President Donald Trump on Tuesday reacted to the death of veteran journalist Cokie Roberts by saying “she never treated me nicely” before extending his well wishes to her family.
“I never met her. She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional, and I respect professionals,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to California. “I respect you guys a lot, you people a lot. She was a real professional. Never treated me well, but I certainly respect her as a professional.”
Trump’s tense relationship with the press has become a cornerstone of his administration, with the President repeatedly admonishing journalists as “the enemy of the people.” His comments on Tuesday — and, notably, his complaint that Roberts “never treated me nicely” — stood in stark contrast to the praise Roberts’ memory received elsewhere as a trailblazer in journalism.
Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, released a statement Tuesday calling Roberts “a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way.” And former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner who served under Obama for eight years, echoed that sentiment in a tweet, calling Roberts “a pioneer.”