To round out the Covering Trump podcast, we’ve put host Debra Saunders in the guest chair. Fellow newsie James Lileks is gets her elaborations on the unique world of the White House beat—made all the more unique for the unprecedented President she was covering.

They bond over being the “weird” ones in a newsroom with a large consensus; Debra describes the kabuki that takes place in the briefing room; she explains the challenges Trump’s staff went through, along with the ones she had as a reporter hoping to get in a fair question.

Of all necessary qualities that make a real-deal reporter, persistence is paramount. It took four press secretaries and more than three and a half years for Debra to score her exclusive interview with President Donald J. Trump. But she did get it. In the whistle-stop motion of Trump on the campaign trail, her one-on-one wasn’t quite what she expected.

Listen in for the hard-won scoop!

Now we go back to the early days of 2020 when America confronted a great unknown, a plague that eventually would take more than a million American lives.

The country did not set aside partisan differences in the face of a scary new enemy. Some stayed at home. Others scoffed at the threat. Trump delivered a vaccine in record time.

During the four years Debra Saunders covered the White House, she was in for a trip around the world with Donald Trump. There were legs on presidential motorcades and even Air Force One. From Riyadh to Singapore and Warsaw to Las Vegas, she witnessed the president breaking the presidential travel playbook on four continents. Debra was a witness to Trump’s unorthodox approach to dealing with allies and adversaries alike; along with his unfailing enjoyment of children. There were perfect conversations, leaked conversations, mercurial speeches and some good jokes along the way. 

Buckle up for a bumpy ride.

Donald Trump’s inauguration was one like no other. From his talk of American carnage to the belligerent mobs who heckled his supporters, it was a peculiar scene that kicked off an unusual presidency. It was also the beginning of a novelty in the news cycle. Twitter gave the vociferous Commander in Chief his own press briefing room, and Debra wades into how this left the media, critics and his own team, scrambling to translate. Let’s just say this complicated things…

How exactly does a regional reporter shine through the shadows of big cable stars? It’s no cakewalk, but our host Debra Saunders explains how she navigated passed the gatekeepers of the White House Correspondents Association, got a seat and got answers. In the highly competitive territory of covering the White House, getting the administration’s attention is the game. From the stresses of “pool reporting” and the little details that put readers in the action to hustling for occasional purpose, Deb gives us a glimpse of how it’s played.

There are career changes and then there are career changes. When Debra Saunders repositioned from conservative columnist to White House correspondent, she might have assumed it would be something like the former. But Donald Trump has a tendency of altering expectations.

Unmarred by the self-serving character typical of accounts by those deorbited from Trump’s gravity, her story involves the highs of cadging a ride on Air Force One to the lows of cramped work spaces, waiting in the rain and vying for a question from the back of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Debra J. Saunders’ new series will take us into the ever-exciting, if perpetually nerve wracking, adventure as a White House Correspondent for The Las Vegas Review-Journal.