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Exactly a year ago, Donald Trump told us exactly who he was and how far he would go

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At first, I couldn't believe what the president said.

My question was quite simple — and I anticipated a simple answer. I sought reassurance that whatever else, a peaceful transfer of power after an election — one of the cornerstones of the American experience that has made us unique, a fundamental example of why other nations look up to us — was not up for debate.

Since George Washington gave up the reins of power and retired to his farm, like an American Cincinnatus, the peaceful transfer of power from president to president has been an example the rest of the world respects and has emulated.

We have taken this for granted. Donald Trump treated this tradition as personal toilet paper.

Whatever else happened during the four years that Donald Trump was president, I expected him and the GOP to uphold this American tradition. Hence, one year ago, on Sept. 23, 2020, I asked Donald Trump whether, come "win, lose or draw," he would accept a peaceful transfer of power. Until he came along, I would never have thought to ask a president such a question. I might as well have asked if they intended to continue breathing.

But Trump was different. The time was different. That briefing, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, came during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The White House press corps had voluntarily reduced our numbers to just 14, in a room that routinely had hosted as many as 110 reporters during Trump's tenure in the White House. Trump, through his press secretary, had routinely skirted this mandate by inviting "guests" from favored news organizations to stand at the back of the room and ask questions. I routinely showed up to counter-program the Trump lackeys.

On the day in question last year, someone with an assigned seat didn't show up for the presidential briefing and rather than allowing a Trump acolyte to take the open seat — which was the last seat in the last row — I took it myself.

Mind you, I did not believe Trump would call on me. He and I had a past. I had sued him to keep my press pass. He'd called me "fake news" and "that Playboy guy," and had told me to sit down and shut up on several occasions.........

© Salon

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