behind closed doors
Presidential candidates are traditionally given the opportunity to make their case before The New York Times' editorial board while seeking the paper's coveted endorsement. Donald Trump stopped in to speak to the paper on Jan. 5 and in the days since, his recording has taken on a "near-mythical" status with the staff, BuzzFeed reports. Not for what was said on record, though — but for a rumored bombshell in the off-the-record part of the talk.
Speculation grew on Saturday when columnist Gail Collins wrote, "The most optimistic analysis of Trump as a presidential candidate is that he just doesn't believe in positions, except the ones you adopt for strategic purposes when you're making a deal. So you obviously can't explain how you're going to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, because it's going to be the first bid in some future monster negotiation session." As Collins was privy to the private and unreleased conversation, BuzzFeed questions if her words are truly speculative:
So what exactly did Trump say about immigration, about deportations, about the wall? Did he abandon a core promise of his campaign in a private conversation with liberal power brokers in New York?
I wasn't able to obtain the recording, or the transcript, and don't know exactly what Trump said. Neither [editor-in-chief Dean] Baquet, Collins, nor various editorial board members I reached would comment on an off-the-record conversation, which the Times essentially said they cannot release without approval from Trump, given the nature of the the off-the-record agreement. [BuzzFeed]
And as Trump has a hard enough time releasing his tax returns, it might mean the off-the-record recording will forever remain a Holy Grail of journalistic intrigue.