Childhood & Early life
Jake Tapper was born on March 12, 1969, in Staten Island, New York City. His father, Theodore S. Tapper, was a pediatrician, and his mother, Helene Anne Palmatier, was a nurse. His younger brother, Aaron Joshua Hahn Tapper, is a well-known academician and writer.
Though his parents did not have any political background, Tapper recalls the atmosphere in his house during the ‘Watergate’ scandal vividly. He remembers his parents talking about Nixon and his mother watching ‘Watergate’ unfold on TV. The incident had left a lasting impression on him.
His parents divorced when he was young, and he spent his childhood moving between the homes of both his parents in Philadelphia.
Tapper attended the ‘Akiba Hebrew Academy’ (now known as ‘Jack M. Barack Hebrew Academy’) and ‘Camp Ramah.’ His old classmates and teachers remember him for his pranks and his amazing cartooning skills. He was also the class president and the editor of the school paper.
He attended ‘Dartmouth College,’ where he studied history and visual studies, graduating “magna cum laude” in 1991. He was a ‘Phi Beta Kappa’ honoree.
Tapper enrolled at the ‘University of Southern California’ to study films but soon found out that this was not his cup of tea. He quit the program after one semester.
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Jake Tapper’s political and press journey started in 1992, when he joined the congres-sional campaign of Marjorie Margolies, a family friend. He worked as her press secretary. Recalling his time there, Margolies says that he wrote press releases faster than anyone else and made everyone in the office smile.
He worked for a Washington-based public relations firm named ‘Powell Tate’ for 3 years. He was also a spokesperson for ‘Handgun Control Inc.’
Tapper’s skills as a cartoonist and his experiences in the political circles came together in a cartoon strip named ‘Capitol Hell’ in ‘Roll Call.’ He was a regular contributor from 1994 to 2003. Tapper also contributed caricatures to the ‘Los Angeles Times.’
In 1995, while on a ski holiday, Tapper came across an article in ‘The New Republic,’ written by a freelancer of his age. He realized that he could submit a freelance story and it would be published alongside articles of well-known journalists. This created his interest in journalism.
Though he was not successful in getting a freelance job at ‘The New Republic,’ he did write and get bylines for many other publications, such as ‘The Washington Post,’ ‘Enter-tainment Weekly,’ and ‘Moment.’
In 1998, Tapper started working as a senior writer for the ‘Washington City Paper.’ Dur-ing this time, he wrote an article about how he had had dated Monica Lewinsky once. He wrote an empathetic piece on her and expressed his distaste for the mud-slinging that was going on during that time.
From 1999 to 2002, Tapper worked for the online magazine ‘salon.com,’ as its Washing-ton correspondent. He reported on issues related to ‘Enron Corp’s bankruptcy.
In 2001, he hosted a TV show on ‘CNN,’ called ‘Take 5.’ It was a weekend talk show where young journalists were invited to talk about politics and pop culture.
Tapper started working for ‘ABC News’ in 2003. He worked at ‘ABC’s Baghdad bureau, covering the Iraq war. He was one of the first people to question the Bush administration’s claim of “weapons of mass destruction.”
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While at ‘ABC,’ Tapper also traveled and reported from far-flung locations in Afghanistan. Back home, he wrote about the aftermath of ‘Hurricane Katrina.’
Tapper was the lead political reporter for ‘ABC’ during the 2008 presidential election campaign. He interviewed candidates such as Barack Obama and John McCain. Following the presidential election, he was made a senior ‘White House’ correspondent.
Tapper joined ‘CNN’ as its chief Washington correspondent in 2013. He also began hosting the show ‘The Lead with Jake Tapper,’ a weekday afternoon show that covered leading news from all around the world. The program was successful and won many awards.
In 2015, Tapper started hosting ‘State of the Union.’ He used this platform to interview politicians such as Jeb Bush, Hilary Clinton, and Donald Trump. He asked pertinent questions about their policies, views, and statements.
In 2015, he moderated a ‘Republican’ primary debate. This debate was viewed by more than 23 million viewers, making it the most-watched program in the history of ‘CNN.’
In 1999, Tapper published ‘Body Slam: The Jesse Ventura Story.’ The book traced the rise of Jesse Ventura, a ‘Navy Seal’ and a wrestler who went on to become the governor of Minnesota.
In 2001, his book ‘Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency’ was published. The book was based on the 2000 presidential elections and received favorable reviews from the press.
‘The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor,’ published in 2012, was about the hor-rors of war and the bravery of the troops in the battlefield. Set in Afghanistan, the book talked about the US army that fought there. This book is being made into a film of the same name to be released in 2019.
‘Hellfire Club,’ published in 2018, was his first fiction. The story was set in the Washington political circles of the 1950s. The book became a ‘New York Times’ bestseller.
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Awards & Achievements
In 2010, Jake Tapper won the ‘Emmy for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story’ for his coverage of the inauguration of the Obama presidency.
He has the rare achievement of receiving the ‘Merriman Smith Memorial Award’ for broadcast journalism for 3 years in a row, from 2010 to 2012.
In 2014, Tapper was awarded the ‘Tex McCrary Award for Excellence in Journalism’ by the ‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’
In 2017, the ‘Los Angeles Press Club’ chose him as the recipient of the ‘President’s Awardee for Impact on Media.’
Tapper got his fourth ‘Merriman Smith Memorial Award’ as a ‘CNN’ anchor in 2018. The same year, he also got a ‘Vetty’ award for reporting on veteran issues.
Family & Personal Life
Jake Tapper met Jennifer Marie Brown, his future wife, in 2004, during the ‘Iowa Caucus’ that year. Jennifer was the regional field manager of ‘Planned Parenthood Federation of America’ in Washington. They decided to meet for dinner. His wife later revealed in an interview that at that point, she knew things were going to get serious.
They got married on September 3, 2006. The wedding ceremony was conducted by his brother Aaron’s wife, Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper. They have two children.
In 2017, his daughter, Alice Paul Tapper, who was 10 years old at that time, wrote an op-ed page for ‘The New York Times,’ focusing on why girls do not raise their hands to an-swer questions in classrooms as frequently as boys do.
Alice also released an illustrated book for children, ‘Raise Your Hand,’ in March 2019.