Peggy Noonan, the breathless voice of hologram Ronald Reagan, had her doubts about this Donald Trump fellow. But now that he has safely been elected king, she has a very special story to share.
Peggy—a professional political commentator, who is paid a presumably handsome sum to share her political insights with you, the common reader who never even met Ronald Reagan once—spends her column today musing on this man, this Trump, this new and unexpected leader of this country, this America.
Oh, and that reminds her... now that the election is over and all... there’s this:
I end with a related personal note. I never interviewed Donald Trump throughout this year’s campaign. From the beginning he reminded me of men I grew up with, Trumps with no money—loud, unsmooth, rough opinions. Where you came from and who you were surrounded by has a bearing on your loyalties and can bend your thinking. I judged that I’d see Mr. Trump most clearly from a middle distance. So I didn’t go, talk, interview. Six weeks ago I called a Trump staffer I’d interviewed to check a quote. She returned my call from Trump Force One. We spoke, and then suddenly the phone seemed to drop and I heard, “Who’s that?” Then I heard, “Peggy, this is Donald.”
I won’t quote exactly what was said. No one put it off the record, but it felt off the record, and some of the conversation was personal. But I can describe it. He was dignified, hilarious and modest. He told me that I’d sometimes been unfair to him, sometimes mean, sometimes really, really mean, but that when I was he usually deserved it, always appreciated it, and keep it up. He spoke of other things; he characterized for me my career.
I’d heard of his charm offensive, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say how charming, funny and frank he was—and, as I say, how modest. How actually humble.
Hello, I am a respected political columnist. I spoke with the presidential candidate back when I thought he would lose. I didn’t bother mentioning that in any of my writing before the election. But now that this psycho has won, let me tell you: he’s charming, modest, and humble. Take my word for it, although this was all off the record.
A free and fearless political press may be all that stands between us and fascism, and I feel good about it.