BOSTON, MA (NEWS CENTER) - In the summer of 2015 Katy Tur had flown from London, where she worked for NBC News, to New York to be shadowed for a day by an ill teenager, a favor she was happy to do for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The trip would be so quick that she’d left clothes in the dryer, milk in the fridge.
A few days earlier, Donald Trump had announced his campaign for the presidency. Tur, meanwhile, was hanging out in the NBC newsroom in New York, ready to return to England and get on with her life, when she overheard producers talking about who would cover a campaign event that Trump had coming up that day. “One of the producers on Nightly News said, ‘Katy’s here. She’s just standing around,’ “ Tur recalls. “And I was. I was just standing around the newsroom.”
For the next 500 days she covered the campaign, traveling to more than forty states, doing more than 3,800 live reports, getting too little sleep, eating too much junk food, and reporting on a campaign where the dust never settled. The boyfriend in Paris Tur broke up with as work consumed her life, the pants that no longer fit because she gained weight on the campaign trail, the elderly man who came up to her outside Trump Tower and spat in her face—these stories and more are told in her new memoir, “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.”
As for the candidate, his attitude toward Tur was nothing if not mercurial. He tweeted that she was dishonest, incompetent, third-rate. At rallies he would point her out to the crowd and derisively refer to her as “Little Katy.” He also called her on the phone and said, “You and I should be friends.” One day in New Hampshire, while walking onto the set of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” he put his hands on her shoulders and kissed her on the cheek. “I just saw her back there,” Trump said on the air a few minutes later. “I gave her a big kiss. She was fantastic.”
Before long, the Twitter fury and death threats that Tur was receiving prompted NBC to provide full-time security as she did her job. Think about it. “A campaign reporter needing armed guards, in 2016 in the United States of America, because they’re covering politics? That is horrifying,” she says. “We should not be targeted for trying to inform voters about their candidate.”