Here & Now’s Robin Young sat down with Linda Stasi, the longtime firebrand columnist for the New York Daily News, the left-leaning tabloid with the wild front pages (see some of them below). Stasi talked about the presidential campaign and the boost that Donald Trump has given her paper.
Stasi also addressed concerns that the New York Daily News and her coverage of Trump have helped to create him as a national candidate. “We did not create him, we put him on steroids,” she said.
Interview Highlights: Linda Stasi
Her characterization of the 2016 presidential election
“If you would have told me five years ago that this would have been a fight with a bigot, someone who’s being investigated by the FBI, a socialist and somebody who said Jesus told him he should be president, I would have told you ‘What planet are you on?’ Doesn’t make any sense.”
“Ted Cruz, to me, is a self-loathing son of an immigrant because his father fought alongside Fidel Castro. His father came to this country illegally. And what does Ted Cruz hate more than anything? Illegal immigrants.”
On being in the hospital room when Marla Maples was giving birth to Donald Trump’s second daughter, Tiffany and how she got to know Donald Trump
“I was working at the Daily News at the time, and my editor-in-chief said ‘You know Donald Trump very well’ – I got introduced to him from my now-husband, who was my enemy at that time, he was Donald’s lawyer at the time, and I got introduced to him because Donald had a real problem with me because I was calling him fat and all these other things. So Donald and I became frenemies. And so my editor-in-chief at that time said to me ‘Go to that hospital room.’ And I said ‘I can’t do that – she’s having a baby.’ He said ‘Well then you’re fired.’ I said ‘OK I can do that.’ So I called up Donald and he picked up the phone and he said ‘You can’t do that.’ I said ‘But then I’ll be fired.’ He said ‘OK come on.’ And I went to the hospital and I went into the room and the baby had just been born. It was so awful… I would kill my husband if he allowed some newspaper reporter into the room. [Marla Maple] said ‘What is she doing here?’ And I said ‘I’m here because I want to see the baby’ – I didn’t know what to say. And he said, ‘Listen, it’s OK.’ And he really made it alright. And I got a front page story out of it. And he’s done me a lot of solids over the years and I’ve done him a lot of solids. As a woman and as a New Yorker, I do not understand this whole racist-biggot-sexist thing with Donald. I’ve known him for many, many years, I’ve never known him to be a racist, a biggot, a sexist.”
Do you think Donald Trump is those things now – a racist, a biggot and a sexist?
“I think that he is – he knows how to win and he looked at the field and he said ‘These are the guys who are not being talked to. These are the disenfranchised blue collar workers who have this secret racism behind them, and I’m going to hit them.’ And now he’s become the monster that he created.”
How much did you and other New York reporters help create him?
“We did not create him. We put him on steroids. We didn’t create him though, he created himself. Nobody can create Donald.”
How important has Donald Trump been for boosting readership?
“The Daily News was the number two read newspaper website in the world, and now with all these headlines, we’re probably right up there vying for number one, in terms of website hits and clicks… My editor-in-chief, he does not put anything on the front page that he does not believe, and everything that’s on that front page, I promise you, comes from the heart. It’s selling papers like crazy, but it’s from the heart.”