Tags: sam nunberg | five minutes | interview

Five Minutes With . . . Sam Nunberg

Five Minutes With . . . Sam Nunberg
(Courtesy Sam Nunberg)

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 09:52 AM

Sam Nunberg was one of Donald Trump’s earliest political consultants.

He helped draft candidate Trump’s earliest campaign playbooks and worked with him on key speeches that established the real estate magnate’s credentials as a Republican.

Nunberg, 36, takes little credit for Trump’s rise: “Trump was and is a natural-born political genius, I was just an adviser.”

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing: Trump has hired and fired Nunberg three separate times.

Still, Nunberg remains a citizen of “Trump world” as a media favorite “go-to” person for understanding how the president thinks. And even Trump’s top advisers turn to Nunberg to seek advice on dealing with the media.

Newsmax: Tell us one thing about Donald Trump that no one else knows?

Sam Nunberg: The first thing you should know is that in private, up-close, the president is kind, generous, and thoughtful. The media today paints a different picture, but I know the reality.

When I first started interacting with Mr. Trump in 2012 when he was a potential presidential candidate, I saw just how concerned he was for the direction of the country. Most politicians aren’t that way privately. The military, law enforcement, veterans, prosperity, and Washington’s fecklessness were constant topics and worries for him. Many have a misconception that the president first announced his candidacy as a vanity project. It is simply not the case; the president wanted to use this experience as a megaphone to highlight issues he cared about.

NM: You’re Jewish, a Millennial, and you come from New York City, where Democrats out number Republicans 6 to 1. What made you a Republican?

SN: Smart parents and common sense. My ideological training came from Mark Levin whose radio show, which first started as a Sunday show on WABC, is the foundation of my political core.

NM: How did you train to become a “campaign operative”?

SN: It is a long story but, in a nutshell, working first as a volunteer for the Romney for President 2008 campaign, I met Jay Sekulow who serves as chief counsel of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ). I was blessed to be offered a position in the ACLJ’s New York office where I helped coordinate the opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque. Our campaign showed me the power of mass communication, earned media, strategic messaging, and game theory. The supporters of the mosque were on defense every step of the way.

At the same time in 2010, I met Roger Stone, whom I had followed closely ever since his seminal 2008 Matt Labash profile. Roger gave me a reading list and work assignments. We have very similar instincts and zeitgeist. "But for" Roger, I never would have had the amazing opportunities and life experiences.

NM: Your Twitter profile picture is not an image of you, but bad boy lawyer Roy Cohn with a halo over his head. What’s the message here?

SN: I have always been fascinated by Roy Cohn since HBO’s “Angels in America” mini-series. There is a scene where Roy, played by Al Pacino, explains that it is better to be feared than liked. And, essentially, if you do not have enemies, then you are not effective.

While Roy certainly led a complex life, his patriotism and opposition to the great threat of Communism was absolute. He also zealously represented his clients, including Donald Trump, and was a political power player.

Using Roy’s avatar sends a message that, while you may not agree with me or even like me, it is in your best interest not to become my enemy. And it’s also unique, different, and cool.

NM: You’ve prepared Donald Trump for many an interview. What has been your No. 1 suggestion to him for TV appearances?

SN: Actually, being around the president was an opportunity to continually learn. He has a remarkable instinct on how to generate news and pique interest. He has incredible natural talent in front of a camera. So, I never “prepared” the president for an interview because I never had to.

I viewed my role as making sure the president was well-briefed before the interview on the major political topics, positions of party leaders, and I also made him aware of the interviewers’ bias or recent comments and questions.

NM: They say the president doesn’t take criticism well. Is that true?

SN: The president does take constructive criticism if it is presented in a respectful and productive manner.

My concern was making sure the president was prepared in a fashion that we had developed to his liking.

During these sessions, I also learned from him. He would critique my explanations as being too complicated and long. He was right. I had to fashion them for mass public consumption. We were selling themes, pledges, and policy goals to the masses, not the elites.

NM: You’re an expert communicator. Should the president stop tweeting?

SN: Absolutely not. Twitter allows the president to communicate and engage directly with his supporters and the American public. Also, it is an essential part of the president’s political brand. To stop tweeting is analogous to the president no longer firing contestants on "The Apprentice."

NM: Have you been to the West Wing recently?

SN: Yes. I had the honor of being hosted by Steve Bannon. Besides being a close friend, Steve is a rebel with a cause — to promote the president’s agenda for the forgotten man and woman who want fundamental change. Steve is also a fearless patriot who will always tell you what you have to hear, not what you want to hear.

NM: What’re your favorite TV programs for fun?

SN: Favorite show of all time is "Mad Men" followed by "24." Currently, I really enjoy "Monday Night Raw" and "Game of Thrones."

NM: In terms of cable news hosts, who do you love the most? And hate the most?

SN: Great question. My favorite on-air contributor is Charlie Gasparino at Fox News and Fox Business. My favorite news anchor is George Stephanopoulos. I know it may surprise people, but George is the only major anchor who has the real-life experience to report on politics and world affairs, which translates to his on-air work.

My two favorite day hosts are Miranda Khan on Newsmax TV and Katy Tur at NBC.

As for the second question: Lawrence O’Donnell and Fareed Zakaria are sanctimonious, self-involved, and hypocritical.

NM: If you had to live in another country, which would it be and why?

SN: Easy question — the Jewish State of Israel.

NM: Who is you hero and why?

SN: My grandfather Simon, who survived Auschwitz where the majority of his family was murdered, including his parents. He immigrated to America, legally, raised a family and built a successful business. I hope I have half his courage.

NM: If you were advising a candidate, what’s your philosophy for a winning campaign?

SN: Always be ready to take risks, improvise, and adapt to the changing landscapes.

NM: Where do you see Sam Nunberg in 20 years?

SN: Only God knows. One day at a time. Hopefully, I will still be in the arena and still working harder than my competitors. And perhaps serving on the Board of Trustees of the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library honoring his two successful terms in office.

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Sam Nunberg was one of Donald Trump’s earliest political consultants. He helped draft candidate Trump’s earliest campaign playbooks and worked with him on key speeches that established the real estate magnate’s credentials as a Republican
sam nunberg, five minutes, interview
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 09:52 AM
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