It’s the end of an era, in many ways: FishbowlDC has learned that long-time White House reporter Trude Feldman will no longer cover the White House: The White House canceled her pass.
The frail and diminutive Feldman was a regular presence at the White House and certainly did her part to contribute to the notion that the White House press corps is full of characters.
Feldman was frequently cited in White House transcripts as being associated with “Trans Services” but she was perhaps most famous for the fact that, well, no one really knew for whom she worked or where he work appeared.
John Gizzi once praised Tony Snow by recalling the attention he paid to Feldman:
Bounding back up the stairs and into the room to retrieve it, I found — to my surprise — Tony all alone with Trudy Feldman, whose outlets for columns are a mystery to most in the press corps. But Tony Snow was in no hurry and gave her the attention he would a network bureau chief.
Martha Brant wrote this in 2003:
Only the peculiar club of White House press secretaries really understands what it’s like to work both sides. They don’t get together very often. Maybe once a year they’ll see each other at academic panels or charity events. When they do, they often talk about the reporters who plagued them. “I don’t think you could put five of us in a room for more than an hour without sooner or later the conversation circling back to Trudy Feldman,” says Clinton’s Jake Siewert, who now works at Alcoa. Feldman, who worked for several small publications but was a big headache, rivals only Helen Thomas in their reveries.
Gerald Ford’s press secretary, Ron Nessen, who was also on the panel, noted that there are three things that haven’t changed in the 30 years since he manned the podium: reporters Helen Thomas, Les Kinsolving and Trudy Feldman.
She did occasionally score an interview, like this one with Bill Clinton (taken from the September 29, 1998 Jerusalem Post):
“What has really been helpful to me in the last several months, and particularly in the last few weeks, is religious guidance that I have been given about atonement from the Yom Kippur liturgy, to remind me that while it is unusual for the president to be in a public situation like this, the fundamental truth is that the human condition – with its frailties and propensity to sin – is something I do share with others,” Clinton said in an interview last week with Trudy Feldman, a White House-based journalist, that was published in The Washington Post.
Or Ronald Reagan (taken from October 30, 1981 Washington Post):
In an interview two weeks ago with journalist Trudy Feldman, Reagan raised the possiblity of PLO participation in such talks, although he stated the standard caveat that the organization must first recognize Israel’s right to exist.
And in 2002, President George W. Bush joked with the short Trude:
President Bush. I can’t see you. Trudy [Trudy Feldman, Trans Features], you’re blocking her vision.
ABC’s Ann Compton (also president of the White House Correspondents’ Association) told FishbowlDC: “White House reporters have long heard of her tenacity in trying to reach administration officials. Dora Bush said that she and her husband once changed their home phone number and the first call they got on their new number was Trude.”
For the record: Although she is cited in White House transcripts (and in the news reports above) as “Trudy Feldman,” her official name is “Trude B. Feldman” and her last association was with the World Tribune Company.
According to the Tribune’s website, her last article for them was in December 2006 and she is described thusly:
Trude B. Feldman, a veteran White House and State Department correspondent, met Gerald R. Ford when he was a congressman. She also covered his vice presidency and presidency and has often interviewed him since he left the presidency. Ms. Feldman has interviewed every U.S. president since Lyndon B. Johnson; and every U.S. vice president from Hubert H. Humphrey to Al Gore. She is a contributing editor for World Tribune.com.
Happy trails, Trude.