Politico Reporter Gets Emotional About ‘Really Crazy’ Experience Talking to Maskless Trump Supporters in Wyoming: ‘I Might Have Covid For All I Know’


Politico reporter Tara Palmeri offered a stirring, emotional account of her recent assignment covering Trump supporters in Wyoming, in which she encountered near-unanimous disregard for the Covid-19 pandemic and some interview subjects refused to talk to her unless she removed her mask.

Palmeri, who is co-author of Politico’s daily Playbook online newsletter, was in Cheyenne on Thursday to report on Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R) in-state, intra-party political attack on Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R), after she voted in favor of impeaching Donald Trump for inciting the violent, Capitol insurrection. On Friday, she recounted her impressions about the state of the Republican Party there for MSNBC’s Deadline: White House.

“Listen, I worked with the Cheneys,” host Nicolle Wallace explained. “I would advise folks to never bet against the Cheneys, but this does look like an animated part of the party there.”

“Definitely, and I think they see themselves now on a crusade for Donald Trump,” Palmeri said. “Donald Trump is way more popular than she is, from the people that I spoke to, and I actually went out of my way to try to find someone who would defend her and I really couldn’t.”

Wallace then asked if the Trump supporters Palmeri spoke with believe President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

“No,” Palmeri said bluntly. “I literally — people wouldn’t talk to me with my mask on. They think Covid is — the numbers are grossly inflated. I had three guys, three ranchers in their 70s telling me, take your mask off, we don’t want to talk to you with your mask on. I was in rooms with 30 people, no one wearing a mask inside, just me. I talked — they said these are the main arguments I’ve heard over and over again. People aren’t going the get vaccinated there… These people are distrustful of the vaccine.”

“It’s just the same talking points that you’re hearing from QAnon and Trump supporters and they’re gospel,” she added. “I couldn’t say anything. I was like, do you know anyone who died from Covid? Because I do. And they just — you couldn’t reason. You know? It was hard. It was really difficult for me.”

Did she feel safe, Wallace pressed.

“Yeah, that’s a good question, actually. Not really,” the Politico reporter responded, clearly growing emotional about what she saw. “I will admit I took my mask off a few times because I felt like I needed to get these people to talk to me… I didn’t want to come off as some big city reporter brat, you know what I’m saying? I wanted to, like, get, I really wanted to find out what they thought so I took off my mask a few times outside. And I talked to people really close. I was in rooms with, you know, 30-plus people, size of a hotel room, and I don’t know. Like, check in with me in five days. I don’t know. I might have Covid for all I know. But I don’t know. It’s crazy. It’s really crazy.”

“I hate that they’re so distrustful,” she told Wallace. “It feels like another world, but that’s what’s on the ground, and I don’t think we can ignore it. And I’m really happy I went out there and saw it because I think there’s a huge disconnect right now between Washington and the rest of the country, and you know, Trump people don’t want to hear anything against Trump. Actually, the more he stays out of the media, the more he becomes this martyr, this looming figure over the GOP. A lot of people said they aren’t really Republicans, that they’re, like, they’re for Trump. That’s it. And it’s just — I think he’s actually getting — I think the base is getting stronger. Truly.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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