A guard outside Trump’s executive suite waved a wand over me before opening the locked doors. Trump stood and shook my hand, wearing his usual uniform: crisp navy suit and bright-red tie. Not surprisingly, given the state of the race — this was a few days after Trump trounced Marco Rubio in Florida — his mood was good, boastful even. “So much for the face of the Republican Party—that’s the end of that!” he said of Rubio. “He was going to be president. By the way, Jeb Bush was going to be president. Walker was going to be president. They were all going to be president, except for the fact I got in their way!”
Trump turned to Hicks. “How many states have I won?”
“Twenty,” she said.
“So I’ve won 20. Cruz has won five. And I see Cruz on television last night saying, ‘I have proven I can beat Donald Trump!’ He didn’t say I beat him 20 times! It’s why I call him Lyin’ Ted!” (Cruz had actually won eight states by this point.)
I asked him about the lines that have become his signature. In most other campaigns there are speechwriters (and pollsters) for this. But there is clearly no team of comedy writers squirreled away downstairs.
“I’m the writer,” Trump said. “Let me start with Little Marco. He just looked like Little Marco to me. And it’s not Little. It’s Liddle. L-I-D-D-L-E. And it’s not L-Y-I-N-G Ted Cruz. It’s L-Y-I-N apostrophe. Ted’s a liar, so that was easy.”
All his utterances are, by his account, spontaneous. “It’s much easier to read a speech, obviously,” he said. “I speak from the brain and from the heart in combination, hopefully in equal combination.”
Just a fascinating piece of reporting. I'm shocked that the author was allowed this kind of access. Reading it is like watching those uncut videos where it takes a pride of lions 45 minutes to run down a sickly antelope.
Except in this case, I'm not sure who is playing which role.