Photography by Landon Speers

The Full Nunberg

Going ape on TV after getting subpoenaed by Mueller is the best thing that’s happened to Sam Nunberg in a long time

Eve Peyser
Published in
12 min readJul 1, 2019


This story is part of The Trump 45, a special package about Trump’s impact on individual lives.

InIn the basement of the Upper East Side Equinox Fitness Club, Sam Nunberg was grunting in agony, lifting 55-pound dumbbells in each arm, dripping with sweat. His face — bloated and red as a MAGA hat — contorted into various expressions of deep pain. Somehow he was chewing gum at the same time.

Nunberg paused for a moment between reps and held the weights by this thighs. “I can’t,” he groaned. “I’m having an asthma attack. I’m dying.”

“Do I enjoy your suffering? Yes,” Joe, his personal trainer, replied.

Joe is not the only one. Chances are, if you’ve heard of Sam Nunberg at all, it’s because of his March 5, 2018, media meltdown, a day that will forever be remembered by politics nerds as “The Full Nunberg.” Approximately a week after being subpoenaed by the Special Counsel’s office, Nunberg — the preeminent “failson” of the MAGA coterie — owned the news cycle for a full day. After proclaiming to the Washington Post that he would defy the order to appear before a grand jury, he rang up MSNBC and informed anchor Katy Tur that he would also refuse to hand over his email correspondences with former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon and advisor Roger Stone. “Let him arrest me,” Nunberg said of Robert Mueller. Nunberg then proceeded to phone CNN multiple times — calling Trump “an idiot,” opining that the president “may have very well done something during the election with the Russians,” and repeatedly daring Mueller to take him into custody. When he later appeared on CNN in person, anchor Erin Burnett accused him of being drunk on TV, a charge he vehemently denies.

Nunberg also managed to squeeze in interviews with Spectrum NY1 News — in which he called Sarah Huckabee Sanders a “fat slob” — the New York Times, the Atlantic, Vox, POLITICO, and finally, New York magazine — wherein he elaborated, “She is a slob… [b]ecause she does Trump’s dirty business… I’m not making a judgment about her terrible appearance, because that would be very rude and not politically correct.” Nunberg ultimately…



Eve Peyser
Writer for

nyc native living in the pnw. read my writing in the new york times, nymag, vice, and more.