suggestion, however, that Trump can use the New York State suit to his advantage.
“He will point to to say, you know, ‘I am a victim, they’re after me,'” Haberman said. “He has been, I think, the biggest demagogue we have seen in in politics, in national politics, in this country, in modern memory, possibly in the history of the country. And he is very good at using any time somebody is looking into possible misconduct or alleged misconduct and saying it’s an example of just how unfair it all is.”
Watch the full “New Day” segment with Haberman in the video above.