Donald Trump targeted ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos after the reporter asked him about Russia in a 2016 interview in a tirade laced with anecdotes, according to a book to be published next week.
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman’s book “Confidence Man” details the fascinating behind-the-scenes episode that occurred after Stephanopoulos had a sit-down interview with Trump, then a presidential candidate.
Haberman’s book will be released on Tuesday, but CNN obtained an excerpt detailing the incident between Stephanopoulos and Trump.
Haberman wrote in the book that when the cameras went off, “storm clouds rolled into Trump’s face.”
“Trump called an ABC producer into a small area away from the cameras, where Trump was surrounded by Secret Service agents, and said, ‘That was bulls-t,'” Haberman wrote.
ABC News producer John Santucci asked what specific part of the interview Trump was referring to.
“Russia,” Trump replied, according to Haberman. “Eight f-king follow-f-king are you kidding me? It’s like asking if I hit my wife. You ask me one time, I say, ‘F—– no,’ and we move on. Then you don’t ask her if I hit her with a baseball bat or a golf club!” That was bulls-t and you better fix it in f-king editing.”
After rebuking Santucci, Trump called Stephanopoulos, Haberman reported.
Trump, Haberman wrote, mentioned Russia and Stephanopoulos laughed and said, “I know, my team says I didn’t ask you enough.”
That turned Trump on.
“Are you f–king kidding me! Eighteen f–king follow-ups—how many different ways do I have to say I don’t know the guy?” Trump said, according to Haberman.
Trump then left, Haberman wrote.
ABC News declined to comment when asked about the matter Wednesday.
Although the incident is years old, it offers a unique behind-the-camera look at how Trump treated the press, especially after a controversial television interview.
Asked for comment, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich dismissed the report in broad terms. Budowich said the “coastal elites” are obsessed with “boring books” that are “unreliable sources”.
Haberman, however, has one of the most impressive records covering Trump. He has consistently covered news about Trump during his campaign for office and in the White House. And it has continued to do so after his presidency.