President Donald Trump's failures are all rooted in the gossipy incompetence of everyone in his orbit, according to one of the reporters who gained insider access to his administration.
Elle published an oral history of covering his unlikely and unprecedented presidency by women reporters, and New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi revealed how Trump's love for drama made it nearly impossible for anything significant to be accomplished.
"When you work on a palace intrigue story about the Trump White House, it activates nefarious actors and crazy people," Nuzzi said. "You might have six sources that 'independently' tell you something, but that doesn't mean anything because they're all actually insane and evil."
Nuzzi was unexpectedly invited to the Oval Office while chasing down rumors that then-chief of staff John Kelly would be fired, and ended up getting a private press conference with the president, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kelly that made her question her own sanity afterward.
"I regretted in some ways how I told that story," Nuzzi said. "It didn't do a great job of conveying how powerful people in the country spend their time, in the middle of crises, talking about and trying to prevent the spread of gossip about their workplace. It's been four years of psychotic drama, at the most personal, petty level you could imagine. That is the story of why Trump failed to do anything, for the most part, that he set out to do."
She also gained remarkable access to Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who sent her late-night texts and got drunk on Bloody Marys during a brunch interview.
"This has been an accessible group of people, not because they understand the value in being accessible or think they're doing the right thing, but in their incompetence, they accidentally do things that are in the public interest," Nuzzi said. "Even if they lie, they're still revealing interesting or important information with the way they lie and the way they communicate."