David Fahrenthold

David A. Fahrenthold (born 1978)[1] is an American journalist who writes for The Washington Post and serves as a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. In 2017, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his coverage of Donald Trump, including the 2016 United States presidential election.

David A. Fahrenthold
Fahrenthold in 2019
Born1978 (age 4041)
EducationA.B., Harvard University
The Washington Post
AwardsPulitzer Prize for National Reporting (2017)
WebsiteOfficial website at the Post

Early life and education

Fahrenthold was born and raised in Houston, Texas, attending Memorial High School, where he wrote for the student newspaper.[2] Fahrenthold's mother is a teacher and his father a CPA.[3] At Harvard University, Fahrenthold wrote for The Harvard Crimson.[4] He graduated magna cum laude in 2000.[1][5]


Fahrenthold joined the staff of The Washington Post in 2000, where he has covered the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Congress, and the federal government.[6] He was a CNN contributor from January 2017 to February 2018,[7] when he became a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.[8]

2016 presidential election

According to a 2018 study, Fahrentold was the third most frequently mentioned individual or organization in Twitter discussions about Trump during the 2016 election, behind Trump himself and CNN.[9]

Reporting on Donald Trump donation claims and the Trump Foundation

Fahrenthold covered the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, reporting on the Donald J. Trump Foundation as well as claims Trump made as the 2016 Republican nominee that he had given away millions out of his own pocket.[10] In May 2016, Fahrenthold began an effort to verify Trump had made these personal donations. To solicit leads and for transparency, he periodically posted updates to Twitter via a hand-written list of charities he had contacted to ask whether they had received contributions from Trump, as well as the charities' responses.[10] After four months, Fahrenthold and colleagues at the Post had contacted more than 400 major charities, with only one charity confirming they had received a personal donation from Trump between 2008 and May 2016 when Fahrenthold began publicly reporting on the question.[11]

Following Fahrenthold's reporting, the New York attorney general opened an inquiry into the Trump Foundation's fundraising practices, and ultimately issued a "notice of violation" ordering the foundation to stop raising money in New York.[12] The Poynter Institute described Fahrenthold as "one of the journalism stars of the 2016 campaign due to a string of revelations about Donald Trump's charitable giving (or lack of same)".[13] CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter said: "Some have dubbed [Fahrenthold's work] Pulitzer worthy. Its impact was reinforced on Tuesday [September 13, 2016] when President Obama cited the reporting while stumping for Hillary Clinton."[6]

On April 10, 2017, Fahrenthold won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his work on Donald Trump's charity claims[14] casting "doubt on Donald Trump's assertions of generosity toward charities".[15]

Reporting on the Trump Access Hollywood video

On October 7, 2016, Fahrenthold broke news[16] of a 2005 Access Hollywood video recording Donald Trump making what Politico characterized as "lewd comments about groping women";[17] among other remarks, Trump said that his celebrity allowed him to "grab them by the pussy" without consequence.[18] An unnamed source called Fahrenthold at 11 that morning and informed him of the tape's existence; at 4 that afternoon, Fahrenthold published the tape and a reported story on it in The Washington Post. The newspaper said it became "the most concurrently viewed article in the history of The Post’s website".[19]

The story broke two days before the second of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign debates between Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Staff at Access Hollywood, owned by NBC, had found the tape earlier in the week, and the show was working on a story but did not plan to run it until the following Monday, the day after the debate. Once Fahrenthold broke the story at the Post, both Access Hollywood and NBC News ran stories the same night.[6]


In 2017, Fahrenthold won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his reporting on Donald Trump, including the 2016 United States presidential election.[14]

Personal life

In 2005, Fahrenthold married Elizabeth Lewis; the two met while attending Harvard. Lewis's parents are Harry R. Lewis, computer science professor and former dean of Harvard College, and Marlyn McGrath Lewis, director of admissions for Harvard College.[1]


  1. "Elizabeth Lewis and David Fahrenthold". The New York Times. August 21, 2005. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  2. Paterson, Blake (November 8, 2016). "Before his Trump scoops, the Memorial High Anvil". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  3. Griffith, Keith (October 24, 2016). "Deciphering the Trump Foundation". Covering Business. Columbia Journalism School. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  4. "David A. Fahrenthold - Writer Profile". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  5. Babür, Oset (April 13, 2017). "Slow and Steady Wins the Pulitzer". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  6. Stelter, Brian (September 13, 2016). "The secrets of David Fahrenthold's reporting on the Trump Foundation". CNN Money. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  7. Brian Stelter (January 16, 2017). "David Fahrenthold, Washington Post reporter, becomes CNN contributor". CNN. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  8. @MSNBCPR (February 27, 2018). "Welcoming @Fahrenthold, our newest @NBCNews and @MSNBC Political Analyst. Watch his debut appearance on @DeadlineWH and catch him on @Maddow tonight at 9pmET". Twitter. MSNBC. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  9. Guo, Lei; Rohde, Jacob A.; Wu, H. Denis (July 20, 2018). "Who is responsible for Twitter's echo chamber problem? Evidence from 2016 U.S. election networks". Information, Communication & Society: 1–18. doi:10.1080/1369118x.2018.1499793. ISSN 1369-118X.
  10. Bilton, Ricardo (September 9, 2016). "How one Washington Post reporter uses pen and paper to make his tracking of Trump get noticed". Nieman Lab. Harvard University.
  11. Fahrenthold, David A.; Rindler, Danielle (August 18, 2016). "Searching for evidence of Trump's personal giving". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  12. Eder, Steve (October 3, 2016). "State Attorney General Orders Trump Foundation to Cease Raising Money in New York". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  13. Warren, James (October 4, 2016). "Meet David Fahrenthold, The Washington Post's Trump charity sleuth". Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  14. Farhi, Paul (April 10, 2017). "Washington Post's David Fahrenthold wins Pulitzer Prize for dogged reporting of Trump's philanthropy". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  15. The Pulitzer Prizes (April 10, 2017). "2017 Pulitzer Prize: National Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  16. Stelter, Brian (October 7, 2016). "How the shocking hot mic tape of Donald Trump was exposed". CNN Money. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  17. Goldmacher, Shane; Karni, Annie; McCaskill, Nolan D. (October 8, 2016). "Trump caught on tape making crude, sexually aggressive comments about women". Politico. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  18. Levy, Gabrielle (October 7, 2016). "2005 Video Shows Donald Trump Saying Lewd Things About Women". US News & World Report. Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  19. Gold, Hadas (October 7, 2016). "Access Hollywood, Washington Post explain how they found the Donald Trump video". Politico. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
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