It was the s*** show everyone was either watching, tweeting or talking about in real time from 2:30 pm on Monday until late into the night. Former Trump aide, employee and campaigner, Sam Nunberg had a major media meltdown across five shows on two cable news networks and several local TV news programs in NYC and elsewhere. He also, reportedly, contacted every journalist who mentioned his name on social media, many of whom tweeted in disbelief that he had contacted them.
Nunberg’s tirade was being discussed and analyzed on just about every network covering politics and pop culture. The one place he was not seen was on FOX News, which chose to cover Sunday night’s Oscar ratings, instead.
If you are unfamiliar with the why behind Nunberg’s impulsive, although strategically planned media blitz, here’s a quick rundown: Nunberg, who worked for President Trump from 2011-2015 was asked to work on the presidential campaign and was dismissed when Facebook posts surfaced of him using racial slurs in a post about civil rights activist, National Action Network founder and MSNBC weekend host of Politics Nation, Rev. Al Sharpton. Since his dismissal, Nunberg has served on a number of cable news shows as a Republican strategist, as it was his idea for Trump to make immigration the foundation of his campaign. However, Nunberg has been none too quiet about his disgust for his former employer, his Press Secretary (Sarah Huckabee Sanders), former aides Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump, himself. The one person Nunberg has pledged loyalty to from his Trump Tower days is Roger Stone— his mentor, who was also terminated by Donald Trump.
Last week Nunberg met with Special counsel, Bob Mueller about the investigation into Russian interference in American elections. On The Beat with Ari Melber, last week, Nunberg said that he would fully cooperate with the special counsel, that his office was “professional” and fastidious in their handling of the investigation and he thought that people should wait and see what the outcome is before judging. However, by 6:00 pm yesterday, that was not the case and earlier in the day— I got to see this unfold— Nunberg stated on MSNBC Live with Katy Tur that he would be on The Beat and rip up the subpoena that required him to turn over emails from late 2015 to present between him and at least 10 other Trump aides, even though we was offered immunity from prosecution. That didn’t happen, but what did follow was this bizzare, 30-minute, uninterrupted exchange that left many of us with our mouths gaping:
By the end of the night, Nunberg had changed his tune, telling Ari Melber at 9:51 pm by phone and off the air that he probably will comply with the Special Counsel’s request.
In listening to this tirade, first on Katy Tur’s show and then finally on Anderson Cooper’s 360, one can gather that Nunberg may have something to hide, but what that is is anyone’s guess. One of my Twitter followers suggested that it may be a substance issue given the day’s erratic behavior; this is possible, but Erin Burnett of CNN did ask Nunberg about this particular issue by prefacing her question with an observation that she could smell alcohol on his breath as they were speaking. Nunberg emphatically denied this, but did admit to taking antidepressants, that if mixed with alcohol can cause the type of behavior we witnessed over the course of the afternoon and into the evening. However, we can only take Nunberg’s word on that for now.
Mental health is nothing to joke about and while many voiced concern for Nunberg’s safety across social media and made other observations about things he said in the course of his appearances, I picked up on something else — something many others seemed to miss that may be an even more relevant explanation of Nunberg’s behavior, that was his mention of Corey Lewandowski’s 2017 book, Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency (Center Street Books).
Lewandowski, who was fired by Trump, with co-author and former Trump aide, David Bossie, scored both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller with this book about their experiences working for the man who would be elected president in 2016, stating, “Sooner or later, everybody who works for Donald Trump will see a side of him that makes you wonder why you took a job with him in the first place.”
Former FBI Director James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership (Flatiron Books) will be released on April 17, 2018. Amazon describes Comey’s book as a snapshot of his career, from prosecuting the Mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration’s policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Comey, Lewandowski and Bossie aren’t the only former aides who have been approached by publishers or authors seeking to capitalize on the business of running the country. Books by and about presidents and their families are always gold for the industry. That’s why books about JFK continue to top the Bestseller lists when released and why publishers have paid so much for the forthcoming books by former President Barack Obama and former First Lady, Michelle Obama.
With the success of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury (Henry Holt & Co.), which broke records at the start of the year with it’s quotes from insiders like Steve Bannon and others, more books by Trump insiders who have defected the camp have led to a virtual bidding war. It is a prime market for memoirs by Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Sean Spicer, Hope Hicks, Reince Priebus, Anthony Scaramucci, and anyone else who has resigned, will resign or will be terminated in the future.
The mention of Lewandowski’s book by Nunberg prompted me to look into what is publicly known about Nunberg’s financial background, especially since the cost of attorney’s fees from the attorney he said “probably dropped” him was one of those things Nunberg cited as reason for not cooperating. I couldn’t find much, other than a civil suit for $10 million in damages against Nunberg by Trump who accused the ex-employee of leaking information in violation of a nondisclosure agreement. Nunberg defended himself in media against the suit as “a misguided attempt to cover up media coverage of an apparent affair” between Hope Hicks and the aforementioned Corey Lewandowski. The suit was settled “amicably” according to a CNN post cited by The Hill.
While the Grand Jury awaits Nunberg’s appearance— one he now says he will comply with, the jury is still out on what prompted yesterday’s fit of phonics across various networks. Could it be he is crazy? Perhaps. But, having watched Nunberg on cable news since 2015, this is par for the course. He’s crazy like a fox! And, while he won’t be laughing much if federal marshals arrest him for contempt of court, Nunberg will be laughing all the way to the bank, by the end of the week when publishers begin vying for his memoirs.