After the second presidential debate last October, Donald Trump sent CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker a personal email saying, “You are the most disloyal person,” and vowing to “get even,” according to the New York Times.
The Times reported that Trump “believed that he had gotten Zucker his job at CNN” — an assertion Time Warner executives have denied — and therefore “the network’s increasingly aggressive coverage of him was an act of betrayal.”
CNN panelists were especially tough on Trump during the October debate, which came soon after the revelation of the Republican’s hot-mic moment with Billy Bush when he referred to grabbing women by the genitals.
Zucker received an email soon afterward from Trump, through his campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, the Times wrote.
According to the paper, the email stated: “Jeff — Too bad you (CNN) couldn’t be honest with how well I did in the debate. The dumbest thing I ever did was get you the job at CNN — you are the most disloyal person. Just remember, I always seem to find a way to get even. Best wishes, Donald J. Trump.”
It should be noted, the Times also reported, “Trump actually didn’t play a meaningful role in Zucker’s hiring.” However, Trump “sang Zucker’s praises to Turner Broadcasting System’s chief executive at the time, Phil Kent, who was in charge of hiring for the position.”
“The president is certainly entitled to believe whatever he likes about our conversation,” Kent told the Times.
Zucker’s history with Trump goes back more than a decade. In 2003, Zucker was in charge of NBC Entertainment, and had been sent to Los Angeles by his brass to find a reality show to vie with “Survivor” on CBS and “American Idol” on Fox.
He found it in “The Apprentice,” which helped launch its host, Donald Trump, to nationwide celebrity.
Since winning the election, Trump has regularly called CNN “fake news” and criticizes the coverage he receives from the network.