Excerpts of Confidence Man, Haberman’s upcoming book on Mr Trump and his administration, details multiple occurrences of the former president feigning concern about the cancer-stricken judge’s health while asking aides about her current condition. The revelations were published by CNN on Wednesday.
According to Haberman, the president would clasp his hands in fake prayer, exclaiming before aides or guests: “Please God. Please watch over her. Every life is precious.”
“How’s she doing?” he’d then ask an aide, “almost winking”, according to Haberman.
On other occasions, Haberman writes, the president was less subtle about his eagerness for the justice to die: “She gonna make it? How much longer you think she has?”
A spokesperson for the former president didn’t address any of the book’s specific claims when contacted by CNN, while blasting Haberman’s reporting as “anonymously-sourced mistruths”. Despite this, Haberman remains one of if not the best-sourced reporter in Trumpworld, and is one of the few “mainstream” media journalists to continue to have access to the former president since he left office.
The death of Ms Ginsburg in 2020 kicked off a massive fight over her seat; Republicans eventually filled the liberal justice’s seat with a conservative, Amy Coney Barrett, despite previously insisting that such vacancies should not be filled in an election year and blocking Barack Obama from doing so in 2016. With Ms Barrett’s confirmation, the balance of power on the Court was tilted firmly in favour of conservatives.
Mr Trump now spends his days at his Palm Beach-area resort and residence, Mar-a-Lago, where Haberman reported last year (before he would go on to demand as much publicly) that the former president was making the shocking claim that he would be “reinstated” as president before the end of Joe Biden’s term.
Some of the reporting from Haberman’s book, particularly a portion in which she reveals that Mr Trump told her that he had (apparently illegally) retained documents from the White House against the will of the National Archives, has drawn criticism on social media as some argue that as a reporter Haberman had a duty to release such information in a timely fashion rather than hold it for publication of her book.
Others have defended Haberman, who has largely refrained from addressing such arguments, claiming that Mr Trump’s history has shown that outrage over such revelations means little in the long run. There’s also no reason to suggest that Haberman knew about the retention of such documents before the National Archives did.
Mr Trump largely refrains from interviews with publications that he deems left-leaning, including the Times, as he continues his post-presidential life at Mar-a-Lago while battling a mounting scourge of legal investigations that threaten his business, personal associates, and family members.