On Tuesday, Donald Trump commented on the passing of trailblazing journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts. He called Roberts “professional” but then added that she “never treated me nicely.”
Trump’s comments were made during a 50-minute off-the-record conversation with journalists, who were traveling with him from Albuquerque to Mountain View, California, where he will be attending a fundraiser.
Trump allowed certain parts of the conversation, including his statements about Roberts, to be recorded.
“I never met her,” Trump told reporters traveling with him on Air Force One. “She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional, and I respect professionals. 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.”
Cokie Roberts was one of the most prominent Washington journalists of her era. She championed many young women in media during her career with ABC News and NPR.
Roberts earned three Emmy Awards and was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame back in 2000. In 2008 she was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress,
During a phone interview for MSNBC, Roberts asked Trump about racist slurs being used by children against their classmates in his name.
“Are you proud of that? Is that something that you’ve done in American social and political discourse that you are proud of?” she asked.
“I think your question is a very nasty question,” Trump responded, before claiming that he had not heard of such reports.
Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush were among the many politicians who shared kind words and condolences to Robert’s family.
“She was a trailblazing figure; 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,” Obama said in a statement.
Bush and former first lady Laura Bush issued a joint statement that Roberts “covered us for decades as a talented, tough, and fair reporter.”
“We respected her drive and appreciated her humor. She became a friend,” they added.
Roberts, 75, died of complications from breast cancer on Tuesday morning, her family shared. She is survived by her husband, fellow journalist Steven Roberts, and their two children and six grandchildren.