The president was sitting alone in a small dining room just off the Oval Office at a wooden table covered with papers. His cheeks were the color of coral, not the usual glowing orange we see when he’s framed by a screen. Trump half-stood, said hello and shook my hand. I hadn’t seen him since the election, and I congratulated him on his victory. He thanked me and pointed out that ‘‘you treated me very badly’’ during the campaign, and that the ‘‘failing New York Times’’ had been ‘‘so unfair’’ to him, but he was perfectly pleasant about it. Trump also mentioned that his popularity with his base was ‘‘looking great’’ and that he had ‘‘inherited a mess.’’
It was 12:30, but the president was not eating lunch. He was watching a recording of ‘‘Fox and Friends’’ from about four hours earlier on a large TV mounted on the wall. This was one of those stretches when Trump was tweeting a lot, including attacks on the mayor of London following a terrorist attack on the city the previous weekend. The tweets were becoming a growing topic of concern among Republicans, many of whom were urging him to stop. But like most reporters, I found his tweets far more illuminating than anything the White House press office could ever disgorge. I urged him to keep it up.
Trump assured me that he would keep tweeting. ‘‘It’s my voice,’’ Trump said of Twitter, enumerating how many millions of followers he had. ‘‘They want to take away my voice,’’ Trump said. ‘‘They’re not going to take away my social media.’’