Three years ago today, Trump upended the GOP presidential race. CNN's coverage foreshadowed everything

John Berman was right."We all might look back and say we remember where we were when it happened," the CNN anc...

Posted: Jun 17, 2018 7:06 AM
Updated: Jun 17, 2018 7:06 AM

John Berman was right.

"We all might look back and say we remember where we were when it happened," the CNN anchor said on the day Donald Trump entered the presidential race with a bang.

It was 11 a.m. on June 16, 2015. No one, except maybe Trump, knew that he'd go on to be the President of the United States. But CNN's news coverage of the campaign launch foreshadowed all the controversies and surprises that the election season held in store.

Among the anchors and commentators, there were some laughs about Trump; a lot of skepticism; but also some serious recognition that he could turn the Republican primary upside down.

At one point Berman even talked about viewers' complaints that CNN was giving Trump too much airtime -- a harbinger of the media saturation that was to come and the controversy surrounding it.

The word "entertaining" kept coming up again and again.

CNN political commentator Errol Louis noted that Trump had lots of fans, even as analyst John Avlon said he thought the speech was "unhinged." And SE Cupp foretold the civil war within the GOP.

Berman's co-anchor Kate Bolduan began the 11 a.m. hour by saying "we could be moments away from seeing a 12th Republican candidate enter the race for the White House."

Berman said "The question is, is he serious this time or just selling something?"

Berman noted that there was ample reason to be skeptical: "Trump's flirtations with running have been a quadrennial exercise in the theater of the absurd and have earned him a fair amount of ridicule."

He tossed to a clip of Seth Meyers joking in 2012 that "Trump has been saying that he will run for president as a Republican, which is surprising since I just assumed he was running as a joke."

But "it is possible," Berman said, "that Trump 2016 is no joke."

Cupp, a conservative commentator, received an advance look at the embargoed version of Trump's speech. She confirmed that Trump was, indeed, entering the race.

At that moment, Trump took his now-famous ride down the escalator at Trump Tower. It was a humorous moment.

"Let's take this in," Berman said. "Let us watch Donald Trump declare his candidacy for president."

The next 45 minutes were mesmerizing. Trump was provocative, pompous and almost impossible to stop watching. All the cable news networks showed his speech live.

Right afterward, Cupp said, "How do you even have a straight face right now? There are no words to describe what just happened."

Trump's speech deviated wildly from the embargoed script she had seen beforehand.

"Trump was winging it from the very beginning he walked on that stage," she said, describing the unscripted style that is now a Trump signature.

Cupp and the other commentators repeatedly called it "entertaining." Louis said people like to compare Trump to PT Barnum. Avlon was dismissive, saying, "This is a reality TV show star trying to run to pump up his profile even more because he is drunk on pure ego."

But at the same time, Berman correctly observed that Trump would likely qualify for the summer and fall debates.

Looking back one year later, Berman said in an email, "I covered Trump's flirtation with running in 2011, including his exploitation of the 'birther' question. In fact, I was with him in New Hampshire the day that President Obama released his birth certificate that year. Based on my past experience, I really genuinely did not believe he would run this time around. So when he actually went through with it on our air, it was surprising to me."

It was surprising to many other observers, as well.

"In that moment, I knew I'd be covering a candidate like no other," Cupp said one year after the announcement. "I didn't know, however, for how long."

Cupp became an outspoken opponent of Trump -- for the reasons that she telegraphed on the air during the very first hour of his campaign.

"Watching that announcement was a combination of shock, amusement, and a discomfort that would become my constant companion covering Trump's campaign," she said.

Update: This article, originally published in 2016, has been updated.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
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