Catching up with Jason Miller

Jason Miller

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have a one-on-one with communications strategist Jason Miller, whose political acumen I have always admired. When we reached out to him, he located a quiet spot in Midtown Manhattan where we were able to schmooze freely about what it was like being the chief spokesperson for the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign, as well as a senior adviser to his re-election campaign in 2020. He spoke candidly about Trump’s triumphs and losses.

He also shared his thoughts about Gettr, the social media network he recently launched, and the prospects for a 2024 presidential campaign by the 45th president of the United States. Throughout our conversation Jason was amicable and candid—and perhaps even more importantly to me personally—a great interviewee.

You’ve been with Trump for a number of years. What do you think connects the two of you?

I think he sees me as a partner he can trust, someone who is loyal, worked tirelessly for him and understands his approach, which is so unique and unorthodox that it’s difficult to find someone who truly gets what he’s thinking. Another factor is my ability to adapt to his style. One of the greatest compliments you can get when you write something and take it to the principal is for him to say, “Wait, did I dictate that to you, or did you write that?” That was part of the reason why we were able to get back to everything so seamlessly in 2020; there wasn’t any ramp-up period.

When did you first get in touch with the Trump team?
When President Trump was thinking about running for president in 2012, I was going to be his campaign manager. I’d worked for Rudy Giuliani during his 2008 presidential campaign. That’s where I met Ken Kurson, who became a good friend and attended my wedding. I also met Jared Kushner through him, when Ken connected me to him to talk about the 2012 race, although President Trump obviously didn’t run. At the time, it seemed to me like a leverage play to get some more money for The Apprentice, and I didn’t think he would run in the future. So I signed on with Senator Cruz in 2014, very early in the 2016 cycle. We had a very strong second place finish. Then about a month after Senator Cruz dropped out following the Indiana primary, I got a call from Jared saying that the Trump campaign wanted me on board.

Were you able to control Tump?
That was never a goal. Part of the reason why I was hired is that Jared told me, “We’re not bringing you on because you’ve managed presidential and gubernatorial races, or races for the House and Senate, or because you’ve been a chief of staff on Capitol Hill. The reason has nothing to do with this experience. It’s because you can adapt and work with larger-than-life principals.” It was true. I’d worked with a lot of people with large profiles like Rudy, Ted Cruz and Mark Sanford. “In a sense,” Jared said, “you’re going to have to take everything you’ve learned about politics over the last 20 years and throw it out the window, because that’s what my father-in-law is going to do. But you’ve shown that you can build operations around very unique and high-energy principals.” I said, “That’s very nice. Thank you for the kind words.” Then he added, “It’s also because we’ve tried everything else and it hasn’t worked, so hopefully you’ll figure out what to do.”

The fact that Jared was already having conversations like that with you in 2012 is illuminating, unless the whole thing really was only about creating leverage.
I think there was a difference between 2012 and 2016. In 2012, I think he was just sending out a trial balloon on President Trump’s behalf. But in 2016 and 2020, there was a singular focus on “we have to get him elected.” Jared was very active in that process.

Did you actually disregard all of your experience in order to work for the campaign?
No, because everyone has certain habits and things that he’s used to. President Trump had an economic plan that he wanted to roll out, so two or three of us spent a couple of days working around the clock to put together the best communications plan you’ve ever seen: Here’s the show we’re going to announce it on, here’s what the press release will look like, here’s what all the people will say and do. But when I went to President Trump and handed it to him, he looked at me, looked at the plan and said, “How much time did you waste on this thing?” Uh-oh. That’s not usually the response you’re looking for. So I said, “Just a couple of hours.” He said, “No. This was a lot of work. You guys put a lot of time into this.” “Okay,” I conceded, “maybe it was the better part of a day.” He said, “Why didn’t you just come and talk to me first? I’m going to call Matt Lauer of the Today Show. He’ll take me live and I’ll tell him about the plan, which will go out to four or five million people. I won’t even have to get out of my pajamas, and that will drive the news for the entire day. Crooked Hillary won’t even be out of bed yet. You probably spent a lot of time on this thing, and I could have saved you from all of that.”
I thought about it and realized that he wasn’t wrong. Yes, we’d put together a great plan, but the way he works with the media is to go big with everything. He has always recognized how star power works. He does everything differently because he doesn’t have decades of traditional political thought; he just does it his own way. He always wants to drive the news cycle and be the one who is setting the agenda. That drove the mainstream media crazy, but it was almost like a drug to them. They couldn’t say no. They’d be upset and frustrated, but then they would cover everything he did.

He was also selling newspapers and driving up viewing numbers for them, so they had a financial interest as well.
He has said numerous times, in several different versions, that he has created more jobs in the media than anyone in modern history, and it really gets under their skin because he’s right. Their ratings have all collapsed without him. CNN and MSNBC have seen their ratings tank.

Is Twitter also suffering as a result?
Yes. They’ve taken a hit to their stock price after deplatforming him. But his genius is that he has a way to frame things in a way that cuts through everything and sticks, such as saying that Twitter and social media have become boring because he’s not on them anymore. At least 25% of Trump voters have effectively left social media since he was kicked off. Saying that it’s boring is almost worse than an actual attack on Twitter and Facebook, because if it’s boring, why would you use it?

Donald Trump believes in his own messaging and that he himself is his best spokesperson. What was it like working for someone like that?
This is where someone who’s in PR and communications might have a difficult time, but I never viewed my job as trying to put words into President Trump’s mouth. I never aspired to be the sole voice of authority. My job was to be the person best able to amplify what he wanted to say, help deliver it to other allies in concise, specific terms so they could also become amplifiers, and fight back against the media, which were inherently biased against Donald Trump. Too many people in communications say, “I’m going to write a flowery speech and he’s going to deliver it exactly as I wrote it, and I’m going to be the hero behind the scenes.” That’s not the job. President Trump knows what he wants to say, but he comes to me to find out the best way to augment it so that other people are saying it. In other words, “I can only be in one place at a time. How can you help organize and mobilize people to do things even when I’m not there?” That was my job.
Another thing I learned was to never speak in absolutes or box the president into any position. (Laughs.) I would often qualify statements with “Let me tell you what he’s trying to get to,” as opposed to some single, definitive sentence that limits how he’s going to be going forward.
There was a bit of a feeling of playing with house money, in that we could do fun and crazy things that no one else could do, like bringing Clinton’s accusers to the debate in 2016 or bringing Anthony Bobulinski to the 2020 debate. Anyone else would have been too nervous to do things like that.

But what happens to you and your experience?
Here’s what I’ve learned. President Trump understands that with so many things going on in people’s lives, you have to be very bold and strike very quickly. You can’t sound like a politician. I’ll give you an example. The president had a rally in Alabama that drew nearly 50,000 people, and we had Gettr charging stations set up all over. We also had an airplane banner, because I said that with so many people we needed to have something like that so everyone could see it. My team came up with a few different ideas for what the banner should say, but they were just basic slogans. I said, “People are going to be standing there waiting in line. We need something that’s going to make them laugh. Let’s just write ‘Twitter sucks. Join Gettr.’” My team looked at me and asked, “Do you really want to do that?” “Absolutely,” I replied. “If we have a plane flying around the stadium with that for four hours, people will get it. They’ll laugh, and it’ll cut right through everything.”

Do you think that’s a Trump-style message?

Do you think that his style is exclusive to him and can’t be copied, or after seeing him in action, would you recommend it to a different candidate ten years from now?
His approach is his approach. Part of the reason why he won in 2016 was that he wasn’t viewed as a politician. He didn’t walk or talk like one. Any of the other Republicans would have lost Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, but he was able to flip all three of them. I think there are certain tactics that people might be able to use, but as far as his style… You can’t coach personality, and people don’t change their stripes. If you’re a legislator and that’s been your career for decades, you’re going to talk like a legislator.

Marco Rubio tried to do it towards the end of his campaign but it backfired and he apologized.
There are certain tactics, such as doing your own social media or being more off-the-cuff in speech, which can work. But his actual style and strategy are unique to him. No one would be able to do it the same way.

What do you think is the most important impact he’s had?
From a stylistic perspective, the fact that he took on the swamp and exposed how DC is almost its own political party. It isn’t just Democrat versus Republican, it’s also swamp versus not the swamp. He exposed just how entrenched the political forces are in Washington. I always say that compromise in DC is when Republicans say, “Let’s spend $80 billion,” Democrats say, “Let’s spend $100 billion,” and they compromise by spending $120 billion. That’s the mentality.

The swamp fought back very strongly.
Of course it did, but Trump was the first one—possibly since Andrew Jackson—to actually stand up and be a man of the people. He was the first president to never hold a previous office other than George Washington, who had been a general.

Trump completely blew apart the mainstream media and exposed many “journalists” as frauds and biased in their approach. And yet, they were successful in portraying him as a volatile president who loved violence, even though he started no new wars and did whatever he could to put an end to US military deaths. He also facilitated more peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors than any president in history, and they deliberately ignored it.
It’s really frustrating. One of the key things he did in 2016 was to expose the rift between common working people and the elites in Washington who believe in permanent wars, so to speak. But he also realized that you have to be very firm: your allies have to respect you, and your enemies need to fear you. That was the approach he took with the Abraham Accords. He said, “We’re not going to put up with any nonsense. We’re going to get a peace deal done. We’re going to back Israel and defend the Jewish people. You can either get with the program or we’re going to have issues.” I think Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, Avi Berkowitz and some of the other folks in the administration did a great job of getting peace deals done.
The reason why those agreements have held is that a lot of people who were more adversarial during previous administrations came to respect him. For example, the relationship with Saudi Arabia greatly improved under President Trump. People knew that he was going to stand his ground, but they also knew that he wasn’t trying to impose some kind of imperial US force around the world for all eternity. He ended up putting together seven peace deals, if I’m not mistaken, which is quite impressive. Think back to 2016, when Crooked Hillary would have all those retired generals or defense community people signing letters saying that we can’t trust Trump on foreign policy. I told him about a month ago that I believe his foreign policy legacy will be the most enduring. People will look back and realize what a great foreign policy leader he was, which wasn’t something they would have thought going in. But he had the right principles, and he knows what the American people are thinking.

The Orthodox Jewish community has stood very firmly behind President Trump. Why do you think their trust in him isn’t misplaced?
Because he has done everything he said he was going to do. He moved the embassy, he stands unequivocally with the people of Israel, and he stands uniformly against those who want to destroy Israel or the Jewish people. After decades of Jewish Americans’ trust being violated by politicians… By no means was he the first to promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Almost every president or presidential candidate had been saying that for decades. But while everyone else came up with excuses for why it couldn’t be done, he actually went and did it. Just imagine what could be done if we get him back for another four years.

I was speaking to attorney Robert Barnes, who made a similar point. He told me that he comes from a blue-collar background, and that Donald Trump tapped into the blue-collar workers and kept his promises to them. Whatever people may say about him, he certainly kept his campaign promises.
During the 2020 campaign, I got a chance to listen to a lot of stories from him. One of the things he told me was how he used to go to construction sites with his father when he was younger and talk to the “lunch pail guys.” They would show him how to make an A-frame or an even pour. Then he asked me if I knew what an even pour was, and I had to say no because my dad was a welder; he wasn’t in construction. He then spent ten minutes walking me through how to do an even pour with concrete. Even though he’s a billionaire, he still sees himself as a lunch pail type of person who gets his hands dirty and can relate to the guy who’s making an hourly wage. He feels that connection.

He really changed the Republican Party.
Completely. He changed its state support, religious support and racial support.

And like Ronald Reagan in his time, he has become its new platform.
The Republican Party is now the platform of the working class.

Did you notice that right away as a political strategist?
When I was working for Ted Cruz, I noticed how Trump had an event attended by 20,000 people while we had maybe 2,000 people at our largest event. One of the first things I said when I started working for him was, “You’re the first guy without a guitar to fill up a stadium.” I realized that this was something different.

At what point in the 2016 campaign did you think he had enough votes to win?
I knew pretty early on that he would be too tough to beat in the primary. He had a bit of a rough stretch when he had some leadership changes in the summer of 2016, but as we got down to the wire I realized that Hillary Clinton couldn’t get above 45% of the vote. We knew that the rule is that the undecideds would break to the challenger. She was effectively the incumbent because she’d been part of the system for so long, so going into Election Day I knew without a doubt that we would win.

What was Election Night 2016 like for you?
I think that some of the enormity of the task at hand was starting to set in. It was like, “We’re the dog that caught the car. Now what?” Things became a lot more serious and the world got a lot bigger.

Some people say that the president was shocked that he won. Was he?
I get this question a lot. A lot of people say he never thought he could win, but I don’t think he was shocked at all. Of course, there’s a certain gravity when you hear that you’re actually going to be the next president of the United States.

What was his biggest surprise when he came to DC?
I think it was the fact that there are almost two separate jobs, one being president and the other defending your flank against the deep state and the swamp, which are going to attack you 24/7. In many ways, defending yourself against the long knives takes up more time, and it’s people and countries and special interests you’ve never heard of that are all out to get you. Fighting that off and still trying to get your job done is very difficult.

What I find paradoxical about his personality is that on the one hand he has an ego—which no one can deny—but he also gave people room and didn’t dominate things. For example, he let Jared negotiate the peace deals and wasn’t at the center of that story.
Of course, everyone in the administration gave Trump the credit, but he allowed others to do things.
If he has confidence in your abilities and skills he’ll give you a lot of room to work. One of the big misconceptions about President Trump is that he doesn’t listen to advice or suggestions. But the truth is that you can disagree with him as much as you want as long as you have a solution or strategy that’s well thought out. He forces people to think critically and also to act quickly.

There were people who felt he was distracted by the amount of time he spent on social media and watching TV. Do you think that’s a valid criticism, or was he really focused?
I think he’s focused. One of the things people might not realize is that he’ll dictate a number of his statements or posts first thing in the morning and then space them out throughout the day. When I was with him in the Oval Office, he was completely attentive to the conversation at hand. Or he might say, “I like this one, but let’s hold it off until tomorrow.” Then he’ll go and do his work. There may have also been posts he had dictated that would then be put out by Dan Scavino, but he wasn’t sitting with them the whole time.

So they weren’t as impulsive as people thought.
No, although there were times when he might have said, “Well, maybe I didn’t need to do that one.”

How disappointed was he about his loss in 2020?
Very disappointed, both in the way it happened and the fact that our data had us convinced we were going to win. Every measurable metric showed that we should have won, and then the ballots kept coming in days after the election. We were all disappointed. I don’t know if there will ever be another moment like that Arizona call by Fox News. It was unconscionable that they were going to call it before anyone else.

Why do you think he lost?
The number one reason is that blue state executives changed the voting rules under the guise of COVID to effectively change the laws and regulations in an unconstitutional manner. If Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia—even though it was controlled by Republicans—hadn’t done that, I think he would have won. There was also a lot of fraud and abuse, although I don’t know if there was enough to have swung it on its own. You look at a state like Florida that was able to have everything done by 11:30, including early voting and mail-in ballots, and then you look at a state like Arizona where it went on for weeks because they couldn’t figure it out. We have to get the election system fixed. There was also a post-election survey by the Media Research Center saying that one out of every six Biden voters would have reconsidered his vote if he’d known about the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, because it drew attention to the Biden family grift and corruption. There’s been a half-century of selling access to Biden’s name.

In other words, the campaign was fighting not only Biden and the Democratic Party machine, but social media and the mainstream media as well.
We were fighting Big Tech and Big Media, which were all colluding—and that was actual collusion.

That Twitter was able to deplatform a former president is probably one of the most outrageous things Big Tech has done in our lifetime.
The fact that Twitter still allows the Taliban—these terrorist and murderous thugs—on their platform but kicks off President Donald J. Trump… There’s something wrong as a society when you start doing something like that.

I guess the reason is politics.
That’s exactly what it is.

But you’re pointing out that it’s hypocrisy.
Yes, and it’s also because the Big Tech social media oligarchs are trying to frame the world in accordance with their vision. In effect, there are three billionaires in California who are dictating the terms of free speech not just for the US but around the world. I don’t know if you saw this in The New York Times, but Facebook recently launched an expanded advisory board to start looking at elections around the world, starting in places like Hungary, the Philippines and Brazil, with the specific goal of stopping “misinformation.” What this means is that if these countries have their own version of the Hunter laptop story, they can go and suppress it. They get to play judge, jury and executioner in deciding what’s information and what’s misinformation, and it’s coming to every other country in the world too. Just think about that. Three billionaires in Silicon Valley are determining the right to free speech for the entire planet. That’s kind of messed up, in my opinion.

President Trump was used to saying something on Twitter and having millions of people immediately read his words and respond. How has he been able to adjust to life without that?
There are two answers to that, and both of them are true: He’s happier without it, but he wants to get back on. There’s no such thing as President Trump posting something on social media without people replying with negative attacks. But he also realizes that the media are interfering with his ability to share his message and get the word out. When he sees how problematic things have gotten in the US and around the world under Biden, he wants to be out there talking. I spent a couple of hours with him in Bedminster recently, and we spoke about his speech in Alabama.

I recently spoke to John Coale, who filed the lawsuit against Twitter for President Trump. I asked him if the timing was bad because it was right when Gettr was launched, which means that the other side can now claim that Trump can use Gettr instead, and that no one should be forced to allow people they don’t like to use their platform. He didn’t really have an answer, so I’ll ask you the same question. Do you think that launching Gettr might interfere with the lawsuit against Twitter?
Not at all. First of all, that’s what the social media giants have always said. “You don’t have to be on our platform. Go and start your own.” Well, here’s the reality. Just finding the engineers and coders to do something like that is a herculean task, and you’re probably going to need somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million and six to nine months to develop it.

But you’ve done it.
Yes, but there’s a reason why you don’t see a bunch of new platforms: it costs so much money and it’s really hard. A lot of people have tried. Some of them have been well-meaning, ideological allies who believe in free speech, but their product just wasn’t good. There are a lot of people who have started to develop things, but they need the capital to go forward.

Do you think that Congress will be able to fix this problem?
I have no confidence in Congress to fix anything. To me, Congress is a place where a lot of good minds go to die. A bunch of octogenarians who don’t know the difference between a tweet and a truck aren’t going to tell us how to navigate free speech in the digital age. Quite frankly, I think the courts will ultimately side with Big Tech. I think it’s great that the president is pushing it, and I am fully supportive of his efforts. But I’m not a lawyer, so I can use that as an excuse for not weighing in on the likelihood of success. That being said, I decided that I wouldn’t wait for something that isn’t under our control, so I’m making something that’s going to be bigger and better than theirs.

Why hasn’t there been a push for conservatives to just get off Twitter and join Gettr? I told Senator Cruz that I don’t understand why he just complains without trying to do something about it through legislation, or at least get off Twitter if legislation isn’t an option.
I’ve never told anyone to get off any of the social media platforms. I can draw people to visit Gettr once, but it’s our technology that’s going to set us apart. People will see that it’s a really smooth platform that looks great and offers a good user experience. I want them to wake up in the morning and their first thought is, I want to see what’s on Gettr today. My belief is that if I can’t convince people that my platform is better than anything else out there, then I don’t deserve to be a success.

You’re still quite new at the moment.
Yes. We’re about two months old.

When do you think you’ll turn the corner?
I think it’s already started for some people. There are two main reasons why people get on social media platforms. One is to connect with friends and family, which is where the name Gettr comes from; it’s a truncated version of “get together.” It’s about building a community, and we have a bunch of new features coming to help with that. The other reason is to read the news, so we’re trying to increase the number of news outlets and reporters who are on the platform. It’s growing really fast.

When will Donald Trump be joining Gettr? When will we see him back on social media through your platform?
I hope it will be sooner rather than later, but since we’re currently still discussing the details, I don’t want to put any words in his mouth. I know he has a number of options, and I also know that he likes what he’s seen of the technology. When we sat down to show him Gettr, I handed him a brand-new iPhone with Gettr already loaded. It was such a great moment. He was holding it in his left hand and pointing with his right hand. Then he looked up and said with a laugh, “I haven’t done this in a while.”

If he starts posting things on Gettr, everyone will get on it to see what he’s going to say next. That will be pretty automatic.
I see it the same way. I’m being the squeaky wheel to the president’s social media orbit. I do think he wants to get back on soon, especially in light of recent events. Another thing is that I’m convinced he’ll be running 2024. I have a feeling that he’s moving closer and closer to it. He didn’t use the magic words the last time we met, but if you spend any time with him you’ll come away with the same feeling. So I fully expect him to run, and he’s going to need to have social media in order to do that. That was his superpower in 2016: the media couldn’t shut him up. And we saw how much their censorship and deplatforming him in 2020 impacted things.

In 2024, the Biden administration will have a record to run against, which will make it a bit easier for Trump.
That’s true, but I don’t see Joe Biden being on the ballot in 2024. I think that Kamala Harris will run but won’t be able to win the Democratic nomination, because she has proven herself to be completely incompetent. I believe that the Democrats get that, which is why they’ve sent her to the other end of the planet while we have crises raging at home. They want her to go away and be somewhere where she can’t mess things up, and even that isn’t really working.

You know how an administration operates. I know that the buck is supposed to stop with Biden, but do you think he’s the one controlling things or are his advisers at the helm?
We all knew that Joe Biden was a pretty feeble guy with questionable wherewithal. My fear was that the lefties would be propping him up and doing things in his name, but that hasn’t been the case. Kamala Harris is clearly not in control, and Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren aren’t hanging around the administration. There are no super-enraged lefties who are as visible as you might have expected. But I did hope that because he has seasoned people around him, even if he wasn’t all there, they would at least be the adults and run the administration, but I don’t think that’s happening either. I’m worried that no one is actually in charge and it’s a free-for-all. To watch what happened in Afghanistan with our people being murdered and no presidential leadership is sickening. It makes my stomach turn that we’re the laughingstock of the world right now. Even our allies are mocking us and asking what’s happening to America.

If President Trump runs in 2024, will you be at his side?
Of course. I don’t think I have a choice. (Laughs.)

What will you do if Gettr picks up and becomes a major rival of Twitter?
I’ll move my global headquarters to Bedminster, or I’ll put the Trump campaign headquarters a floor below me in Gettr Tower.

Do you have a different strategy for fighting the social media in 2024?
Well, that’s part of the reason why I helped start Gettr. I wanted to make sure that there’s a free speech platform so we never again have to go through what we did in 2020.

Before Gettr was launched, it was rumored that Trump would be starting his own social media platform. Is this it?
It is not. The president has a number of different options in front of him, including multiple proposals to develop his own platform. There are also a few existing platforms that he’s considering. I think he’ll go with an existing platform rather than something brand new simply because I don’t think he’ll want to wait upwards of six months to a year to get going. I think he really wants to get back on social media and start driving things.

Is there anything you’re disappointed in about your product?
We launched it before it was 100% perfect because we wanted to show that even at 80% or 90% it was better than anything else out there. Adding notifications is the big recent addition to really be able to start engaging with people. That was a huge mover. In retrospect, maybe I would have waited an extra few weeks or a month for that, but we eventually got there.

Is this your first time being stationed in New York City?
I did a three-month stretch at the end of 1998. Then I did a year working for Rudy’s campaign from the middle of ’07 to the middle of ’08. The first time I was here, I slept on people’s couches. When I worked for Rudy, I lived on 30th Street between Lexington and Third. When I worked for President Trump, I lived near the UN for six months. This time around I’m here from Monday through Friday and I’m staying in a hotel. So the answer is that I’ve done several stints in New York, but I’m always working, so I’ve never really had an opportunity to enjoy it. I love this city, even with all the craziness.

It has certainly changed a lot.
It has. I first started coming to New York during the Dinkins era when I made several trips with a high school basketball team from Seattle and an all-star high school basketball league. Times Square was a very different place back then. Then I got to see things improve, but then came the horrors of 9/11. This city has been through so much over the last year and a half with COVID. But I really do love it. It’s the center of the world.

Does Donald Trump miss it? His whole life was here.
Without violating any confidences, he probably pops into Trump Tower more often than a lot of people realize. He doesn’t have the same footprint as before, but he loves New York. I met with him in his office a few weeks ago. He turned around from his desk to look out the window on the 26th floor of Trump Tower and said, “Jason, is this not the greatest place in the world to be? It’s where all the action is happening. There’s never a dull moment.”

Are you afraid of walking down the street and being recognized?
I’m a big guy—maybe a bit bigger than I need to be—but I would be very scared if my wife or daughters were recognized. In my neighborhood, it’s okay for my 12-year-old to ride her bike around the block. She can even go to the nearby store; I’m comfortable with letting her do that. But I wouldn’t let her do that here. I would be way too concerned.
A lot of times people aren’t very polite about recognizing me, but sometimes someone will come up and say, “Hey, it’s great to meet you.” It’s just something that comes with the territory. I’ve been in airports or walking down the street when people start yelling at me, although never in a way that had me concerned for my safety. I’m very thankful for that. But for a woman or a child or if I were a little smaller, maybe I’d be a bit concerned.

I guess words can never harm you.
I learned pretty early on that the only thing you can do is laugh it off. There’s no upside to engaging with someone who’s yelling at you in public, because it’s only going to end badly.

Chris Cuomo didn’t handle situations like that very well.
No. Fredo gets totally nuts.

He’s also much shorter than you.
No, he’s not. He’s a pretty big guy. To his credit, he can handle himself if he needs to, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop calling him Fredo.

You were his colleague at CNN.
I was, and I had a pretty good relationship with him during my year and a half there. I had a lot of fun when I was doing that.

When was that?
From the middle of 2017 to the end of 2018.

Do you still like politics?
Of course.

Do you still get up early every morning?
I slept in today. I didn’t get up until 5:15, but my team had their inboxes full of my emails by 6:00.

Do you miss politics?
No, but that’s because I haven’t entirely left. Politics is a rough-and-tumble business, and it’s also very cyclical. As I find myself becoming more of an elder statesman, I see things repeating themselves, and I share that knowledge with younger people. I’m always going to have a passion for politics, but I don’t mind this new focus on the social media platform. What we’re building is very cool, and I’m excited to be a part of it. ●

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