The first time David Cay Johnston met Donald Trump was in 1988 while working as a newspaper journalist. Johnston’s first impression of Trump, businessman and T.V. celebrity: P.T. Barnum, the American showman and master of hoaxes who founded Barnum & Bailey Circus. Even then, Trump was talking about being president and Johnston saw his fellow journalists failing at thorough reporting on Trump, covering mostly what Trump said, rather than what he did.
“I realized as president, he was totally and completely unqualified,” said Johnston, whose extensive research and writing on Trump led to several published books. The latest is New York Times best seller “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America,” the subject of a forum Sunday with Johnston a guest speaker. The sold-out event at Finger Lakes Community College — the final installment of this season’s George M. Ewing Canandaigua Forum, moderated by WXXI’s radio talk show host Evan Dawson — began with Johnston signing copies of the book.
Johnston said he was astonished Trump was not treated like previous candidates who actions and backgrounds were “scrubbed” in detail and reported. “I thought, ’somebody needs to do what I expect the press will not do. Cover what he does,”″ said Johnston, a Brighton resident and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. In 2016, he founded DC Report.org, an online journal dedicated to covering the actions of both the administration and Congress.