Major Garrett on covering the Trump White House: 'It's a wild ride'

President Donald Trump has said a lot of bad things about the media since he announced his run for the presidency nea...

Posted: Apr. 7, 2018 12:33 PM
Updated: Apr. 7, 2018 12:33 PM

President Donald Trump has said a lot of bad things about the media since he announced his run for the presidency nearly three years ago. He's suggested that the press doesn't really like America. He has said the media is the "enemy of the American people." He classifies stories that he dislikes as "fake news." He has repeatedly called journalists the "most dishonest" people.

CBS News' Major Garrett has covered every president since Bill Clinton and says none of them were fans of the coverage they received, but President Trump's off-the-cuff things comments and tweetstorms are unlike anything he's ever seen before.

"He checks boxes that we've never had checked before by an American president. He has an intensity of coverage and an intensity of fascination that far outstrips any person who's previously occupied that presidency, at least in my lifetime," Garrett tells David Axelrod on "The Axe Files," a podcast from The University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

Garrett's career spans 30 years across television networks, and as a White House correspondent for nearly two decades. He was with President Bush the morning of 9/11 while working for CNN, and assailed by President Obama's White House for being an "arm of the Republican Party" as the White House Correspondent for Fox News.

Garrett was named CBS News' Chief White House correspondent more than five years ago -- and told Axelrod about his 'wild ride' covering the Trump White House.

Hear the full conversation on "The Axe Files":

'It's emotionally taxing'

President Trump's reputation for being unpredictable is "a great challenge and a great experience" but "very exhausting." He says you need a "sense of emotional readiness, and that takes a toll."

"You never know what's going to come at you at any given moment and you have to be prepared every moment for literally anything," Garrett said. "The Secretary of State could be fired at any moment. The national security adviser could be fired at any moment. The FBI director can be fired at any moment. And you have to be ready for that."

Amidst the White House shakeups, Russia investigation and pre-White House affair allegations, he said the President's personality is both strategic and impulsive.

"It is a wild ride, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's all bad. A wild ride can be thrilling, it can be fun, it can make you throw up. It could also make you really happy," Garrett said.

He acknowledges there have been more leaks out of the Trump White House than he can remember. The people who work for the President are "not locked in arms."

"There are rivalries, there are turf battles. This is not a cohesive team. It never has been a cohesive team," Garrett said. "They don't have a central set of beliefs. Half the people who work for the President don't believe in his trade agenda. I mean flat out don't believe in it. Some of them don't believe in his national security agenda. That's a big problem."

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