The famed newspaper reporting team of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein shared stories about Richard Nixon, Watergate and the Trump administration before a packed house Wednesday at Macomb Community College.
But perhaps the most interesting anecdote they offered the crowd centered on Donald Trump of the 1980s, at a time when the wealthy New York City playboy and real estate mogul was basking in the limelight.
In 1987, after the release of Trump’s best-selling book, “The Art of the Deal,” Bernstein met the future president at a cocktail party and concluded that he was a rather fascinating character. “Wouldn’t it be great if Woodward and Bernstein interviewed Donald Trump?” the Manhattan developer suggested.
The two did interview Trump in his Trump Tower penthouse but nothing came of it. Woodward somehow lost the audio tapes of the interview.
“It’s like we were our own Rose Mary Woods,” Woodward joked to the MCC crowd.
That was a reference to Nixon’s personal secretary, who took the blame for an 18 1/2-minute gap in one of the president’s taped Oval Office conversations during a key discussion about Watergate.
As for the 1987 tapes, Bernstein hinted that Trump was in typical form during that interview, with a particularly pompous attitude.
Throughout the 90-minute event at MCC, the reporting duo’s jocularity and humor clearly delighted the audience of more than 1,000 people at the college’s Performing Arts Center (despite a series of feeble questions from the moderator, Paula Tutman of WDIV-TV).
Woodward recalled a letter sent to him and his Washington Post collaborator, Bernstein, by Post publisher Katharine Graham after their dogged Watergate coverage was credited for bringing about Nixon’s resignation.
Her key message was this: “Beware the demon, `Pomposity.’”