NBC reporter Katy Tur spent over 500 days on the campaign trail with Donald Trump. So when he defied all expectations and won the 2016 presidential election, she wasn’t all that surprised.
Speaking at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning, Tur said Trump “defied political gravity at every turn.”
The NBC reporter explained that seeing now-President Trump come out stronger after each controversy — from the bombshell report from The New York Times on his relationship with women to the revelation of the Access Hollywood tapes — confirmed her hypothesis that his base had made the decision to vote for him months prior to Election Day.
“He was getting 20,000 people to show up at a [campaign] rally in August of 2015 at a time when Jeb [Bush] and Marco [Rubio] were getting maybe a couple hundred,” Tur said.
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However, the journalist said she disagrees with the assessment that “the media elected” Donald Trump. “He got a lot of attention because he was getting a lot of attention,” she quipped.
“We would see such enthusiasm within these crowds,” Tur recounted. “You knew the people who showed up for a Trump rally — they would show up in subzero temperatures on a Wednesday afternoon — you know they were going to show up at the polls.”
Tur published Unbelievable, a memoir on the 2016 campaign, last month. Her advice to other journalists covering politics? “Don’t trust anything a politician or his staff says.”