WESTPORT, Conn. — At a talk Monday in Westport, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota spoke about her experiences covering Donald Trump -- which started out positive when she was on Fox News but later went downhill during the presidential campaign.
Camerota, a Westport resident who now co-hosts "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, said that when she worked at Fox News, every Monday morning for about four years, “We had a standing appointment with Donald Trump. He would call into the show and shoot the breeze with us.
“We had a totally friendly relationship,” she told a packed room of over 150 people in a talk hosted by the Y’s Women of Westport/Weston at Temple Israel.
One day, he called her at her office and said “Alisyn, I love watching you. We should have lunch.
“I went to Trump Tower and we had a very interesting lunch, but I will tell you about that another time," she said.
Many people in the audience called out, ‘No, tell us now.”
At the lunch, Trump was charming, charismatic, connected and made eye contact, she said. “He wanted to know about me. He was plugged in and not distracted.
“Just like (former president) Bill Clinton, Trump can zero in on you make you feel like you’re the only one in the room,” she said.
Trump even sent handwritten notes to Camerota — a gesture she said set him apart from other politicians. “His notes would say, “Warmest regards, Alisyn, you’re doing a terrific job.”
But Trump’s opinion seemed to change overnight after a phone interview she had with him in January.
“I asked him about the war. Now, he claimed that before the war started he didn’t believe in going into Iraq, but we could never find any evidence of that.
"But in the interview, he said he was against going into Afghanistan," she said of that call. "He said it to my co-host."
A week later, when she interviewed him directly, he tried to deny saying this, she said. “I said to him, 'We have the tape,' and he said, 'I meant Iraq.’
“In the second Fox debate, they had me on TV asking him this question over the phone,” Camerota said.
She heard later that Trump was mad at her. “He tweeted out ‘Alisyn Camerota is a disaster,’ and I heard I had been blacklisted. He would not appear with me anymore and he would not speak to me,” she said.
Camerota said she requested another meeting with him to try make amends. She thought the meeting went well, only to learn the next day that Trump was still angry with her -- which is where things still stand today, she said.
Aside from Trump, Camerota also shared her thoughts on interviewing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“This was an enlightening, interesting experience. When I met her in person, she was conversational, collected, casual and warm,” Camerota said. “She wanted to know all about Westport."
They talked all about the difference between Chappaqua and Westport. Clinton told Camerota how much she likes old houses and remarked how pretty Westport is.
“She was so much more approachable and warm than I ever gave her credit for being,” Camerota said. “We had a great conversation. She complimented the white dress I was wearing to interview her. She said 'I don't wear enough white.'
“I said, ‘Oh, you can wear white on TV now. The cameras are so much more sophisticated.'"
When Clinton won the Connecticut primary, she was in a white suit, Camerota remarked.
The Y’s Women, founded in 1992, serves active and involved working and retired women in Fairfield County.