“I never met her,” President Donald Trump told pool reporters aboard Air Force One today. “She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional, and I respect professionals. I respect you guys a lot, you people a lot. She was a real professional. Never treated me well, but I certainly respect her as a professional.”
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Roberts died today due to complications from breast cancer.
The pool report noted that Trump’s 50-minute conversation with journalists during the Albuquerque-to-Mountain View flight mostly was off the record, but the president did allow the Roberts comments, among others, to be on the record.
The former commanders in chief, presented here in chronological order, were more traditionally presidential in their eulogizing.
Bill Clinton tweeted: “I liked and respected Cokie Roberts very much. She understood people and politics. For nearly half a century, she was an institution in American journalism — tough but fair, insightful, and with a voice all her own. She’ll be missed.”
George W. Bush, in a statement: “We are deeply saddened that Cokie Roberts is no longer with us. She covered us for decades as a talented, tough, and fair reporter. We respected her drive and appreciated her humor. She became a friend.”
Barack Obama, in a statement: “Michelle and I are sad to hear about the passing of Cokie Roberts. She was a trailblazing figure; a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way. She will be missed – and we send our condolences to her family.”