McKay Coppins - "The Wilderness" and Hanging Out with Donald Trump

April 27, 2016 - McKay Coppins 04/27/2016 Views: 962

BuzzFeed News Senior Political Writer McKay Coppins discusses his book "The Wilderness" and reveals how he made an enemy of Donald Trump. (5:21)

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My guest tonight isa senior political writer

for BuzzFeed News and the authorof The Wilderness.

Please welcome McKay Coppins!

(applause and cheering)

Right there.

-Welcome to the show.-Thank you.

This is, uh, so goodto have you here.

Although, I don't... I don'tknow if it's-it's that good.

-I read reviewsabout your writing. -(laughs)

And, um, this is what I've...what I've read.

Uh, you've been calleda "slum bag..."

"slimebag reporter."

You've been calleda slimebag reporter,

a scumbag loser.

Uh, some of your reviewscall you

"True garbagewith no credibility."

Um, and that was from,uh, Donald Trump.

-Yes.-Was, uh...

Donald Trump very kindlyreviewed the book.

Uh, we put those quoteson our Amazon page, actually.

-(laughter)-I feel like that'll push sales.

Yeah. No, I wear itas a badge of honor, his...

How... how did you getto that point with Donald Trump?

Donald Trumpbarely acknowledges anybody.

For him to go after youpersonally, what did you?

Uh, well, through a seriesof kind of freak accidents,

I ended up spending a coupledays at his house in Palm Beach.

-Uh, and... (laughs)-What does that even mean?

-I was... I was...-What does that... like...

That sounds like the plot of,like, The Political Hangover.

-You can't just be like,-(laughter)

"Oh, througha weird series of events,

I ended upat Donald Trump's house and..."

I mean, I don't want...I don't want to spoil the book.

No, I ended up... I wassupposed to fly to New York

from New Hampshire with him onhis, like, huge plane, you know?

And we ended up...because of a blizzard,

we were rerouted to Palm Beach.

And I was kind of juststranded there for two days.

So I spent a couple daysjust hanging out with him

and wrote a profilethat he, uh, didn't...

he reacted very strongly to,as you read.

What... what...So you hung out with him?

-Yes. -What did you notice?What does he do?

-Um...-What is he like in person?

-(laughs): He's...-What does he smell like?


He has a very distinct scent.

Uh, he sm...he smells of wealth.


Yeah. No, I mean, I remem...the most distinct memory

I have from that whole trip

was when we first got to his,like, beachside compound--

-it's called Mar-a-Lago---Yes.

and he was, like,trying to schmooze me,

and he was, like,telling his minions, like,

"Get him whatever he wants.Get him a change of clothes.

Get him a bathing suit.Get him food."

And then he leaned inreally close to me,

and he was like, "There are alot of good-looking women here."

As though he was, like, offeringthem to me or something.

Um, it was a surreal moment.

The whole thing wasincredibly surreal.

-It was bizarre. -Did youtake him up on the offer?


my wife is back there,so I probably shouldn't say. No.

I also like...I also like the idea that Trump

has actual Minionsworking there.

-He really does.-Like, I picture him, like,

saying things to them,"We need to build a wall,"

and they're like,"Wall, hee-hee-hee-hee!"

-(laughter)-Like, running around.


Now... your book is, uh...

has a very long title.

I mean, it's called The Wilderness,

but then it's, Deep Inside the Republican Party's

Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest

to Take Back the White House.

You work for BuzzFeed.

The title of this book is longerthan most BuzzFeed articles.


What's the deal?Are you just releasing?

I... Just, it's stored up.

I mean, the publisher rejectedmy original plan,

which was just to writethe whole thing in emojis.

Um, but they said, no,

you have to, like,write actual English words.

You-you wrote a lotof predictions in this book.

You wrote this book in...December, basically, right?

-It came out in December.Yeah, yeah. -Yeah.

Why would you make allof those predictions so early

in the race? 'Cause almostevery prediction is wrong.

The stories are all right,but you were like,

Donald will be out;the Republicans are going to,

uh, stop him;Fox News is gonna stop him.

Everything has not happened...

-Yeah.-in this book.

This book is sort of like...

sort of likethe Bible right now.

The stories are wonderful,

but the predictionsare like: Eh.


Um... yeah, well, that wasa new experience for me.

As someonewho writes about politics,

I never get predictions wrong--that's not something

-pundits do generally.-Do you still predict now?

Uh, no, no, no. I don't...I mean, this election's...

I like how defeated you are."No, no, no, no, no.

-It's all madness." -I mean,I think this election cycle

has cured all punditsof their overconfidence.

-You'd be surprised.-Uh, any commenta...

Well, may... Any smart or-orself-respecting commentators.

I mean, my thing now is wheneversomebody tries to make me...

make a prediction, is I just,like, do the cable news copout

of, like, "Well, we'lljust have to see what happens."

-You know? Um...-That's a great copout.

-Yeah.-I've seen that on TV.

-I've done it on TV.-Give me one pr...

It's a comedy show. Give meone prediction, just for...

Cruz/Fiorina versus Trump--

does Cruz win enough delegates

to make the conventioncontested?

Well, I mean, the...I mean, Trump is...

the odds-on favorite at thispoint to win the convention.

I think Cruz is gonna try to,like, shake things up.

This is, I mean, he believes

that he was destined by Godto be president.

-I write about that. -Whichis another story in this book.

No, it's another real story.He does...

-(laughter) -God told him...This is very much

like the Bible,now that I think about it.

A man was told by Godto do something crazy,

and he was like, "Yeah,let's do it. Let's do it.

And the people shall follow me."

It's a fascinating book.

Wonderful storiescoming from it.

Thank you so muchfor joining us.

-Thank you. Thanks. -The Wilderness...

-(cheering, applause)-is available now.

McKay Coppins, everybody.We'll be right back.

-♪ -Thank you so much.

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