Swamp Dweller – Katy Tur’s Book Party

I’m a proud swamp dweller. I have lived in Washington since 1989, since my son Luke was three-and-half, since my late husband, Tim Russert, was sent here to become the NBC Washington Bureau Chief, before he ever dreamed he’d be on TV as moderator of Meet the Press. So I have witnessed five Presidents come and four of them go. There is usually an excitement to watching a new administration set itself up, for the journalists who’ll cover it to get their new assignments, or maybe even have new neighbors move in who will work for the administration. But nothing has prepared us lifers here for Donald Trump. This town has not been directly hit by a hurricane, yet every day we can feel the turbulence all around us.

When the Clintons first came to Washington in 1992, people could not believe all their scandals in the first six months—Travelgate, Whitewater, Vince Foster’s suicide, Hillary’s work for the Rose Law Firm, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But Trump is absolutely racing past them—with all the investigations, the forced resignations of his staff and Cabinet, the unfilled positions in government agencies and all our embassies around the world, the fights he picks on Twitter, not to mention our wondering if any day we are going to the brink of nuclear war with North Korea. In the swamp Race for Chaos, Trump continues to beat Hillary—by miles.

So now the books about how our 45th President got here in the first place are beginning to roll out. This spring brought the denouement of Hillary’s hapless campaign, Shattered. Great read. Now NBC’s Katy Tur has her tell- all on the Trump campaign, Unbelievable, one of his favorite words. Thrillingly for Katy, Unbelievable debuted at #2 this week on the New York Times bestseller list. Nothing could be sweeter for a first time author. Thus everyone was in high spirits the other night when the legendary Andrea Mitchell, the hardest working woman in “news business”, and Katie’s colleague at NBC, threw her a rollicking book party at the tony Jefferson Hotel. I had a great time there absorbing the high energy, especially around the bar, and asking what it was like to cover the man Katy describes as a hunk of marmalade. “Roller coaster that never stops,” “unprecedented” and “whip lashing”, were just a few of the adjectives thrown around.  “My mother’s a psychologist,” Eli Stokols, White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal said, “and she told me that when I go on TV trying to explain what’s happening I talk like a psychologist.”

While Katy lived a nightmare of enduring ugly threats from his supporters and taunts from Trump himself, who belittled her as “third rate” and accused her of perpetrating fake news, she inadvertently landed the dream job that enabled her to march to the top of the political journalism heap– all because she was assigned to cover a campaign nobody thought would last six weeks. And when the book came out, the President also gave her a boost that money can’t buy:

Fascinating to watch people writing books and major articles about me and yet they know nothing about me & have zero access. #FAKE NEWS!

“He tweeted about me!, “ Katy told me. “I couldn’t believe my luck.”

In the polite ways of swamp that still persist, Katy also thanked the welcomed guests at the party from the Trump campaign who had helped her on the road and made this all possible. Aglow in a floral printed ankle length dress and engaged to a handsome CBS correspondent, Tony Dokoupil, Katy Tur has proved the line from her book—the one that explained why she decided to call off a vacation in Sicily and abandon her French boyfriend to follow Trump: “Why be happy when you can be great?”

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